The Rockin Johnny B

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Here we go again

Otter expects federal exchange
   BOISE (AP) — Idaho is likely to get a federally operated insurance exchange, not the statebased plan favored by Gov. Butch Otter as recently as last year, because it’s unlikely his administration will complete design work before a January 2013 deadline.
   Otter made the comments to reporters Wednesday at an Idaho Press Club breakfast.
   In November, his administration asked the federal government for an extra year to draft a state plan, but Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal has yet to hear back.
   Otter says he’s watching 
a couple things: First, how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a lawsuit filed by Idaho and others challenging the 2010 federal health care overhaul’s constitutionality.
   And second, whether a Republican is elected president in November, since GOP candidates have promised to dismantle the overhaul.

One year to get this done!  Even your beloved Republican Governor wants to get this done and the Republican legislature drug its feet.  Now you'll get a Fed running the program.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. No Republican is gonna beat Obama in November and the Supreme Court will rule in favor of this bill.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Raises for Govt. Officials

Otter, six others to receive pay raises
Increases will restore salaries to 2010 levels
   © 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune
   BOISE — Gov. Butch Otter and six other elected state officials will receive pay raises this year as a result of an automatic provision in state code that was passed into law two years ago. Their salaries dropped in 2011, but will be restored this year to their 2010 levels.
   According to Idaho Code 59-501, the positions of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction and attorney general will all receive pay increases. Otter will get $115,348 this year, a 4 percent increase from the $110,734 he earned last year. His spokesman, Jon Hanian, said the governor will do the same thing he did the last time he received a raise — donate the extra money to charity.
   Otter’s pay is less than that of 261 other state employees, according to the Idaho Comptroller’s Office. By comparison, the presidents of Idaho’s three major universities earned between $323,004 and $336,419, according to the Idaho State Journal.
   Pay levels for Idaho’s elected officials are updated every few years. The last update was in the 2010 Legislature, when
lawmakers approved increases through 2014. The raises passed the House by a 37-30 vote and by a 20-13 tally in the Senate. The annual salary increases through 2014 for the governor are listed as exact dollar amounts; raises for other elected officials are a set percentage of the governor’s pay (30 percent for the lieutenant governor, 85 percent for the secretary of state, controller, schools superintendent and treasurer and 90 percent for the attorney general).
   Idaho has eliminated 1,800 state jobs since 2008. The Legislature hasn’t given state employees a raise since Fiscal Year 2009. In his State of the State address earlier this month, Otter proposed a 3 percent raise for state employees, contingent on the state meeting revenue projections. It would cost Idaho $41 million, according to a story in the Twin Falls Times-News.
   Spokesmen for Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Controller Donna Jones said those officials would keep the raises. Schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s spokesperson said he would donate the extra money to charity. The other officials could not be reached for comment as of Tuesday evening.

OMG, Butchie gets a raise?  What for?  Does he need it?  Christ, they guy's a millionaire!

House panel OKs bill to oust Boise occupiers
   BOISE (AP) — A camping ban at statemanaged properties cleared a House committee on Tuesday, beginning the countdown to the day when Occupy Boise protesters will likely be forced from their tent village across the street from the Idaho Capitol.
   The House State Affairs Committee voted 13-5 for the measure, after the Idaho attorney general concluded evicting the group from the old Ada County Courthouse grounds wasn’t an unconstitutional infringement on free-speech rights.
   Four Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls, voted against the bill.

Again, Democrats see that ousting these guys is not constitutional.  It's called Free Speech and the Right to Assemble!  I cannot believe the damned Reps in this state.  They scream that we Dems are not adhering to the constitution, and here they go abandoning it when it serves 'em.  These folks are simply full of it.

Otter should change name to ‘Flip Flop’
   After years of cheap shots at Obama, Democrats and “hell no” on President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, our good Gov. Otter declares that the Obama health care option was what he was going to do all along. In fact, he tacitly admits that Obama’s plan is better because it halted the Guv’s supposed “better” plan in its tracks.
   Is it now fair to call him Governor 
   I guess that’s why our GOP dominated legislature voted to give him a raise of 4 percent, or $4,600, or $383.33 a month. That’s more than the monthly food budget of single working mothers and homeless veterans.
   I guess in the eyes of the Republican Party his signature achievement of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor merited that raise.
   If you voted Republican, shame on you!
   n Ray Heidt, Marsing

I just love you Ray!

These guys, ugh.

Let's take 'em one at time:
Simpson:  Mikey, Obama has asked, and asked, and asked Republicans to help out and they always say NO.  You, my friend, are full of crap.  You boys are playing politics, not the President!

1st, the pipeline.  All Obama wants is for the pipeline to be safe for the environment.  He isn't against it.  2nd, dust.  Hey, Lab, he wants to keep the soil on the ground instead of in the air...remember the Okies in the 30s?  3rd, energy production:  Lab, he tries to help with that and infrastructure, but you Reps keep saying NO!  Again, Lab you are full of crap.  Nobody in the Republican legislature has been in the President's corner.  You boys are gonna be the losers...wait and see.

OMG Jimmy, stop the regulations on businesses?  That's what got us here today...broke and in debt.  Don't you read the papers.  Don't you understand economics?  What the hell are you doing representing me?

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey.  Again here you go not understanding economics.  You do not cut spending during a increase spending.  God, I can't remember when politicians were so stupid.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


He says Obama inherited the recession, but he made it worse.  Absolutely not true!  The economy is getting better.  He's such a tool.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Don't tell Montanans about oil pipelines:

Exxon reaches $1.6M settlement in Mont. spill
   BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Exxon Mobil agreed Thursday to pay $1.6 million in penalties to the state of Montana over water pollution caused by a pipeline break last summer that fouled dozens of miles of shoreline along the scenic Yellowstone River.
   Montana Department of Environmental Quality director Richard Opper said the penalties in the case mark the largest in the agency’s history.
   The Texas oil company will pay $300,000 in cash and spend $1.3 million on future environmental projects, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Associated Press.
   Also Thursday, Exxon increased its estimate of how much crude spilled into the river during the July 1 accident near Laurel to 1,509 barrels, or more than 63,000 gallons.
   That’s up from earlier estimates of 1,000 barrels spilled — a number that Gov. Brian Schweitzer had disputed as too low.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Of Course

Panel: Medicaid cuts have not saved money
Former state chief economist, Boise police sergeant say they only shift costs
   © 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune
   BOISE — Idaho’s $35 million in Medicaid cuts have not saved the state money, have eliminated thousands of jobs, put pressure on law enforcement operations and hurt individual residents, according to a panel that met Wednesday to discuss impacts of the cuts.
   The panel in Boise included the state’s former chief economic analyst Mike Ferguson, Boise police Sgt. David Cavanaugh, advocates for the disabled and Medicaid recipients.
   Ferguson, now executive director of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, estimates the cuts to Medicaid cost Idaho 4,000 jobs. He said the state’s projected revenues allow for the reinstatement of much of the cuts, but lawmakers have no plans to do so.
   Ferguson said 2,000 of the jobs are directly related to Medicaid services and another 2,000 are a ripple effect from money out of the economy when the 2,000 jobs were lost.
   “We’ve cut public services worse than proved to be necessary,” Ferguson said. “We’re in a situation where we’re in pain. The question is who bears the brunt of that pain.” 
   Idaho has $147 million in revenue growth projected for fiscal year 2013 and a carryover of $103 million from this fiscal year, Ferguson said. He said the state could spend part of that to reverse Medicaid and public education cuts.
   Often recipients of Medicaid mental health care whose services have been cut end up in the hands of law enforcement, Cavanaugh said. And police are not trained to deal with them on more than a superficial basis. He said suicide calls have been up in Boise.
   “It just rearranges where the money is spent,” Cavanaugh said about Medicaid cuts. “If anyone thinks these folks are going to get better with less medication and less support, they’re just deluding themselves.”
   Advocacy groups for Idahoans with disabilities sponsored the panel. They also presented the booklet “Medicaid Matters in Idaho: Real Stories, Real Impacts, Real Communities” that included two people from Caldwell: Kathy McNary and Retta Green.
   Green, 71, is a retired truck driver who was diagnosed with colon cancer in June. She said she can barely eat without new dentures, which she can’t get because of the cuts.

How many times must I say it.  You cannot increase revenue by cutting spending.  To increase spending, you do the opposite.  Damn the Keynesian economic bull shit. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Idaho's Economy

    That Idaho is sitting on an estimated $130 million surplus tells us that.

    On Jan. 5, Gov. Butch Otter said Idaho’s economy wasn’t as “robust” as he’d hoped, because “Less income has been realized in the sales tax area, which is the day-to-day monitor, if you will, of what the economy is doing.”

    Then how do you explain Otter’s proposal to cut $45 million in taxes when the economy, in his words, is far from “robust?”

   But House Republicans have, in recent years, tipped their hand by proposing cuts to the corporate and individual income tax. And Otter’s allies in the business lobby have long sought a reduction in their personal property tax.

   These folks cite the spurious argument that tax cuts spur growth. The truth, as Idaho learned when it unwisely cut income taxes on the eve of a recession 11 years ago, is this money gets removed from the economy and not reinvested.

    In a recent interview, Idaho’s former chief economist said his vast experience led him to these conclusions. “... I think it’s really hard to overstate the importance of education in terms of its role in economic development.” As to those tax cuts, Ferguson said: “... it might not necessarily be of value to the state from the standpoint of promoting economic development.”

   Otter didn’t listen to Ferguson on revenue projections. That cost the governor $100 in a bet with Cecil Andrus. It cost his constituents much more.

   Lawmakers should restore money they unnecessarily cut from the Medicaid and education budgets.

   Because with our economy still far from “robust,” a giveaway to businesses and highearners is something none of us can afford.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Right On

We’re in the Twilight Zone
   Our Republican state senators reelected a man to leadership who was found drunk and urine-soaked in a vehicle he stole but crashed before he could make it to his gambling destination in Nevada — on Father’s Day. That same man was the volunteer legislative spokesman for a coalition of agencies providing alcohol/ drug prevention and treatment services, 2006 Republican Legislator of the Year, and most recently has been spokesman of a hospital.
   He, and one of his Canyon County Republican colleagues, have been claiming a housing allowance to sleep in Boise during the legislative session. Apparently, Boise is too far away from Caldwell and Nampa to commute?
   Meanwhile, our multi-millionaire Republican governor announced in his state of the state and budget address that he wants a $45 million tax break (during a time when we need social services and quality public education more than ever before). And, he even offered up some advice from our state’s highest paid public employee — a football coach.
   While we’re on the subject of the antics of Idaho’s Republican leadership, whatever happened to the legislator up north involved in scandal after scandal? Oh, that’s right — nothing.
   The Republican Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Idaho Senate have sent signals to the Democrats that they won’t be willing to participate in improving ethics among Idaho’s legislators if the Democrats don’t stop pointing out the “Culture of Corruption.” Meaning, if ethics reforms don’t happen, it’s the Democrats’ fault.
   Very few Idahoans know the names of their two state representatives and state senator. The majority of Idaho voters simply vote “R” on the ballot. Until this bad habit changes, Idaho will continue to live in the Twilight Zone.
   We have a single powerful political party in Idaho with leadership that leaves folks in office who clearly should be voluntarily stepping aside (or forced to) to do the People’s business. A party who says it advocates for personal responsibility and accountability, yet is proving the exact opposite in its actions, does not deserve to remain in power.
   Idaho’s Democratic legislators gave us a moment out of the Twilight Zone when they recently called for establishing an independent ethics commission.
   As one of the only states in the union without such a process, it is long past due.
   Please take a moment to contact your two state representatives and your state senator asking them to support an independent ethics commission.
   According to reporter, Betsy Russell, of the Spokesman-Review, “Idaho’s new ethics commission would be independent and nonpartisan... it would review complaints from anyone about any public official, but would keep them confidential unless it determined they had merit; at that point, the commission would publish a report and refer the complaint to the appropriate agency for action, in the case of ethical issues, or to prosecutors, in the case of criminal violations.”
   You can reach your legislators here:  tactlegislators.htm 

As usual Delmar is dead on.  Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.  PERIOD.

Here's the Reps reply....

signs for Legislature
   Here are some positive observations from the first week of the Legislature: First, Gov. Butch Otter proposed a budget that includes $45 million in tax relief. While the details are up for grabs, this is a good start. Could the Legislature provide even more tax relief than the governor proposed? I think so. I’ve run some numbers, and if the Legislature were to hold the line on Medicaid and cut government agencies by a mere 1 percent from the current year’s budget, the state could still afford raises for government employees and provide as much as $100 million in tax relief — more than double what Otter proposed.
   The careful observer will wonder how the state could give raises and cut agencies. The answer: Get rid of those agencies that defy the proper role of government, are unnecessary or are duplicative.
   I’ve heard that the days of government cuts are behind us. I’m hoping lawmakers didn’t get that memo.
   Second, the governor softened his pitch for starting a state health insurance exchange. Having been very vocal about an exchange in the months leading up to the legislative session, many expected Otter to offer a fist-pounding moment where he dug in and promised to cajole lawmakers into implementing Obamacare.
   But Otter backed down in his State of the State message, basically saying that while his agencies applied for $20 million to start the exchange, that doesn’t mean he’s all in. “My decision to allow the application to be submitted simply preserved the opportunity for you and all Idahoans to discuss our options and decide what’s best for our citizens,” Otter told lawmakers.
   No strenuous support for an exchange there. Indeed, even though the federal government approved the grant, Otter didn’t even include the $20 million in his budget.
   Other good news: Otter’s contention that the state would lose $300 million in Medicaid funding should we proceed forward sans a health insurance exchange faded. Otter acknowledged he misspoke.
   Third, there’s a useful discussion taking place at the Statehouse about ethics in government. The Democrats have a proposal to create a new, independent ethics commission. The draft I saw doesn’t appear to be very independent, however, being ensconced in the attorney general’s office.
   That’s easy to fix, however. The Democrats appear to have taken a minimalist approach to the concept of an ethics panel. Instead of creating a new government bureaucracy, they’ve created a small citizen panel to review complaints. I’m still a little leery that it will one day grow up to be a big government agency.
   But any discussion of ethics leads to an environment that not only discourages corrupting influences, it leads to other public-confidence-building-reform ideas at the Capitol. For example, perhaps the Legislature should put in place a mechanism to make conflicts of interest easier to spot and address.
   Perhaps the Legislature should move the filing deadline and primary election dates back. The filing deadline for office is March 9. The Legislature will likely still be session, leaving lawmakers with an opportunity to leave controversial votes until after candidates have locked in their decisions to run. The filing deadline and May primary could easily be moved until later, giving voters a chance to fully analyze incumbent voting records.
   These kinds of discussions are taking place at the Legislature, and they have real currency. Less prevalent: the desire to give government new powers over the lives of ordinary citizens. But the day is still young. It was a very good week, but there are many more weeks to go.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Governor backtracks, says $300M not at risk
   The Associated Press
   BOISE — Gov. Butch Otter concedes he misspoke last week by suggesting Idaho could lose $300 million in federal Medicaid funding if it doesn’t adopt an insurance exchange required by Congress’ 2010 health care overhaul.
   Otter’s gaffe set off a brief political flurry as it raised hackles among conservative foes who thought he was resorting to brinksmanship to scare lawmakers into backing insurance exchange plans.
   This week, the Republican governor clarified that if lawmakers opt against establishing a state-run exchange with $20.3 million in federal help, the federal government would establish one — all without Medicaid money at risk. 
Otter, whose initial comment was to reporters on Jan. 5, now says he intended to say: Idaho risks losing federal Medicaid money if it fails to complete a separate system to process Medicaid applications by an October 2013 deadline. That system, called Medicaid Readiness, will help determine whether people are eligible for Medicaid, or if they qualify for subsidized insurance provided through an exchange. 
   “I must have left the impression it was the insurance exchange,” Otter said late Wednesday. “That’s simply not right.”
   While Medicaid Readiness will be integrated into a state-run or federally-run exchange, it isn’t part of the exchange.
   And Idaho has every intention of completing Medicaid Readiness, via a $3.48 million appropriation it expects to get through the Department of Health and Welfare’s fiscal year 2013 budget request, said agency director Dick Armstrong.
   “That’s in the current budget,” Armstrong said. “That’s the match required.”
   Exchanges were envisioned by the health care reforms as transparent, online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses could compare and shop for coverage.
   Otter’s Jan. 5 comment suggested the stakes for not setting up a state exchange were high, since a $300 million loss in federal Medicaid money for the poor, elderly and disabled would require a tax increase for Idaho to make up the money.
   Here are his actual words:
   “We are at risk in many cases of our present participation levels, which is generally 70-30 on Medicaid,” Otter told reporters, referring to the rate which the federal government provides Medicaid funding relative to Idaho’s share.
   “By and large, we feel there is a constant threat under the Affordable Health Care Act, that should we not go forward with an insurance exchange, we could see the federal state participation go to a 50-50, instead of a 70-30,” he continued. “The costs of that are upward of $300 million, to the state of Idaho.”
   Otter’s statement caught House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, 
by surprise.
   A former insurance company executive and state-run exchange supporter, Rusche says he almost immediately called the governor’s office for a clarification.
   Meanwhile, groups fighting an exchange including the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the free-market think tank behind the failed 2011 efforts to nullify Congress’ overhaul, cried foul.
   Wayne Hoffman, the group’s leader, fired off a 
letter to Idaho newspapers, contending he’d never heard of anything like what Otter had suggested.
   “Maybe somebody gave him bad information,” Hoffman said Thursday. “All I know is, we’ve been monitoring this issue since ‘Obamacare’ passed, and we knew there was no connection between the Medicaid matching rate and the state’s decision to implement the exchange or not to implement the exchange.”
   As the exchange debate intensifies, Otter appears to be distancing himself from what once appeared to be his strong support of using the $20.3 million federal grant for a state-run exchange.
   Though his Department of Insurance director, Bill Deal, is worried Idaho insurers like Blue Cross and Regence Blue Shield or regional insurer PacificSource could be shut out of participating in a federal version, Otter clearly is monitoring opposition from “Obamacare”-bashing House conservatives intent on rejecting the $20.3 million as he seeks to avoid siding with a measure that may be destined to fail.

Butchie, Butchie, Butchie.  Caught in another lie?  Oh My!

The vicious cycle of government spending
   In my opinion, most of our leaders aren’t men of integrity but are men willing to serve masters other than the people who elected them. Their progressive goal has turned a once-great nation into a country on the brink of calamity.
   Just ask yourself how well off we are today? Consider, by design, our nation changed itself from a producing to a service economy since NAFTA. Now we enjoy unbelievable debt, nearly one in five out of work or underemployed, high school and college graduates unable to get jobs, 50 million people on food stamps and even more on other welfare programs, forced health care with special interests receiving waivers, outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, government-sponsored corruption in drugs, energy and other payoffs, sky-high inflation, always agitating for war, and unprecedented immigration (legal and illegal aliens).
   If we were to allow 3.1 million immigrants (including terrorists) to enter per year plus their U.S. children, it would result in a population increase of well over 120 million by 2050. This will be the fuel that will bring down this nation.
   Many of these immigrants need assistance, and would not survive without it. When coupled with our own citizens’ plight, how will the government deal with it; science, technology, or take 100 percent of our earnings?
   Our leaders will deal with it as they have always done — raise the debt ceiling and have the Fed loan them trillions more. Who is going to pay for these loans — me, you? Nope, we haven’t enough of those worthless notes. Even our enemies are reluctant to buy our paper.
   So will the government solution solve the problem by adding more programs and their trillions of dollars 
? Only temporarily, when eventually a starving nation must foreclose and surrender to the globalist cabal. It’s time to stop this stupidity!
   n Robert B. Murray II, Caldwell

I would like to agree with Robert's doom and gloom predictions, but I just can't.  People that throw around statistics that are fuzzy to begin with, i.e., 3.1 immigrants increasing to 120 Million by 2050?  Really?  Where in the hell are you getting these figures.  When you quote stats, please quote the source!  Otherwise, I have to believe you picked the numbers out of the air.  50 Million on food stamps?  What?  

46 Million.  Not 50 million.  Stop rounding up.
Godamighty I hate fuzzy math and statistics.  I see it everywhere and it's really, really disturbing...see below:

‘Ghost’ taxes aren’t really new funds
   I maintain that when government collects tax from a worker or private sector corporation, government is “enriched” by real tax monies. But when government taxes a corporation or individual in the government’s employ, those collected funds are ghost taxes. Ghost taxes aren’t new funds; they’re just a decrease in wages or fees paid out.
   Imagine a society of 1,000 where everyone is a government employee, each earning $1,000 a week, and a 20 percent tax rate. The government has $1 million to pay the first week’s wages, then is broke. After collecting the 20 percent tax, it has $200,000 and can only afford one-fifth the previous workforce. After paying them $200,000 the next week, the government collects only $40,000 in taxes. In a few months, everyone is out of work and the government is permanently broke.
   To sustain this workforce, $800,000 a year in real taxes must be collected from a completely independent private sector. This private sector is the “Golden Goose” that feeds the whole system.
   So if you work for city, state or federal government or any company under government contract, your “taxes” aren’t funding our government, you’re merely returning some of the dollars you were paid.
   In a profitable private sector environment, government may harmlessly suck off surplus profits. But when the private sector is taxed beyond its surplus, the system goes 
out of balance. As tax-supported workers increase and private-sector true taxpayers decrease, the amount of “ghost” tax dollars increase and “real” tax dollars diminish.
   We have today passed the point of balance, the deficiency being made up by printing or borrowing money. The result is the destruction of the private sector and inflation, another form of taxation, which kills the Golden Goose. The only solution is smaller government.
   n Raymond Tate, Nampa

Today [1/13/2012 just to make sure my statistics are correct] in IPT a Mr. Tate made this statistical statement.

Imagine a society of 1,000 where everyone is a government employee, each earning $1,000 a week, and a 20 percent tax rate. The government has $1 million to pay the first week’s wages, then is broke. After collecting the 20 percent tax, it has $200,000 and can only afford one-fifth the previous workforce. After paying them $200,000 the next week, the government collects only $40,000 in taxes. In a few months, everyone is out of work and the government is permanently broke.

He was trying to say...what?  We pay too much in taxes?  Government employees should all work in the private sector?  That we don't pay enough in taxes to pay for the government employees? No, this is what he's trying to prove by this example...

I maintain that when government collects tax from a worker or private sector corporation, government is “enriched” by real tax monies. But when government taxes a corporation or individual in the government’s employ, those collected funds are ghost taxes. Ghost taxes aren’t new funds; they’re just a decrease in wages or fees paid out.

While I might applaud Mr. Tate's idea that we pay a lot in taxes, using this example proves absolutely nothing and is misleading.

First, there is no society where there is 100% government employment and the assumption that there is a 20% 'flat' tax is also faulty. The problem with people who use math or statistics to prove their point, must by necessity have something concrete to back up what they are trying to prove or it is meaningless. All that Mr. Tate does is confuse the reader with mathematical nonsense.