Letters to the editor-05-29-2013

May 29, 2013 

IDAHO POWER

Company diverts from alternate energy

"Wind farms get pass on Eagle deaths." Did Idaho Power submit this? It seems quite pointed against alternate energy and designed to raise alarm. Yet there is no similar alarm against domestic cats.

According to a Jan. 29 article in Nature Communications, "We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually."

I know eagles are an easy sell, but they were more threatened by DDT than by wind turbines. Curiously enough, Nevada just dumped its interest in coal and moved to renewables and gas, leaving Idaho Power stuck with long-term coal leases they foolishly signed up to a few years ago.

Idaho Power is now trying to convince us that coal is cleaner and expanding coal-fired plants is better and preferable to these "eagle-killing" wind turbines. How many eagles were killed? The article never really says, certainly several dozen (not thousands) in Wyoming, but that's the thing about scare tactics: Never print the numbers, just the headlines.

This isn't about eagles; this is about Idaho Power generating profits for shareholders over any concern or pretended interest in the environment. We should be asking, "Why isn't Idaho Power worried about carbon emissions?"

MIKE SCIALES, Boise

ZOO BOISE

Politics compromises educational efforts

In reference to recent Statesman articles, I wonder who is going to teach the public about Idaho's fantastic wildlife. It seems less likely that this will be Zoo Boise.

As the zoo continues to gather exotic wildlife from other lands and raise funds for their protection abroad, no large animals from Idaho are at the facility. According to a Zoo Boise online file that had not been updated since 2011, it appears that the only two species native to our state on site are the bobcat and the Idaho ground squirrel.

This is a dismal showing in a state so rich in a wildlife seldom seen by most citizens.

Given that Idaho's wildlife faces the same risks and pressures as African wildlife and is as spectacular in its own way, wouldn't Zoo Boise be better serving its mission statement and the public by educating about more Idaho species? Especially since the average Idaho citizen can have an enormous impact on Idaho's wildlife simply by voting?

I would hope that it's not the case that the scientific and educational role of Zoo Boise is being compromised by politics.

RICK HOBSON, Boise

IRS AND GENES

Bring on the robots

Politics and media love scandal and dark arts. We know the IRS is extremely underfunded. It takes weeks to get an employer number. So, what do they do when the number of 501(c)4 applications goes from 1,500 in 2010 to more than 3,800 by 2012 and the ratio of conservative/tea party applications to others is 3:1?

Personally, I'd use a keyword(s) search - it's "efficient."

I hear they tried to investigate making four different tries at nontargeting (true?). Since there is no donor transparency for these often politically motivated "social welfare" groups, how else are they to check for fraud and abuse? How is it that some "racial profiling" is OK, but fraud investigation by the IRS is not?

I doubt Google or Bing would do better. Aside: I'm thinking that Monsanto and big oil/banks plan to disappoint armageddon dreamers again. They'll genetically modify their CEO's stem cells for cloning purposes and maybe some birds, some bees, a few edible animals, able to live with 120-degree acid waters and breath CO2 - it'll be a brand-new, man-made world! Robots will do all work and they can count their money. Science fiction, yes, but maybe "Move to Amend" should be real.

DOTTIE LOWE, Boise

BENGHAZI

Coverage is inadequate

The Statesman's recent lack of coverage on the Benghazi terrorist attacks and subsequent attempts by the Obama administration and State Department to keep the truth of those events out of the public domain is appalling.

Sure, the mainstream media sees itself as protector of this administration and has carried out a virtual six-month silence on the issue as it clearly sought to provide a cover-up of the cover-up. But did the ridiculously sycophant Statesman have to follow suit with short snippets reprinted from the NY Times on back pages?

Then came the Wednesday, May 8, Senate hearings that provided riveting new information on the attacks, and a revelation that followed two days later that Susan Rice's now infamous "talking points" had gone through a dozen edits! Because this reporting came from ABC and not Fox News, it effected a sea change in public perception - and all the networks were suddenly interested. We now have reporters pursuing facts in search of truths of what really happened!

Still, the Statesman, unwavering in its cause, followed with an absurdly brief article in the Saturday, May 11, edition titled, "Benghazi emails reveal shaping of U.S. message." A laughably benign "shaping?" Why not egregious lie? Mega-spin?

CHARLIE NATIONS, Eagle

IMMIGRATION BILL

Measure would alter American life

Legislation out of D.C. is often jaw-dropping to those who want America to survive and thrive as our Founders intended. Now cunning senators have crafted special-interest legislation opening the floodgates to cheap foreign labor, irrevocably altering America economically, politically and culturally.

According to Sen. Jeff Sessions' analysis, S744, the 844-page immigration reform bill, increases foreign job seekers by 57 million in the first decade. The bill legalizes more than 11 million illegal immigrants (including those previously deported), plus families through chain migration, doubles the annual number of legal immigrants plus families, and grants work permits at all levels of employment, including technical and medical fields. All foreign workers can apply for citizenship. Sessions also found loopholes in the bill allowing early access to welfare and healthcare benefits.

What labor shortages justify insourcing foreign labor? There are 26 million Americans un/underemployed. Wages will further collapse. Contrary to the open borders lobby, a mere 1 percent of the U.S. labor market is immigrant!

Cloaked in lies about ending "defacto amnesty," this bill weakens immigration enforcement, only promising future border security and mandatory E-Verify.

This bill is a direct assault against Americans, yet where is the outrage from Idaho's elected officials?

CAROLYN COOKE, Coeur d'Alene

Humane reform is what's needed

I was 8 years old when my family moved to this country. It took more than 15 years for my parents to get the proper documentation.

I am grateful that my family's circumstances were such that we were able to wait that long for our documentation. Because of this I was able to spend most of my childhood here in the United States and am now majoring in biology at the University of Idaho, with a plan to pursue a medical degree.

Unfortunately, I have friends who have also grown up here in the United States, but whose parents weren't able to wait to receive their documentation before moving here. They, like me, want to further their education, but they are afraid of revealing their immigration status, or they can't afford to pay the full cost of tuition. These are future doctors, lawyers, teachers, business-owners who want to be full participants in this country - their country, in every significant sense of the term.

Today, I am calling on our representatives to step up as champions for a fair and humane immigration reform and design an immigration system that reflects the needs of the hardworking people living in our communities.

JOSE ARUAJO, Moscow

POT POLITICS

Big government engages in bullying

Republican indignation concerning IRS and the Justice Department harassment of political groups and most especially journalists is totally justified.

That both the tea party and Fox News are front groups for right-wing billionaires and corporations with anti-regulatory agendas makes no difference. Holder should be fired, and replaced by an attorney general with genuine respect for the civil rights of all Americans.

But Republicans need to ask how absolute their support of civil liberties really is. In the cases of marijuana prohibition and marriage equality, Idaho's Republican legislature empowers government to impose religious beliefs and taboos on citizens who do not share those beliefs. To use the overblown (but essentially accurate) rhetoric of the tea party, this is big government tyranny. It is also theocratic oppression.

This April, Boise police entered the home of "known" marijuana activists, one of whom uses the medicine to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Finding the family's three children perfectly safe and under the supervision of a baby-sitter, Child Protective Services were summoned to remove the children into protective custody. How is this not big government engaging in ideologically motivated bullying and harassment of citizens who dare to speak out against laws with which they disagree?

CHRIS NORDEN, Moscow

REPUBLICANS

GOP places guns ahead of children

Over 90 percent of all Americans support closing the gun-show loophole and have background checks. Accordingly, congressional Republicans countered - No, no, no we are convinced children lives are less valuable than guns. After all, we've ceased to be representative and continue getting re-elected, why not sacrifice them for the "greater good"? (We are in disbelief, but pleased, over the getting re-elected thingy!)

Minority rules and arm teachers is the new mantra. It was frustrating to watch as elected "representatives" successfully filibustered sensible gun legislation.

I hope voters soon come to their senses. We're killing the planet, have no jobs bill(s), taking women's rights gallantly into the previous century, allowing nuclear waste into the water table, bankers continuing to illegally foreclose, corporations dictating government policy, elected officials ignoring their constituents, continue denying climate change, and of course, returning America to the wild west days with sheriffs deciding which laws to follow.

It is my sincere hope we can rid ourselves of these madmen. Unfortunately, Republican gerrymandering has made this almost impossible. But, it can be done.

JIM ROACH, Moscow

FARRAGUT TRAIL

Logging old growth won't solve problem

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, with the complicity of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, believe that they can improve on the magnificent mix of old growth Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forest along the 165 acres of lakeshore trail at Farragut State Park by logging most of the old growth Douglas fir, and scalping the ground clean of all vegetation.

Three acres of this extremely popular trail at Jokuhlaup Point have already been clearcut for a viewpoint. The 10 adjacent acres, that have been virtually clearcut and ground scalped, is the Fish and Game's example of how to "improve the forest," and could be a horrible preview of coming attractions if it has its way and continues to log the popular lakeshore trail.

Old growth Douglas fir would continue to be sacrificed along with ocean spray and the fragrant blossoms of syringa, to be replaced by the acrid smell of poisonous herbicides in a futile attempt to prevent the invasion of spotted knapweed. This noxious weed readily establishes itself where the park has been logged. It plagues much of Farragut, but is all but absent along the beautiful lakeshore trail.

What a shame. What a disaster!

BARRY ROSENBERG, Priest Lake

STATE LEGISLATURE

Dumb politicians rule

Watching the Idaho legislative sessions on PBS was almost as exciting as staring at a cow all day. No, legislators don't remind me of cows, although many do follow the herd. I'm just saying that staring at a cow is more interesting.

Parliamentary procedure is prominent in legislative sessions. Intelligence isn't.

Idaho's House passed a bill prohibiting Idaho law officers from assisting federal law officers enforcing non-existent gun laws.

Does making it a crime for cops to fight imaginary crime make sense? Only in Idaho.

Do stupid political agendas take priority over the hard-earned career of a peace officer? Only in Idaho.

This bill was meant to deter the federal government from banning assault rifles. Idaho deterring the federal government. Yeah, right.

Maybe we can scare them. We bad!

The Supreme Court would use this bill for toilet paper.

Our legislators keep wasting time and money making Idaho a laughing stock. No wonder we trail other states in things like education and common sense.

Idaho cops can still arrest drunk-driving politicians, but not dumb ones.

KEN WHITE, Twin Falls

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