Archive for February, 2022


Author: admin

A couple of fellow opinion writers for Ridenbaugh Press wrote columns last week in their usually fine prose. I’m taking the liberty, in this space, to expand on both.

Conservative opiner Chuck Malloy wrote about the challenge of long service in Congress – specifically the re-election efforts expected from Idaho Second District Congressman Mike Simpson.

Simpson’s entering his 23rd year in that national chair after many years in the Idaho Legislature where he became Speaker of the House near the end of his “local” service to the state.

Much of Malloy’s piece centered on Simpson’s past statements backing the proposed breaching of Snake River dams in a huge – and controversial – effort to save native salmon. That position doesn’t sit well with many farmers and ranchers in Eastern and Southern Idaho.

Malloy seemed to be suggesting Simpson’s position on that single issue could be the Congressman’s downfall with voters. He may well be right. That, and a well-financed Conservative opponent.

Single-issue voters have long been an anathema for politicians. No matter what other positive, constructive work may have been done by the office holder over a long career, one vote on one issue can be their downfall.

Malloy’s piece brought memories of another Idaho politician turned out by voters after lengthy service in Congress.

The late Senator Frank Church held that office for 24 years. He not only represented the interests of Idaho but, through his opposition to the Viet Nam war and wide exposure for work on national intelligence activities, he became well-known. A late-in-his-career unsuccessful run for President also gained him national notoriety. A notoriety that seemed unwelcome to some of the folks back home.

In 1980, there was a resurgence of the Republican Party across the country. Idaho voters dumped Church in favor of a fresh, likeable face in Steve Symms. The Panama vote, and a seemingly unwelcome national platform, just didn’t sit well with conservative Idaho voters.

Many pollsters and Idaho pundits credited that loss to two things. First, Church voted to give the Panama Canal back to Panama – a vote that angered many of the conservatives back home. Second, many voters – especially Republicans – seemed to believe it was time to replace the long-serving, nationally known Senator with someone with deep Idaho roots. Symms was their guy. With deep local roots.

Seems odd that, when you have someone doing the job they were elected to do, serving the state and the country, you decide at some point down the road to end that public servant’s career. Just turn ‘em out because of a single issue vote or because, after years of service, it’s “time for someone new.”

The other opiner, Dr. Dan Schmidt who lives in North Idaho, wrote a column about delusions and people who believe them.

One of his “talking points” was that you can’t get people who believe their delusions are real to accept hard fact. He related, in his medical practice, he’d had patients with delusions and his attempts to understand them. He seemed to be saying, for some, delusions are more real than facts.

As a nation, we’re now dealing with the politics of delusion. “Trumpers,” who’ve become “true believers” in the fraudulent B.S. of Donald Trump, are beyond being convinced of his con game by factual evidence.

DJT appears to be just a step away from one or more civil – and possibly criminal – indictments. There are some 23 investigations underway and it’s expected one or more of them will result in charges – and likely convictions – on one or more counts.

Faced with even that hard – factual evidence – don’t look for “Trumpers” to accept new developments. While it’s true some are falling away, and Donald’s national influence is on the wane, a hardcore of several million Americans will still be counted in his cult.

The delusions Trump constantly spreads are, of course, supported by Faux Neus, One Amurica Neus and other far right sources. So, those deluded are having their delusions reinforced daily. If Hannity, Ingraham or Ducey says it, “Hey folks, it’s gotta be real!”

If, as Dr. Schmidt opines, fact can’t get through delusions, how are we supposed to deal with millions of voters who are delusional?

The answer seems to be, leave ‘em alone and hope their false “reality” will fade along with them. Or, that eventually, they’ll come around and accept new facts. Real facts. If they don’t, so be it. If they do, give ‘em a big welcome!

I hope my fellow Ridenbaugh Press brethren aren’t annoyed with by “piggybacking” their fine works. They’re welcome on my “back” anytime.

A dangerous state

Author: admin

How would you like having your emergency surgery done by a physician whose license was suspended in a neighboring state but was given certification to practice by your state?

How about a dentist – disciplined in another state for pulling the wrong teeth in a child – taking care of your children because he was given accreditation in your home state.

How about a funeral director, handling the body of your loved one, who had not passed national exams while practicing in another state but was given a license in your state?

All of this is happening in the state where I live – Arizona.

Now, don’t stop reading just because I’m not talking about where you live. The same dangerous scenarios could well be found in Idaho or Oregon or Washington. Because it’s happening here, it could be happening anywhere!

These situations – and more – might not have been uncovered were it not for a team of journalists working for The Arizona Republic and some “J” students at the University of Texas. They did a four-month review of professional documents from a variety of fields requiring licensure. They interviewed a lot of professional and political people. The result of their work is pretty damned scary.

Arizona laws deal with something called “universal licensing.” And, according to the research, “the Governor’s office takes a heavy hand
ensuring (Arizona) licensing boards approve universal licenses.”

Under that law, and according to current licensing practices here, people not meeting professional requirements in other states can almost certainly be licensed in Arizona. The researchers found “only a tiny fraction” of universal applicants are denied.

In addition, while Arizona might require more education, training or testing for our own homegrown applicants, those from other states aren’t required to meet the higher standards. The report cited one case in which the Arizona board was “ordered to grant a license to a counselor who graduated from a school that didn’t have the required accreditation at the time.”

Then there’s the hair-raising-on-your-neck finding. “The Governor’s office requires licensing boards to track all applications received under universal licensure.” BUT – “Boards are not required to report health and safety metrics to the public – such as how many professionals have faced disciplinary findings in their homes states.”

So, suppose you have to have gall bladder surgery. You have no way of knowing that, despite the college degrees hanging on the surgeon’s wall, he/she was disciplined for some bad outcomes in previous practice in some other state. Or, that your surgeon failed some professional requirements elsewhere. Because, the licensing board for surgeons here is NOT required to report such vital information to the public.

Reporters for “The Republic” found examples of people given Arizona licenses who were disciplined in other states, including a chiropractor convicted of felony fraud and other licensees named in malpractice claims. But, because their disciplinary requirements had been completed, their licenses were considered to be in good standing (and) they were given Arizona licenses.”

It’s not just medical professionals we’re talking about here. Real estate, cosmetology, barbers, educators, plumbers, dentists and others in fields requiring state licenses. All must meet some sort of requirements to receive licenses to work.

In the last couple of years, Barb (wife of the house) has had three major surgeries involving her spine, knee and shoulder. The outcomes have been good. So far. But, we had no way of knowing the medical histories of the three physicians before committing to the surgeries. Arizona doesn’t require those histories be made known.

Who thinks of researching the histories of all the professionals you deal with nearly every day? How do you find out qualifications and past performance problems from an agency not required to make such information public?

A very large “tip-of-the-hat” to the “The Republic” and those college kids in Texas. They’ve shined a light on a very disturbing situation.

Given the “tinfoil hat” nature of the legislature hereabouts, it’s not likely there’ll be any fixing of this “disturbing situation.” But, before any cutting and/or replacing is done on the bodies in this household in the future, we’ll be doing a little research.

Might be good advice for you, too. Never know what you’ll find.

Wha …?

Author: admin

This space has often lamented the sad, sad state of the National Republican Party. Included in those oft-printed lamentations has been a statement explaining the importance of the need for a strong, viable balance to the National Democratic Party..

Forget it. Forget all that and just accept the fact that there presently is no viable, responsible second political party. None. Zero. Zip. Nada! It ain’t there, McGee.

Proof of such bad news was offered aplenty at this month’s National Republican Conference Committee in nearby Utah. Formal actions taken were enough to send whatever attending right-thinking Republicans there may be straight to the bar for a couple of shots of Old Grandad.

Let’s consider nearly unanimous votes on just two issues.

In one, the crowd of cretins censured Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – the two Republicans serving on the very important January 6th Committee. Censured. Both of ‘em. For no other reason than their membership on said committee which, incidentally, is proving its worth nearly every day in the search for facts – and sponsorship – of that terrible attack on this nation.

Two GOP’ers in the entire U.S. House of Representatives, who should be highly commended for taking on the detective work and the dangers to themselves, censured! By a bunch of crazies, dressed in their Sunday best, who think Sean Hannity is their “Great White Hope” come to “save them from the troubles of this world.”

Cheney and Kinzinger deserve hearty plaudits for their undertaking rather than being given a sentence of political “death” for their work. That the National Republican Conference Committee should kick these two to the curb like so much garbage indicates a death of brain matter we’ve long suspected.

But wait! There’s more!

Item number two. “Legitimate political discourse.” Sounds sorta important, only to be used in some kind of high political affair.

But, no, Virginia. The assembled Republican “deep thinkers” in Utah used those words to describe that January 6th assemblage that attacked and vandalized our nation’s Capitol! Yep, that’s what they did. Nearly unanimous it was, too. Loudly shouted!

If one is to take that official vote seriously – and that’s damned hard to do – World War II was just a case of misunderstanding, the results of which were simply an educational opportunity for all involved.

“Legitimate political discourse!” Who, in their right mind, could attach their names to a vote on an issue which now becomes part of the official Republican statement on the horrendous activities of January 6th?

“Right mind” – my Aunt Fannie!

If there’s to be an honest, valuable and necessary balance of our two national political parties, it seems those who agree with that requirement must step away – run away – from what the GOP now represents.

While it’s easy to say, “Well, those national committee folk don’t speak for me,” the hard fact is, they do! And, those votes – irrational and wrong-headed as they are – now make those actions part of the official Republican Party theology. Which means a lot of Republicans seeking your vote in November will have subscribed to those words.

And, should you vote for them, you subscribe, too. Because the censure vote and the January 6th statement are now official positions of the GOP.

Speaking of the attack, anyone who thinks that January 6th Committee is just another waste of political time is not listening. While most of what those folks have uncovered thus far remains secret, the little that has been revealed of the investigatory work has shown planning and responsibility for the attack went straight to the Oval Office. And the Committee’s work is not done.

GOP voters, who’ve mostly ignored workings of the Party hierarchy in previous times, must now take what comes out of the Washington D.C. headquarters more seriously. Those votes in Utah last week, mean your vote – your endorsement of all things Republican – is your acceptance of those actions.

Republicans who disagree with national positions, adopted at that Salt Lake City gathering, may want to surrender their membership cards and start thinking of a new affiliation. In a new Party.

Your country needs YOU!

Dumb son-of-a-bitch

Author: admin


Our President called a reporter “a dumb son-of-a-bitch” after a White House briefing. Yep, he did.

He was caught on an open microphone. Yep, he was.

Basic rule when around microphones: they’re “hot” at all times. Yep, they are.

The “reporter” in question was – in fact – acting like a “dumb son-of-a-bitch.” Young Peter Doocey, representing Faux News, had asked a couple of questions – and made a couple of misstatements – showing he either wasn’t listening to the information being discussed or it went right over his head.

This was not the first time Doocey had acted that way. Fellow news types are used to him asking dumb questions or trying to put the Faux News spin in statements responding to the issue at hand. And, I suspect, he’s been referred to as that “dumb S-O-B” more than once by other members of the D.C. press corps.

I’ve sat in that briefing room on several occasions when accredited to the White House as a backup reporter for WTOP Radio/TV. “Backup” meant, when the primary White House correspondent wasn’t available for some reason, I – the “kid from Idaho” – filled in and was told to “sit quietly” and try not to “screw up” when subsequently reporting what went on and what was said.

White House-accredited reporters, then, were assumed to have some knowledge of current affairs dealing with politics and, often, economic issues of the day. I remember being drilled with questions on current issues by the News Director before I “quietly” attended my first couple of White House briefings. He wanted to make sure I was prepared. Or, wasn’t likely to embarrass our employer.

Richard Nixon was the guy who removed the press briefing room from the first floor of the White House to the basement. He simply covered up the swimming pool used by some of his predecessors. Nixon had an oft-expressed disdain for all media and felt the basement was the best place for them so he wouldn’t be running into them in the labyrinth of White House hallways during the day.

But, back to the S-O-B. Doocey isn’t alone in his ignorance of current political issues, international affairs or economics. Sadly, much of the subsequent reporting out of the D.C. press “club” is either read from a news release or someone “winging it.” Too often, there is no depth, no relevance to previous reporting or just plain understanding of what was said.

Doocey has made a habit of trying to regurgitate the briefer’s words with a Faux News spin. And, current Press Secretary Jan Psaki has often had to take time to set him straight or just plain rebut his statements. I’m sure Biden had seen the Doocey “act” on TV after previous briefings and uttered the “dumb S-O-B” more than once. The difference, this time, was that the President was in the briefing room to see and hear Doocey do his act first-hand. And, the old “open mike” was there to pick up the President’s unedited reaction.

Biden was caught uttering a gut reaction to what he had just seen and heard. Compare that to the routine, sweeping condemnations of all media by his predecessor, setting off a cascade of threats from his supporters. Often death threats. I’ll take “Uncle Joe” anytime.

Though certainly not alone, Faux News represents one of the greatest threats to our democracy today. The steady, right-wing flow of deliberate misinformation to an audience of “believers” is a cancer doing real harm to the country. Murdoch and company – Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, Rivera and, yes, Doocey – may be the “righteous media” for some. But that “some” is a declining audience.

Reporters, producers and other former employees say they were told to “slant” reporting to appeal to a “conservative” audience. It’s no secret. But, some of the bilge emanating from Faux “news” often goes way beyond that instruction. Dangerously beyond.

Doocey doesn’t get to share the limelight accorded to Carlson and the rest of the herd. But, he’s got his own little niche. He gets to perform from time to time.

And, based on that performance, I’ve got to agree with our President. Doocey really is “a dumb son-of-a-bitch.”