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Posts published in “Day: February 21, 2021”

Still crazy, R or I


State Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, left the Republican Party this year and registered with the Independent Party of Oregon.

Don't get excited. He's still nuts.

Apparently, he just got tired of being part of a group of off-the-rails, semi-organized psychopaths and decided to go off and be insane on his own. Now he's just Independently crazy.

One would hope the Oregon Republican Party -- with all its recent talk of insurrectionist attacks at the U.S. Capitol being a "false flag" operation as a prelude to a leftist dictatorship -- finally became too wiggy even for G.I. Bo.


He's just his own brand of balmy, a unique blend of herbs and spices that makes it impossible for him to work and play well with anyone. That's why he's spent his past 15 years in the Lege mostly playing with himself.

This is the guy who, just last year, followed 11 other Republicans out the door rather than vote on a cap-and-trade bill. When Gov. Kate Brown talked about rounding up the truant lawmakers with the state police, Boquist told State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton to "send bachelors and come heavily armed."

He also addressed Senate President Peter Courtney directly. "If you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally," he said.

For some reason, many people sensed a certain threatening tone in those remarks. It could because Boquist has starred his entire life in a grade B action movie he's written and directed for himself.

After a career in a crack commando unit, he joined the A-Team as a soldier of fortune. Or something like that. You can read all about it in his official bio. Or just ask him. He loves to talk about it.

He's built his entire career on military machismo to the point where he's the only member of the Legislature who can swagger while sitting down. Well, that's not quite fair.

Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth, swaggers pretty well too -- showing up at virtual committee meetings with a military base superimposed in the background. Sigh. Boys and their toys. Still, Evans hasn't gone on record threatening to widow anyone.

Confronted with his remarks, Boquist realized Real Men don't accept responsibility or consequences. He promptly sued Courtney and other legislative leaders for having the temerity to feel threatened and placing restrictions on his access to the State Capitol.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled in June that Boquist's words were "those of a bully on the playground" and that the senator had been disciplined for perceived threats, not political viewpoints.

McShane added Boquist "seems to overlook the fact that he sounds more like a character out of a Clint Eastwood movie than he does Mother Teresa."

That goes too far. A few Clint Eastwood movies are actually worth watching. (Who can sit through "The Bridges of Madison County" without a box of tissue? And Clyde the orangutan deserved an Oscar for "Every Which Way But Loose.")

Boquist is more Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme with a dash of Dolph Lundgren for comic relief.

Our political folklore is the richer for it.

However, it's no wonder Boquist feels estranged from almost everyone. The man is the anti-Dale Carnegie as he tromps about the political landscape losing friends and influencing people ... to walk in the opposite direction.

Even his new compatriots at the Independent Party of Oregon want you to know he may have joined their club, but they don't hang out with him at the malt shop.

"With regard to the Oregon State troopers and various other inflammatory rhetoric, those things don’t align with our party’s values," Sal Peralta, the Independent Party's secretary, told the McMinnville News-Register.

Boquist also doesn't hold with the party's stance on environmental issues, the same sort of environmental issues that led to him threaten troopers in the first place.

Perhaps Boquist should just be unaffiliated until U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and her confederates can start the Whack-a-Doodle Dandy Party. Unfortunately, the majority of the Oregon Republican Party would likely save up their box tops to join as well -- if only to get the super-secret QAnon decoder ring.

Then Boquist would have to leave again. It's a vicious cycle.

At least Boquist keeps us entertained, which I guess is all conservatives can do these days in lieu of actually doing their jobs. And Boquist is definitely a hoot, as seen in his email response to the News-Register (my old paper) about him changing dance partners.

"You represent another corporate special interest owned by the Bladines," he wrote to reporter Dora Totoian, lining her pockets on half-time pay. "If they have a concern about a bill their lobbyist is not conveying, please let me know."

Really? The Corporate Media card? Boquist should check his playbook. Conservatives talk about the Liberal Media. Only liberals decry the Corporate Media. Get it right.

By the way, the vast Bladine empire covers a printing press, small-town newspaper and a couple of specialty publications. Ewing Oil, it's not. Spending a political career defending plutocratic interests and then picking on a small-town family business makes you look like a ... a... what's the word?

Bully. That's it. Thanks, Judge McShane.

And no matter what flag he flies under, Boquist is still a bully. And still nuts.

Simpson and salmon


Idaho Second District Congressman Mike Simpson’s proposal to breach Snake River dams does something very few Idaho proposals have ever achieved: it would effectively destroy major economic vitality in big parts both north and Southern Idaho.

That’s quite an accomplishment for a Congressman who has served two decades representing Southern Idaho, but who now proposes a plan which would dry up Southern Idaho farmland as well as eliminate the Port of Lewiston as an inland products terminal and rob the whole Northwest region of electric power to light a million homes. And this to fall short of its stated goal of “Saving the Salmon.” (
Indeed, the plan admits it may not succeed. No matter. Nothing done so far has worked, so the plan says, so it doubles the money spent. It’s a truly stunning proposal in its scope but also in its likely negative impacts on all of Idaho.

The price: $33billion dollars, twice what we’ve already spent trying to “Save The Salmon” with virtually no success, and with both the old and new money to come from our pockets in the form of increased federal debt and inevitably higher taxes and other costs.

And, as with many government proposals, the real costs are likely much higher. Doubling the costs to $33 billion wouldn’t begin to cover losses in agriculture, electric power generation and shipping. (CapitalPress, 2/11).

What in the world is Simpson thinking? Is this a “grand solution,” a Frank Church Wilderness monumental salmon plan? Or did he just “move left” with an idea which reads like it could have been written by the Sierra Club or The Idaho Statesman? Or is there some notion that without this, the new Biden `administration would go even further to “protect” the species?

Simpson’s plan is a classic “let’s-throw-more-money-at-it” so-called solution to an issue which is really beyond Idaho’s control. Salmon runs have been declining for decades all along the coast, from Mexico to Alaska. Even the best science doesn’t have the complete answer, which may lie in changing ocean patterns as well as natural predation by orcas and sea lions. These were once considered “endangered” but now inhabit the lower Columbia River system in growing numbers.

Simpson’s open-money-spigot idea seems right out of traditional liberal thinking on many issues. Poverty? Do a Great Society. Transportation? How about a billion-dollar national rail system, which every liberal loves but no one rides? Iran nuclear threat? Buy them off with a planeload or two of Obama-Biden taxpayer cash. Climate change? Biden proposes to fix it by eliminating all fossil fuels and imposing forced energy from “alternatives” which will cost ratepayers more. (PS. How did the wind turbines do this past week in Texas’ cold snap? They froze. WSJ, 2/14)
What’s next? Put a fence and road blocks around all of Central Idaho to keep people out of “restored” grizzly bear habitat? How about depopulating the Mountain West to make way for DNA-reconstructed wooly mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, the Hagerman horse and ancient ground sloths?

Saving endangered species is the coin of the realm for ecos; there’s hardly a Spotted Owl, Bruneau snail or Sweetspot Peppergrass which can avoid the ‘protections” of federal designation, all at the expense of local communities and livelihoods.

Yet, in the case of the salmon, they are almost all hatchery-raised now, with DNA that’s the same as the “wild” ones. Effectively, there aren’t many ‘wild” salmon in Idaho to be saved. When the history of America is written for the past 50 years, they will surely wonder how these “movements” took hold and will see such liberal fanaticism for what it is and for what it costs us all.

Amazingly, Simpson’s plan virtually ignores tribal netting, which takes tens of thousands of fish from the Columbia and which are then sold out of pickup trucks along the highways. If the salmon are so “sacred” why is this happening? Are we afraid of being called woke salmon racists if we address the Indian take?

The proposal makes a true assertion that it would be extremely expensive, but suggests that’s ok, because it’s only one to two percent of an anticipated Biden multi-trillion-dollar proposal on energy, transportation, an overall “green” agenda from the Biden-istas. It’s a plan to tap the coming Biden open spending account.

Simpson’s plan, in effect, is an effort to pander to various interest groups with big blobs of federal credit card debt, a few hundred million for agriculture, a few hundred million more to “save” energy generation, a few hundred million more to make good Lewiston’s loss of its port, a few hundred million more to enhance alternative energy research, on and on.

His website on the plan effectively dismisses the economics of these broad categories in fuzzy, blissful paragraphs, focusing rather on the “opportunity” before us. Yea, sure. That’s why Idahoans already are giving the plan mostly negative reviews, from the Farm Bureau to the Idaho Water Users Association, who know it would be Idaho’s water that flushes the salmon downstream.

Simpson has long served Idaho well in Congress, but this “Save the Salmon” concept is fundamentally out-of-touch with Idaho interests. As a political concept, it’s Dead on Arrival. Simpson should re-think it – entirely.

Stephen Hartgen, Twin Falls, is a retired five-term Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee.  Previously, he was editor and publisher of The Times-News (1982-2005). He is the author of two new books on Southern Idaho, “Tradition & Progress: Southern Idaho’s Growth Since 1990.” and “Spirit of Place: Southern Idaho Across Generations.” He can be reached at