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Trump 24: Disconcern for tragedy

trump

A president who aims to look out for this country has to think of its well-being in terms of something more than talking points, and look at it in terms broader than for himself alone.

Donald Trump's campaign has given us repeated examples to the contrary, enough that several allied points can be drawn from them.

But focus here for a moment on one in particular - the largest catastrophe the United States has faced in at least the last decade.

That was the 2008 crash of the housing market and finance system, a crash foreseen, to one size or another, by a good many people (though not nearly enough of those in a position to do something about it in advance).

Two years before it happened, developer Trump said he doubted a crash would happen. You could ding him to some extent for a lack of foresight, but he was hardly alone on that count.

Where he was unusual, if not totally alone, was on this: He hoped such a crash would happen.

Never mind the terrible effects on millions of people, the collapse of huge businesses, the devastating effect on the United States.

Trump said this:

"I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy," Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash."

As CNN reported, "The U.S. housing bubble burst two years later, triggering the stock market crash of 2008 that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. Trump was speaking with Jon Ward, a marketing consultant who "masterminded all the initial education programs for Trump University," according to his website. The audiobook is available on iTunes."

Trump continued: "If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money," Trump said in the 2006 audio book, "How to Build a Fortune." "If you're in a good cash position - which I'm in a good cash position today - then people like me would go in and buy like crazy."

Don't count on him to help the United States avert the next crash. - rs

Trump’s words

A good look at how Donald Trump uses the language - the method behind the madness.

Whose flood water?

From a statement by the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District - a complaint about how water is being distributed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

Changes proposed by the state in the way water rights are managed in the Treasure Valley would significantly and adversely affect individual and organizational rights to water from the Boise River System. In addition, the more senior the water right, the more devastating the proposal will be because it could lead to reduced water availability and impacts on property values, according to officials with the area’s largest irrigation district.

The potential impact of the change is so serious that Nampa & Meridian Irrigation leaders say the District will go to court if necessary to stop what they call a patently misguided process that is both unfair and contrary to a century of established Idaho water accounting practices.

“We and other districts in the Treasure Valley have exhausted nearly every effort to find a political solution or a negotiated solution to this issue with the Idaho Department of Water Resources so that serious injury to our water right holders will not occur. But we have been stopped cold at every attempt,” advised Daren Coon, NMID Secretary Treasurer.

“The more senior the water right, the more devastating the proposal will be to irrigation district water users. But this is more than just a Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District problem; all water right holders on the Boise River system will eventually be seriously injured if IDWR’s scheme is allowed to take effect,” Coon added.

The controversial Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) plan centers on how to account for “flood control” water released from the three Boise River reservoirs to make space for water running off as the snowpack melts. Under a protocol developed 30 years ago, controlled releases prevent reservoirs from becoming so full of water that huge amounts of water must be suddenly released to avoid overflowing the reservoir resulting in downstream flooding. When the flood period is past, melting snowpack water can then be stored in reservoirs to prepare for the irrigation season.

IDWR and the Idaho Attorney General's office want to reduce the amount of water allocated to all water right holders, including tens of thousands of urban users, by charging water released for flood control against the senior right holders even though the water is flushed downstream and is never used for irrigation.

“Simply put, IDWR wants to institute a plan where water right holders would be charged for using irrigation water they had zero opportunity to actually use,” Coon explained.

That unused water charged against the user’s yearly allocation could reduce how much water was left for irrigation. In a high flood release year followed by a period of drought that could mean not enough water would be left in the user’s allocation to meet irrigation needs. That would be disastrous for crops such as corn, potatoes and sugar beets all of which require water later into the summer. It would also result in severe damage to urban lawns and gardens.

Boise River water rights are two types of rights: natural flow and storage water. Natural flow is the water in the river that cannot be stored and must be passed through the reservoirs. Storage rights entitle the right owner to have water stored in the reservoirs where it can be used to supplement the right holder’s water supply when the natural flow right is exhausted.

A third element of the right is the priority date. That is the date in which the water right was filed with the state. It dictates exactly what priority the right has relative to all other rights, a concept often called “first in time is first in right.” It literally means the oldest water right gets its water first, the next oldest second and so on until the available water is exhausted.

It is that combination of priority date, natural flow and storage water that permits the irrigation season in the valley to typically last through the first part of October. Without the ability to store water to supplement river flows in the hot summer, the irrigation season would normally end in late June or early July after the snowpack has melted.

This process of natural flow and supplemental storage water has provided a balanced approach since the first reservoir, Arrowrock, was completed in 1915. But now it is threatened by an inexplicable change of direction by State government.

First takes

For a long time, Liberia was ground central for the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa, accounting for close to half of all cases in the last year, and the largest concentration of cases. For a while it seemed an intractable problem. But yesterday, reports were that ebola was - this was delivered in fingers-crossed fashion - wiped out in Liberia. It can be done, which puts the lie once again to the fear-touting so prevalent in the United States only a few months ago. Remember that? Not many of the political and other figures so worried about ebola are saying anything about it now . . .

Oregon State University reports that a new international program partly based there is working on resolving water issues around the globe. From their statement: "Oregon State University, the University for Peace in Costa Rica, and the UNESCO-IHE Water Education Center in The Netherlands are creating an international joint education program aimed at addressing water conflicts in a more professional manner. The program will launch this fall with about 10 students enrolled to earn master’s degrees, eventually growing to 30 students from around the world. . . . The issues students will deal with are vast. In Oregon, for example, there has been a major conflict over water rights in the Klamath River basin, where agricultural interests compete with fisheries management and tribal rights. These kinds of issues are not unusual in the United States, Wolf pointed out, and can become even more contentious when an international component is added." . . . - rs

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

New apartments planned for former trailer park (Boise Statesman)
Sugar-Salem schools may see cuts (IF Post Register)
New manager of transit in Pullman (Moscow News)
Charter school buys Caldwell land for auditorium (Nampa Press Tribune)
Democrats hold livable wage rally at Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Two legislative Democratic candidates drop out (Pocatello Journal)
Massive spontaneous explosion of alfalfa at Hansen (TF Times News)

Eugene cops kept list of disliked people? (Eugene Register Guard)
KF downtown getting bike corrals (KF Herald & News)
Oregon Caves monument may expand by 4,000 acres (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Reviewing the adult business collection at Umatilla (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New travel time reader boards set by ODOT (Portland Oregonian)

Kitsap library plans new Silverdale branch (Bremerton Sun)
BrewFest at Bremerton gets new location (Bremerton Sun)
Still searching for the last Oso victim (Everett Herald)
Everett says Kimberly Clark cleanup not yet done (Everett Herald)
Big wildfire growing fast near Entiat (Kennewick Herald)
Pot remains in short supply at stores (Seattle Times, Longview News)
High court: bicyclist box not subject to search (Longview News)
Inslee pushes increase in fish consumption (Port Angeles News)
STDs spreading more rapidly (Spokane Spokesman)
Sockeye salmon have record run at Bonneville (Spokane Spokesman)
Fire balloons at Lake Spokane (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver opens second pot store (Vancouver Columbian)
Heat rising quickly in region (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima council member proposed utility tax cut (Yakima Herald Republic)

A dangerous larger picture

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

“From sea to shining sea” across our national landscape, we are awash in unnecessary, racist, homophobic and outright despicable efforts to legislate against us and our neighbors - to control what we think and do. It’s being done in the name of someone’s “God” or someone’s corporate interests or others with self-serving, underhanded - often dangerous - attempts to prolong their worthless political lives at the public trough.

We’ve been inundated by media coverage of one of the worst of the crop that made it to a governor’s desk. A piece of legislative trash - sponsored mostly by a Colorado group calling itself “christian” - to allow “religious beliefs” to trump citizenship rights of those whom the “believers” disapprove. While the media made it mostly a matter of sexual orientation, it was, in fact, an effort to legislate absolutely any person’s activities if those activities ran counter to someone providing a public service or product. That’s all of us.

The governor vetoed the bill. Not, I think, because it was the right thing to do. Which it was. Remember, this is someone running for re-election. I’d bet she suddenly realized overwhelming public - and corporate - opposition was a prime indicator of Arizona political winds and that she’d be better off temporarily angering her right-wing base than running afoul of possibly a much wider - and likely corporate “contributor” - constituency.

But her political fortunes aren’t the issue here. What IS the issue is eight other states are dealing with the same piece of phony moralistic garbage. Legislatures in Oregon and Idaho appear to have bottled up those bills in committee. For now. But they’ll be back. You can count on it. What the other six states will do is anyone’s guess.

This is just one area in which wrong-headed, narrow-minded, moralistic minorities are trying to do through law what they can’t do any other way - infringe on the rights of the rest of us by making our conduct in various issues illegal if our conduct flies in the face of their “moral beliefs.” There are many, many more similar legislative land mines out there..

Whether it’s gay rights, voter rights, abortion rights, access to medical care, privatizing schools or the post office or prisons or other public institutions of choice, a network of these ideologically vacant “moralists” has been created to raise havoc with our society. We hear and read so much about their efforts that it’s hard to keep in mind they’re minorities. But they are.

It’s no secret who’s behind them. James Dobson and other fundamentalist church leaders, the Koch brothers and their various 501(c)3 and (c)4 fronts, the John Birch Society, Family Forum, the NRA, Heritage Foundation and dozens and dozens of small, tin-hat groups and billionaire self-appointed keepers of the national moral flame. Some are new- some aren’t. But the Internet and other recent technologies have given them the means of spreading their societal undermining so they seem much larger and more important than they really are.

I tangled repeatedly with the little Idaho nest of the Birch Society in the 1960's. The message then was the same as the message now - this country is “going to Hell in a handbasket “ because of (insert your favorite conspiracy). The focus 50 years ago was mostly on “Communists” hiding in our government. But abortion and subjugation of the rights of minorities were - and are - also Birch menu items. (more…)

Equal health pay?

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

The whole question in health care of who gets the money - which relates directly to how much money is in the system - hasn't yet gotten near enough attention. But all it would take is the asking of a few pertinent questions.

Here's a press release (in e-mail, from the Oregon House majority) about an Oregon bill that poses some of those questions. If it now passes the state Senate and is signed into law, it could turn into one of the more consequential measures of the session in its reverberative impact.

A bill that will provide equal pay for Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants who perform the same services as physicians passed the House today.

HB 2902A would help build the skilled and workforce that Oregon needs in order to meet the diverse healthcare demands throughout the state.

"Oregon is shifting toward a healthcare system that focuses on preventative and community-based care," House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D – Eugene) said. "Providing equal pay for equal work will help us grow Oregon's healthcare workforce and improve access to care for more Oregonians."

HB2902A would require insurers to pay health practitioners the same rate for the same services and reimburse based on an unbiased coding system.

"If two people are trained to perform the same procedure and it's within their scope of work, they should receive equal payment," Representative Mitch Greenlick (D – Portland), Chair of the Health Care Committee said. "This bill solves one problem within our healthcare system by following the fundamental principles behind equal pay for equal work."

House Bill 2902A passed the House 39 – 20 and now heads to the Senate.

The decline of the Oregon turkey

pic

From a November 21 article by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

carlson
NW Reading

The distinct sound of gobbling turkeys in Oregon has generally grown silent for nearly 20 years. What was once a thriving agricultural industry left the state– a rarity among Oregon's diverse list of commodities. While there are a few locally-grown birds sold to niche market consumers this year, most Oregonians will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner featuring a turkey produced in California, Utah, or Minnesota.

"At one time, Oregon was a large producer of turkeys, probably producing up to 30 percent of the West Coast supply from the Willamette and Yamhill valleys," says recently retired Oregon Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Dalton Hobbs. "Due to consolidation of the turkey processing industry and a few other factors that hit during the early 1990s, all that commercial production has gone away."

Back in the mid-1980s, Oregon produced about 2.5 million turkeys and had a strong, viable industry. The state’s climate was amenable to turkey production and suited growers and the local processors. Turkeys were part of Oregon’s diverse agricultural product mix. Now there are only a handful of small-scale producers who specialize in organic, pasture raised, or so-called "heritage" turkeys– birds produced through natural mating, not through artificial insemination as is the case with commercial turkeys.

Many factors led to the demise of Oregon's turkey industry in the early 1990s. But the bottom line is that it's cheaper to grow turkeys in California, Utah, the Midwest, or in the southeast US and ship them to Oregon for sale than it is to actually grow them locally. Turkeys are generally raised where the feed is produced. The closer the turkeys are, the lower the production cost. Unfortunately, Oregon is rather distant from the feed sources of soybeans and dry corn. (more…)

A digital keepup

carlson
NW Reading

When you're talking about digital information, the line between using public resources for official and unofficial purposes can get awfully blurry. A note out today from the Washington Legislative Ethics Board:

If you have a personal smart hone, tablet, iPad or similar device commoni referred to as a PDA, and you use your PDA to connect both to the legislative e-mail system and non-legislative e-mail, please pay attention to this message.

Recently, some legislators have inadvertently sent carnpaign­related or personal messages from their PDA, only to learn later that the message was sent from their “leg.Wa.gov” address. Use of the legislative network to assist a campaign, to support or oppose a ballot measure, or for most non-legislative purposes is a violation ofthe Ethics in Public Service Act. How do you avoid this? in this situation you must pay careful attention to which e-mail address mail is being sent from and you must use a campaign or personal e-mail address for campaign-related business. To be safe, you should probably set the campaign or personal e-mail account, not the legislative account, as the default or account for sending of e-mail. That Will help avoid inadvertent use of the legislative e-mail address and servers'.

The Legislative Service Center (LSC 360.786.7000) will assist legislators with setting up legislative on a PDA and establishing appropriate default settings, but it is each individual’s responsibility to not use legislative facilities for campaign or inappropriate personal purposes.

In addition, if you are using a PDA that was purchased with public resources, it is treated the same as your legislative computer, laptop, phone, etc. - it is a violation ofthe Ethics Act to use any public resource for political campaigns.

The use of the internet as a communications medium can have unintended consequences. Whether through a YouTube video, a tweet on Twitter, or a Facebook posting, such communications can reach audiences While posted and also have a potentially unlimited life. Literally anyone in the World With access to the Internet can access such communications long after the time they were intended to be available.

In a recent case, a legislator asked for his YouTube video to be removed upon learning there Were ethical concerns about his use of public resources in the production of the video. However, materials on the Internet are generally cached and, are diflicult if not impossible to eliminate completely. Although the video in question should never have involved the use ofpublic resources in the Hrst place, its placement on YouTube prolonged the life of the Clear, visual representation ofthe use of public resources for campaign purposes and may, far into the future, reHect upon the ethics of the Legislature as a whole.