Letters to the editor: 10-01-2013

October 1, 2013 


Our representatives in government are again driving our “national car” toward and maybe over the cliff in a game of political chicken. The major political parties behave like violent street gangs wearing blue or red. We have developed tolerance to the acts of political violence each side commits. As I follow these events, I’m revulsed.

Our politicians do not represent the people who reside in their districts. They represent the organizations that give them money to get elected. I think there are a couple of things we can do that will help us all.

1. Amend the Constitution to say politicians can only receive campaign contributions from citizens who reside in their district.

2. Amend the Constitution to limit protected political speech to only real persons. Under accepted constitutional norm, corporations have all the rights of an individual. Corporations are a collection of wealth from people used to reduce culpability or risk to the individual. Corporations in a legal sense are the undead, able to amass more wealth or influence than any real individual.

We are facing a zombie apocalypse, brought upon us by legally undying corporations. Let’s double tap that zombie in the head with these two constitutional bullets.


Food stamp cuts

Congress just cut $39 billion from the food stamp program. Now the grocery stores will have to throw out $39 billion in food that will rot, because the poor no longer will have the money to buy it. That’s a real blow to the economy. Sure food banks will get the food, the grapes have wilted and the oranges have shriveled up, the lead in the cans leaches into the product, and the poor have no choice: starve; eat rotten, expired food; or get a minimum wage job, which are not available.

Sure, 245,000 Idahoans need behavioral help, for what? So we can work for a few extra groceries and a chance to pay a little more tax? How about electing some Democrats to take over the state’s obvious cruelty to Idahoans, which is why Mitt Romney lost by the way. Consider this your pink slip, Mike Crapo.


Drug bills

Congress needs to take action to pass prescription drug bills bottled up in committees. Retirees need less stress. Why are some in Congress talking about Medicare cuts while billions of dollars over the next decade can be saved on prescription drugs in three areas:

1. Putting Medicare drugs out for bid, similar to what the VA does;

2. Allowing importation and re-importation of safe prescription drugs;

3. Banning “pay-for-delay” of generic drugs.

We are asking for support on these four bills.

-- S-319 Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2011 — importation (needs reintroduction in the 113th Congress)

-- S-214 Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act of 2013 — banning pay-for-delay

-- S-117 Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2013 — bidding for Medicare drugs

-- H-1102 Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2013 — competitive bidding for Medicare drugs

Express your concerns. To take action online, go to www.nrln.org. At the top is a link to Legislative Action with a drop-down to respond to Action Alerts. NRLN is National Retiree Legislative Network, a nonpartisan coalition of retiree associations. Please take action today.

MARIANNE ROBINSON, president, NRLN Idaho chapter, Eagle


Only in Idaho do the criminals get to run the prisons. Most public works contracts contain breach of contract language for nonperformance of key contract requirements. If the contract is breached, or the contractor fraudulently falsifies contract records, the contract is terminated (often immediately, unless contractor’s lobbyists re-wrote the terms).

In Idaho, despite continuing violations, CCA continues to operate our largest prison. Idaho state executives and legislators are so determined to privatize corrections and education (thereby removing accountability from public view) that performance has apparently become irrelevant.

Imagine having a contract to run a hotel that someone else built for you, where the beds are always full and there is a six-month waiting list. You get paid by the number of patrons, and you also get to maximize your profits by hiring part-time help, feeding the patrons slop, and by deliberately understaffing so patrons can’t complete the “programs” that you set up.

One solution would be to require the state to operate the facilities that it fills when imposing Draconian sentences for nonviolent offenses. Then our activist legislators, prosecutors and judges can be held accountable at the voting booth for the financial consequences of their sentencing decisions.


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