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Posts published in September 2020

Power games


Enough with this nauseating rhetoric about Republicans pushing forward with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

It is not about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what she might have said on her deathbed … or about giving the next president (Biden) an opportunity to make his selection … or fairness in the process … or Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts on the issue … or what the likes of Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mike Crapo said four years ago. All that stuff is pure balderdash.

It’s all about politics, power (something Democrats don’t have) and putting a conservative on the U.S. Supreme Court. For decades, reshaping the court has been the Holy Grail for Republicans and they have the opportunity to get that done before the election. Barrett’s nomination should sail through, with the blessing of Crapo and fellow Idaho Sen. Jim Risch.

Sure, there are some mild risks involved for Republicans by putting this vote on the fast track. Voters might be outraged enough to vote against Trump and give Democrats control of the Senate. We’ll find out those things soon enough. But a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court is too much for Republicans to pass up.

Joe Biden, no doubt, will balance out things if he wins, but conservatives could have an even stronger stranglehold on the high court if Trump is re-elected.

That prospect should keep more than a few Democrats awake at night.

We’re hearing plenty about what those mean-old Republicans are doing, but if the situation were reversed, you can bet that the Democrats would do the same thing. Democrats had control of the Senate four years ago, Merrick Garland (President Obama’s nominee) would be on the Supreme Court today, and much of the media would be celebrating the newest liberal justice.

Yes, Virginia, they do play politics with Supreme Court nominations. And no political story is complete without at least a few instances of hypocrisy.
Four years ago, here’s what Crapo said about Obama’s Supreme Court nomination: “The next Supreme Court justice will make decisions that affect every American and shape our nation’s legal landscape for decades. Therefore, the current Supreme Court vacancy should be filled by an individual nominated by the next president of the United States.”

However, that statement tells only part of the story. Crapo opposed Garland from the get-go, saying the nominee didn’t share “Idaho’s values” on gun rights. So, of course, he was going to say that the nomination should be left to the next president – especially since there was a fair chance that Trump would win.

Risch came under fire four years ago for refusing to meet with Garland. Risch figured – correctly so -- that a meeting would be a waste of time since Garland’s nomination didn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting a hearing, winning committee approval and getting to the floor.

Crapo and Risch are frequent targets of liberal opinion writers, basically because they don’t think, act or vote like Democrats. But in Washington’s political zoo, few senators cross party lines on partisan issues (see Trump’s impeachment trial). So, if towing the party line is the definition of a “political hack” – as some opinion writers seem to think -- then we have close to 100 of those sitting in the U.S. Senate.

Crapo and Risch are not blatant about the partisanship, at least with their press statements. Crapo reminds everybody that that the Constitution gives the president the right to make nominations to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

As for Risch, he says, “I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of my office, and will weigh nominees to the Supreme Court based on their merits, not on whether there’s an election coming up. Should a nominee come before the full Senate for consideration, I will weigh that individual based on their character, intellect, conservative record and respect for the U.S. Constitution and vote accordingly.”

It shouldn’t take Risch and Crapo more than a minute or two to “weigh” this one.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

Kiss your pre-ex coverage goodbye


Donald Trump has tried repeatedly during the last 4 years to cripple or kill the Affordable Care Act (also called the ACA or Obamacare). He has attempted to repeal the law, both in Congress and in the courts, with limited success so far. If Trump succeeds in appointing a new Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court before January 20, the ACA will likely be killed by the Court.

What is at stake? The ACA prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions. It provides subsidies to millions to lower their premiums, allows kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, closed the doughnut hole for drugs under Medicare, and expanded Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income people. All of those provisions and many more could be stricken in a case that will be argued in the Supreme Court on November 10.

The U.S. Constitution requires the president to see that the laws are “faithfully executed.” The ACA is the law of the land. Yet, Trump has rejected his Constitutional duty and directed the Justice Department to attack the ACA in the court case. He wants it struck down in its entirety. Four of the Justices, including the two appointed by Trump, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, are hostile to the ACA. The other four, including Chief Justice John Roberts, have supported the ACA. If confirmed, Trump’s new appointee will tip the balance, dooming the ACA.

If Trump’s Justices kill the ACA, about 20 million Americans will lose their health coverage, everyone with a pre-existing medical condition will be at the tender mercies of insurance companies as to whether they can get coverage or how much extra they will have to pay for it, and millions of low-income folks may become ineligible for Medicaid. The benefits available under insurance policies will dwindle. The entire medical system will be thrown into turmoil, and the economy with it.

The timing is certainly unfortunate, being that we are in the midst of a pandemic that has twisted the medical system in knots. Millions of people have lost their jobs, along with their employment-based medical insurance. A Commonwealth Fund survey indicated that 41% of those who lost a job because of the pandemic relied on that job for health coverage and that 20% of them were not able to get other coverage.

Trump continues to promise that he will do all he can, through the courts or otherwise, to destroy the ACA, and it is obvious his best route is through filling Justice Ginburg’s seat with a person hostile to the law. What can we do? I plan to vote for Joe Biden, who has promised to keep and improve the ACA. It is critical that voters across the country vote for a Democrat Senate majority to restore the ACA, should it be struck down by Trump’s Court appointees.

Let’s not be fooled by Trump’s claimed support for protecting those with pre-existing conditions. If he truly supported that protection, he would ask the Supreme Court to spare that existing provision in the ACA. He has not explained how an executive order can do the job--the short answer is that it cannot.

If Trump wins the election, everyone who has a pre-existing condition had best get ready to mortgage their house to cover a recurrence of their illness or get the name of a reputable bankruptcy lawyer.

Fearful and afraid


I’m afraid. No, in truth, I’m scared.

Please don’t take those words - or the ones to follow - as a rant. They are not so intended.

I’m 84-years-old. Born and raised in the Northwest. I’m a Protestant - veteran of a hot war - a cancer survivor. I’ve enjoyed some successes in life and overcome my share of grief and setbacks. While life has not always been great, it’s always been good.

I’ve been involved both directly in politics and on the fringes. I’ve watched good people - and some not so good people - pass through Congress and the White House in their normal terms of elective office. Though there have been occasional bumps in the road - a war or two - one presidential resignation - some flare-ups of overheated and overrated political egos - my life has never really been directly affected. Until now.

We’ve heard our misbegotten president hint that, if he loses the November election, there may not be the usual, peaceful transfer of office from one administration to the next. I’ve listened to him repeatedly claim the election will be a fraud, “fixed,” run by Democrats, and that legitimate mail-in voting is both “illegal” and “unlawful.” They aren’t. He’s threatened to use our own government against us, tear-gassed people lawfully assembled in our streets, overseen violence by his supporters and, in ways both open and subtle, used many government buildings and other public venues for his own enrichment.

He’s seen by millions as a pariah, masquerading as “leader” of the nation. When attending a solemn, official ceremony, he’s booed and heckled by a crowd of mourners. He’s openly jeered at other public appearances. He’s been asked not to visit certain cities and states. He is, to many people, a fraud, a crook, someone whose stolen millions of dollars from government and private sector activities.

No president, in memory, has talked so openly about having more than the Constitutionally allowed two terms in office. None has told millions of his supporters he’s somehow “entitled” to a third term because, he claims, he’s “been so badly treated.” As if respect unearned has automatically been denied.

I’ve never seen so many elected members of a political party swim silently through a river of malfeasance with none openly resisting such egregious behavior by a president. The Senate’s Republicans - and the House’s 154 of the same party - have given a “pass” to a man who’s violated our Constitution, broken many of our laws and openly operated as a wrecking ball damaging government institutions and undermining public confidence and respect for governance. A “pass.”

Now he, and the heretofore silent Republican Senators, are trying to quickly shift the judicial and philosophical balance of the U.S. Supreme Court. A shift that could result in depriving 30-40 million Americans of health care. A shift that could overthrow previous black-letter law allowing women to be in charge of their own bodies and their own reproductive systems. A shift that could destroy the necessary balance of legal parity necessary to assure equality under our laws.

If that happens, and if Democrats sweep both Houses of Congress and the White House in the upcoming election, there’s already talk of adding two new members to the present nine justices to re-balance conservative-versus-liberal thought. Whether that’s the right and proper thing to do is an open question.

Then there’s the virus. COVID-19. The current president and his political minions have turned what necessarily should be a medical issue into a political one. In the process, they’ve sown confusion, lies and half-truths into millions of minds. Deliberate medical procedures, such as vaccine development and testing, have been subjected to political posturing that directly affects all of us. The virus - and how we deal with it - means life and death for the nation.

No one can say we don’t live in fear of being infected. But, because of the political lies and perversions, millions of Americans are not treating the issue as one that brings the possibility of death. They’re continuing to live as though the coronavirus doesn’t exist. It does. And their way of life threatens all of us. So do the anti-vaxxers who won’t take a medicine that could save their lives. Most of us know friends and family members who’ve died or been infected. For some victims, recovery may mean a lifetime of health problems.

Our new “normal” - whatever that turns out to be - is a long way away. The virus has us sheltering in our homes, changing our entire economy, putting some 50-million Americans out of work, changing the way we travel, eliminating congregate worship for all faiths, altering our lives in ways we haven’t fully realized. And, in truth, has changed people’s lives in all nations.

Now, researchers tell us coronavirus is morphing, becoming new stains we must identify and conquer. So, will we ever have a meaningful and effective vaccine against this menace? Or, will we continue to live our lives in fear, hiding behind our masks, maintaining our separations from family and friends as new versions of COVID-19 confront the medical world?

After a long life, normal has disappeared. The retirement to leisurely live out our last years has gone. Much of what we’ve expected - planned for - has disappeared. The confines of our home have become the new, smaller world.

So, I, and many like me, are frightened. Afraid. Yes, scared.

On one hand, the virus has made us fearful. It’s an unseen but ever-present factor in all we do. We can’t see the unseen threat to our lives. We’ve got no lasting defense. Our freedom to move about, to travel, to join together in community, to use the market places - even to worship together - all have been curtailed or denied.

On the other, we’re watching unparalleled attacks on our system of government - on the institutions created to serve our collective needs. We’re seeing an intimidated national political party cave in to the whims of a wannabe dictator by ignoring their oaths to God to “protect and defend” our Constitution. And a large population unwilling to listen to truth or educate themselves with facts.

We know much of our national security has either been gutted or ignored. We’re witnessing laws and regulations meant to protect us and our environment destroyed in the name of private economic gain. We’re watching politicians devoid of intellectual integrity become fodder for a president also devoid of both. We’re seeing an uncontrolled - and uncontrollable - president attempting to change our national political structure into something autocratic and personally controlled.

For those of us who’ve lived long lives within the familiar boundaries of citizenship, respectability, and regard for a well-coordinated national government, these are frightening times. What could happen to our beloved country in the next 120 days or so is a specter unlike any we’ve ever faced.

I don’t feel alone or isolated in my fear. And I am afraid. Very afraid.

Old school politics


I worked for many years for a politician of the old school. Former Idaho governor and U.S. secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus practiced what is now clearly an old-fashioned version of politics.

Andrus could be, and often was, a tough partisan, yet as a Democrat who served more than 14 years as governor during four terms spread over three decades Andrus never once had a Democratic majority in the state legislature. He had to practice the art of the possible and that almost always involved give and take and compromise. It is an old school notion to believe that it’s not a political disaster when you have to settle for half a loaf.

Andrus had political adversaries, but few enemies. He counted among his closest political friends an old golfing pal and frequent partisan adversary Phil Batt, the conversative Republican who followed Andrus into the governor’s office in 1995. A long-time Republican state senator from Boise, H. Dean Summers, was on Andrus’s speed dial. Back in the day when Democrats had greater numbers in the legislature, if never a majority, Summers often helped Andrus pass his priority legislation. They were friends who could also make a deal.

In 1974, when Andrus was trying to get a controversial nominee confirmed to the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a project requiring a handful of Republicans votes, Summers convinced his friend the governor that another Boise Republican, Lyle Cobbs, might be persuaded to support the controversial Democratic candidate, but only if the conditions were right. The condition that became persuasive for Cobbs involved his enthusiastic backing of legislation to make then-Boise State College a university.

As luck would have it, or perhaps it was a matter of exquisite timing, a bill to rename the college was sitting on the governor’s desk when the PUC nomination came to the floor of the state senate. During the debate, Andrus, on a signal from his friend Senator Summers, placed a call to Senator Cobbs’ desk and reminded the Republican that his important Boise State legislation was awaiting executive action. Andrus hardly needed to say he was watching how Cobbs voted on his PUC candidate.

Later, after Bob Lenaghan took his seat on the PUC and while Andrus was signing the legislation to create Boise State University, Cobb jokingly asked: “You wouldn’t have vetoed this bill would you, governor?” Andrus smiled and said, “You’ll never know will you, Lyle?”

The two politicians had effectively made a bargain. Andrus got what he wanted; Cobbs got what he needed. They trusted each other.

For a politician like Cece Andrus there was no higher compliment to be paid to a fellow pol than to say, “his word is good.” I heard him say it a thousand times. It was one of many reasons he got along so well with Phil Batt. They could trust each other to stay “hitched,” as Andrus would say. You make a commitment to do something you do it. You shake hands on a deal and then you never renege. You give your word and stick with it. Even if it becomes uncomfortable.

I’ve thought a lot about this old school approach to politics as I’ve watched Senate Republicans this week literally twist themselves into partisan pretzels in order to go back on commitments they made in 2016 not to consider, let alone vote, on Barack Obama’s Supreme Court candidate in that election year.

No matter how they try to spin it, from Lindsey Graham to Mike Crapo, from Lamar Alexander to Mike Lee they simply aren’t keeping their word. Every Senate Republican save two has now said the principle they staked out then when a Democrat was in the White House doesn’t apply when their party controls who gets nominated to the high court. All are being accused of hypocrisy, but that word hardly does justice to the lack of character that allows politicians to do one thing when they want to prevent something from happening and the exact opposite when that position become convenient in order to arrive at a desired outcome.

Graham, the slippery South Carolinian, will become the poster boy for the current Republican double-dealing. He is actually on tape on at least two occasions saying that the pledge he made not to consider Obama’s appointee in 2016 would apply to a Republican in exactly the same circumstances. “You can use my words against me,” Graham said. And then he went back on his word.

Crapo and Graham and so many others have done the same. You’d be right to wonder if you could ever again trust their word on anything.

Some years ago, I wrote a remembrance of Montana Democrat Mike Mansfield, still the longest tenured majority leader in Senate history. I’d heard a story that Mansfield had once helped a freshman Republican, Ted Stevens of Alaska, as tough a partisan as ever prowled the Senate floor, get a fair shake on a piece of legislation. I wanted to confirm the story and arranged to speak to Stevens.

In a nutshell, Stevens had been promised by a senior Democrat that an amendment he wanted to offer to legislation particularly important to Alaska would be considered. But Stevens was busy in a committee meeting when the time came to offer his amendment and the courtesy of informing him was ignored. In short, a bond had been broken.

Stevens, a man with a hair trigger temper, confronted the majority leader complaining – justifiably – that he’d been purposely snookered. As Stevens told me, Mansfield asked for a copy of the amendment the Alaskan had intended to offer, got recognized by the chair, interrupted the roll call and offered Stevens’ amendment as his own. It was adopted. Mike Mansfield, one of the most respected men to ever serve in the Senate, was not going to let a colleague down. The substance of the issue was entirely unimportant, but the principle that your word is your bond was absolutely sacrosanct.

Ask yourself: Would you buy a used car from these guys whose word is so fungible? Would you trust a handshake deal with a Lindsey Graham or a Mike Crapo? When your word is worth so little your character is worth even less.

An Idaho case and the Notorious RGB


This is from a column I wrote June 13, 2013, with some seeming resonance now . . .

To most non-lawyers, the Idaho-originated Supreme Court case of Reed v. Reed is a little obscure, not one of those few like Roe v. Wade many people could grasp immediately.

But Reed was a pivot in modern society, and it’s especially worth recalling with the death last week of Allen Derr, the soft-spoken Boise lawyer who improbably pushed it to the highest court in the land and was a central part of changing the law as it applies to men and women in America.

(Disclosure here: Last year I worked for a time with Derr on a book about the case; he apparently was still at work assembling materials for that project at the time of his death.)

Up to 1971, the law often treated the genders differently. Illinois had a law barring women from practicing law; the Supreme Court upheld it. It also upheld an Oregon law limiting work hours for women but not for men, and a Michigan law keeping women from tending bar. There were many such laws around the country, and for decades the Supreme Court had a perfect record of sustaining them.

The Idaho law that got Sally Reed’s, and Allen Derr’s, dander up, seemed just one more of the kind.
In March 1967 Reed’s son, Skip, died and left behind a few personal effects and $495 in a savings account. (That was the treasure over which a nation’s laws would change.) She and her ex-husband Cecil, the boy’s father, each applied in probate court to be administrator of Skip’s estate. Cecil got the appointment, but not, as the judge acknowledged, because Sally Reed was in any way disqualified. It was because the Idaho Code on probate said this: “Of several persons claiming and equally entitled to administer, males must be preferred to females, and relatives of the whole to those of the half blood.” Cecil had an automatic preference because he was male.

It was that automatic preference Sally Reed and Derr wanted to challenge. Early on, Derr decided to attack the statute as unconstitutional, and he got mixed responses in the Idaho courts, winning in district court and losing at the state Supreme Court. Expenses were piling up, but the two headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite its long history of supporting state laws of this type.

Once the case was accepted for hearing, Derr did get help from a number of quarters. One of the central workers on the case with Derr was a then little-known attorney, now a Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But it was Derr who personally argued the case before the court.

Changing course, drastically, the court ruled that, “To give a mandatory preference to members of either Sex over members of the other, merely to accomplish the elimination of hearings on the merits is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

It was the first time women had been specifically included in equal protection provisions. Although the case strictly was about probate administration, Reed has turned out to be a major precedent in many Supreme Court and lower cases ever since in the area of women’s rights.

An Idaho case. An Idaho lawyer. Who died last week.

. . . That’s from 2013. Back in the now, a week ago saw the death of another major and essential participant in that story: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court justice.

The attention focused on RBG, and the resulting politics and conflict, in recent days has somewhat obscured the actual work she did and the effect she has had on the lives of specific Americans. This Idaho story seems worth recounting partly by way of pointing out her impact: The Reed case, times many, many more.

And it may sharpen our perspective a little on the decisions of today, when we try to think ahead to consider what life effects on actual Americans her replacement on the court will have had, seen from a perspective of many years hence.

Counting what matters


With the passing of Justice Ginsberg it looks like President Trump will have the fortune to appoint three Supreme Court justices in his first term.

Such power might be just what his evangelical supporters hoped for when they excused his unsaintly behavior and voted for him. The hope to make abortion no longer a Constitutional protection, as the Roe v Wade decision did some 47 years ago, might be realized, and I can believe some folks are drooling.

One thing for sure, when abortion is criminalized like it was in many states back before Roe v Wade, it will be much harder to count. And if you care about something, you should count it.

Before abortion was “legalized” by the 1973 SCOTUS decision, there were few accurate numbers. In colonial times and after the revolution, most states modeled their laws after British common law. This prohibited abortions after “quickening”, or the first movements are felt by the mother, approximately 15-20 weeks gestation. Abortifacients were widely available. One estimate suggests 20-25% of pregnancies in the mid 19th century ended in abortion, but this is just a “best guess”. Nobody was counting.

It is interesting that the medical profession led the charge to criminalize abortion in the 19th century and into the 20th. By 1900, all states outlawed abortion. A cynic could say there were financial incentives, since most states that eventually did allow abortions required a physician to be the provider (as Idaho did in 2000).

Idaho held abortion to be a felony before 1973. In 1950 the legislature passed a law that made any woman seeking or obtaining an abortion a criminal, as well as any person “abetting”.

But we sure keep good records of abortion now. Federal and state law require the collection and collation of such data. Idaho’s numbers can be looked at on the Vital Statistics website. I’d encourage you to look at the numbers. But maybe numbers don’t matter to you.

Idaho abortion rate has been steadily declining for the last 20 years or so. We have one of the lowest rates in the nation. Don’t think that’s because we aren’t counting them all. Idaho counts abortions performed on our residents in other states too. With only a couple clinics in Idaho, about a third are performed beyond our borders.

So, Idaho has many restrictions on access to and the rules around abortion, all sending a very clear message. But since it is still legal in this state, we can still count it.

I don’t think most abortion opponents want to count something they find morally, ethically, spiritually abhorrent. I can understand that feeling. But we count crimes, we count prisoners, we count deaths, we count child abuse. I doubt we will be able to count illegal abortions.

Counting helps us to manage our expensive, tragic societal problems. I’m an advocate for counting what’s important.

The numbers mattered in an interesting experiment done in Colorado in the past few years.

Colorado had a pretty high unplanned teen pregnancy rate. In 2008 an anonymous donor gave a chunk of change to the state to provide long acting, reversible contraceptives to teen women at no cost. Over the subsequent five years teen pregnancy rates dropped by 40%. And abortions dropped by 64%.

With a reversal of Roe v Wade abortion opponents might just get what they want. Then, it will be back to each state to decide.

A Pew poll from 2014 showed that 45% of Idahoans thought abortion should be legal in most cases; 49% thought it should be illegal in most cases. That’s a narrow margin.

There can be no doubt the direction the Idaho legislature would go. They even passed a law in 2020, saying, immediately upon a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v Wade, abortion becomes illegal in Idaho. They are drooling. And if the cards fall right, they might get what they want. Then we’ll stop counting.

Not much to see here


If the media’s interest in a candidate’s news conference is any measure, then Paulette Jordan’s chance of defeating Republican Sen. Jim Risch is somewhere between slim and none.

Last week, she held a news conference as the kickoff to her Boise campaign tour, but the big guns in the media world were nowhere to be found. Who can blame them? It’s difficult to pay much attention to a candidate who “launches” anything in Idaho’s largest city within six weeks of an election. And Boise is one of the new pockets in the Gem State that is friendly toward Democrats.

The low energy we see in Idaho campaigns is a stark contrast from battleground states such as Arizona or North Carolina, where control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance and millions of dollars are spent in the process. Voters in those swing states, no doubt, have had their fill of campaign ads.

At least, there’s some election-year excitement happening in other states; Idaho has all the suspense of Russian elections. If history is our guide, then President Trump will carry Idaho by a wide margin – as every Republican candidate has for more than a half a century. Risch will get six more years in office, as have all other Republican Senate candidates over the last 40 years, and the two House seats will remain in Republican hands. In Russia, there’s no mystery. Putin wins!

But credit should go to those who defy the odds, put themselves out there and have the guts to run. These candidates are giving voters a choice, which distinguishes Idaho elections from Russia. Props to Rudy Soto, who is on a statewide tour in his challenge to Rep. Russ Fulcher in the First District, and Aaron Swisher who has an even more daunting challenge against Rep. Mike Simpson in the Second District.

As for Jordan, who ran for governor two years ago, she’s making her second run in a statewide election. The coronavirus has limited her personal appearances, but she has been holding virtual town halls while campaigning aggressively on email and social media platforms. She’d prefer the personal meetings over the virtual ones, but her supporters know who she is and what she represents.

At the moment, she’s going after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans who apparently can’t wait to appoint a conservative jurist to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the Supreme Court’s liberal icon. A vote on Trump’s nominee could be wrapped up before, or shortly after, the election, and Trump’s nominee might get through even if loses the election. If Idaho’s senators go along with that plan, they’d have wide support from their Republican constituents. But not from Jordan.

“This is exactly why I am running for the U.S. Senate – the age of politicians who put party over people must end,” she said in an email fund-raising letter. “Justice Ginsburg was a forceful advocate of woman’s rights and made equality her life’s long mission. She was a role model for each of us, and carried herself with a profound sense of dignity and justice.”

Risch passed along his condolences for Justice Ginsburg’s passing, while making it clear that he politically disagreed with her on most issues. Conservatives in Idaho may view the timing of her death as an opportunity to replace a liberal judge.

Again, Jordan is offering a choice and making a case for Democratic control of the Senate. But can she win? Risch has dismissed this race as a mere formality – a conservative senator seeking re-election against a liberal Democrat, with an eye toward advancing a socialist agenda.
Jordan says, not so fast.

“This is not over by a long shot,” she says. “(Internal) polls show him severely behind President Trump. His numbers are so far below President Trump’s that he is greatly at risk. So, his overconfidence is greatly misguided … and shows how disconnected he is with the people of Idaho. It is going to be a very rude awakening.”

Or, maybe everything will turn out the way it almost always does in Idaho and we can go back into hibernation after the election.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

Because they love their country


The revelation that Donald Trump disparaged the 1,811 U.S. Marines who died in the fierce fighting at Belleau Wood in WW1 as “suckers” and “losers” brought out additional accounts of his unfortunate attitude toward those who serve in the U.S. military.

Trump has called airmen who got shot down by enemy forces, including President George H.W. Bush and John McCain, “losers.” A senior administration official said Trump “frequently” disparaged the missing in action, calling them losers. Earlier this year, the POW/MIA flag that had flown over the White House was demoted to a less visible place on the grounds, angering MIA families. During planning for a military parade, Trump told staff not to include amputees because, “Nobody wants to see that.”

Fox News national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, reported that Trump has questioned why people join the military--”What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.” Griffin also reported Trump saying that anyone who served in the Vietnam War was a “sucker.” According to another report, he believed those who served in Vietnam must be “losers” because they had not gotten out of it. Trump has suggested that Vietnam veterans didn’t know how to exploit the system to get out of serving.

Trump’s father was able to get a podiatrist, who was a tenant in one of his buildings, to say that Donald had bone spurs in one or both of his heels to help him escape the draft. Ironically, the theme music at a September 10 Trump rally in Michigan was about rich kids dodging the Vietnam draft.

Some of those subject to the draft tried to take advantage of any available deferment to avoid being drafted, but I doubt there were many who used false medical excuses to get out of doing their part. It was not a matter of being too stupid to get out of service, but of being too honorable to cheat their way out.

As a Vietnam combat veteran, I want to respond to Trump’s misconceptions. The people with whom I served in Vietnam were patriots who loved their country. Many disagreed with the wisdom of the war, but nevertheless they gave their utmost effort to the fight. They did not need a monetary incentive to serve their country. Likewise, the young people who streamed to join the all-volunteer service after 9-11 were motivated by love of country, not love of money.

Many volunteered for Vietnam service, even if they had a valid excuse to get out of it. For instance, I was physically disqualified as a result of an auto accident that mangled my legs, requiring a 14-week hospital stay. Yet, I voluntarily joined the Army and insisted on going to Vietnam. Many others who fought in that war, and the ones since, have similar stories. It is a sense of duty to this great country.

In the 1980s, I collected biographical information for a book, Reasons to Remember, honoring Idaho’s 251 Vietnam War dead and missing. Not one of them was a cheater or loser.

Vietnam vets lived through years of bad publicity. It took years for the American public to recognize that they had stood up for their country and served honorably. They were not losers, suckers or too dumb to cheat their way out of serving. They served because they loved and honored their country, as do the young people who volunteer today. It would be appreciated if the commander in chief could understand that simple fact.

Facing and surviving change


Face it. We may eventually survive COVID-19. But, two things are certain in our future.

First, COVID will be with us from now on. No matter what eventually surfaces in the vaccine market, it’ll still be there. Just like a lot of other viruses. We’ll learn to live with it just as we have colds and other common varieties of flu. It’ll continue morphing into new strains and we’ll rely on science to keep pace. We’ll invent new security methods of keeping it at bay. But, it’s not going away.

Second, the world as we knew it only a year ago will never return. When we get through this ordeal - and we will - it’ll be a different world.

Take jobs, for example. Thousands and thousands of sales jobs are gone. And, in many cases, they’re not coming back. During our sequestration, we’ve turned to the I-Net for many of our regular needs. From new shoes to grocery shopping to health care to buying cars. It’s going to be a whole new deal.

Take cars. Carvana is one of those places where cars are bought (and sold) on the I-Net. One of their locations is a few miles from us. Currently, they’re advertising to fill about 100 job openings. Sales will be handled by a new call center. Other staff will be delivering and picking up vehicles in the designated coverage area. Fewer sales personnel, no mechanics. Fewer admin and other support folks. And fewer brick-and-mortar car dealers.

With many major retailers taking out bankruptcies or going out of business, same story. Floor salespeople, fewer or gone. Admin support staff, smaller or gone. More brick-and-mortar stores closing. Entire malls vacant or up for sale. The retail apocalypse long predicted because of e-commerce appears to have arrived.

Business-to-business jobs are disappearing because of automation. So, more sales jobs lost. Office and administrative vacancies will not be filled. In the last decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, jobs most likely to be replaced because of new technology were not in manufacturing, as predicted, but in office and other support positions. As companies - large and small - downsize and turn to more technology, fewer people needed. Those jobs not coming back.

Take higher ed. Look at the shift to the I-Net. At our house, Barb has students all over the world trying to get advanced degrees. Online. She teaches for two universities. Higher ed institutions are designing many more online offerings. They’re not getting as much revenue support from local and state governments, so they’re turning to the I-net. Fewer professional ed staff, fewer support staff, lower costs per-student, reduced housing costs by going electronic. We may even see mergers of institutions and some historic campuses close for good.

How about “work-from-home?” Lots of companies have found certain jobs can be done with the I-net, resulting in lower overheads. Working moms can often skip costs of babysitters while spending more time with their kids. Also, no commuting costs. For thousands of parents, it’s a “win-win.” Employers can cut spending in reduced admin costs and lower overhead with less support staff.

How about air travel and hotels? Well, don’t look for any return to as many jobs as pre-COVID. Again, I-net. More travelers using the I-Net for their meeting needs. Lots of folks who used air travel for conferences and other group meetings are doing just fine with electronic gatherings. Business travel, according to those Census Bureau folks, found pre-COVID bookings accounted for about 70% of income for airlines and hotels. Look for a post-COVID world of fewer hotel and airline jobs.

Fewer travelers. Less need for so many airplanes. Again, a few miles from us, airlines are moth-balling hundreds of planes. And there are more such locations in five other states. United will cut 17,000 jobs next month. Delta another 12,000. Other airlines? Who knows? Will United and Delta and all the others be buying new planes when they’ve got hundreds they already own that can be quickly returned to service?

So, what happens to Boeing, Airbus and other aircraft companies? And their thousands of suppliers? Job cuts in the thousands.

Non-residential construction has already taken a hit. The old I-Net, again. With nearly all sections of the economy using I-Net and other assorted electronic conveniences, less higher ed construction, less retail and mall building. In addition, fewer cleaning companies and security folks.

Look for governments - from local to the feds - not only not rehiring for already vacant positions, but continuing hiring freezes and layoffs. They, too, have adjusted to current conditions and, using the I-Net and new software, working from home will likely continue, less building space will be needed and other adjustments will reshape the future.

Our world has always evolved. As we’ve aged, we’ve adjusted to the “new” as necessary. But, COVID hit us and our environment HARD! For many of us, our world just stopped. No eating out. No movies. No sports events. No church. No social events. No large family gatherings. Just “shelter-in-place” and stay there. Restrictions on our borders and nearly no international travel. Having to sequester for months. And, a lot more.

But, outside our homes, massive changes have already happened with more to come. Lots more. Our forced adjustments to almost everything in our lives will continue. How we individually accept and adjust will say a great deal about who we are and how we’ll face the future. Who’ll survive and who won’t.

These are dangerous, threatening times. But, we’ve faced dangers before in wars, pandemics, hurricanes, etc.. We’re still here.

That’s the really good news.