Sisyphus's blog

Occupy Participants Occupy Dialogue

Individual participants from six Idaho communities, from all reaches of the state, join Marcia Franklin to discuss why they are taking action. Frickin' frick, when you get Harry, Rigby resident in his mid 60s, calling in support, this movement is definitely tapping a nerve. The link for these episodes is on the Dialogue website and also contains links to sites for each of these movements. The web extra segment follows after the jump.  read more »

Occupy Boise Needs Supplies For Tent City

In case you haven't heard, the fine folks at Occupy Boise helping to focus the traditional media on things that matter to 99% of us, have decided to elevate their profile by forming up a tent city on the site of the old Ada County Courthouse adjacent to the Statehouse. So far it appears there won't be much push back, but we're dealing with bright crimson state officials, so far.

Not sure how we as a society can deploy riot gear encrusted police armed with tear gas and other weapons on people whose only crime is camping. Its not like they ruined the economy. Here's the list of things they need to get going. Please note their number one need, and if that's not doable then do what you can.  read more »

Bill Moyers Puts Occupy Wall Street in Context

Longtime journalist and commentator Bill Moyers was the keynote speaker on October 20 at the 40th anniversary celebration of Public Citizen, the "countervailing force to corporate power".

A copy of the speech is here but its not a transcript. He is a great orator.  read more »

Keep Wall Street Occupied

I'm not asking for money. I'm asking you for five minutes to do what you've always wanted to do. You get loads of supplications from banksters in the mail everyday. Take a minute to establish a dialogue. Tell them how you feel about junk mail or anything else that may be bothering you.

And for those who think that none of this is gonna make a bit of difference, it already has. If you believe this is just about dirty hippies wanting entitlements, Matt Taibbi pummels that media driven fallacy. Here's a quick and dirty report on the efforts and failures of your government in holding Bankster's accountable. And if you still doubt, know that this movement isn't necessarily divisive, the one percent agree with many of the objectives. Keep your eye on the prize.  read more »

Occupy Boise October 22, 2011

Some footage from last Saturday's occupation shot by my friend James. Congenial and well organized.

Redistricting Panel Unanimously Approves a Map

Redistricting Panel 2.0 approved a map setting forth legislative districts for the next ten years. Take a look at this .pdf. There's some grumbling, particularly up north on the monstrous size of district 7 and its geographic disparity. This map will result in a change of personnel in the Statehouse pitting incumbents against incumbents, some of whom are in House leadership. I'm personally pleased with the urban heavy districts in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Nampa and Couer d'Alene, where Democrats will have a fighting chance. But those appear to come at a price in Moscow and Lewiston. Take a look and leave comments about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  read more »

Ada County Private Probation Services Sued

Dave Frazier at the Boise Guardian broke the story on a law suit filed in state court seeking to form a class of individuals who have been harmed by alleged shoddy administration by a private for-profit entity under contract to manage misdemeanor probation matters for Ada County. Fraz has been getting an inordinate quantity of complaints since May. The sole Defendant in the court action is Ada County Misdemeanor Probation Services, Inc. which appears to be owned and operated by a former bail bondswoman Nancy Cladis. Fraz states that the lawsuit primarily addresses charging probationers in excess of the amounts authorized by state law but acknowledges other allegations he's received:

Complaints have persisted and dominated the GUARDIAN news blog for the past week or two. Some of the commenters offered stories of intimidation and alleged they were forced to take repeated urine tests and rent electronic devices when their crimes were not alcohol or drug related. One writer described having to fill out an “evaluation card” claiming he was satisfied with the services provided.

A common thread in all the blog discussion was a fear of going to jail if the probationer didn’t comply with their private probation officer’s demands.  read more »

Oh Condi Condi

I'm baaaaack. Now that d2 has officially un-fucked June and July, its time to blog again. And lo, we have today the discovery that normalization of relations with a ruthless Libyan dictator was done the old fashioned way, through skilled negotiations, a consummate diplomat with firm credentials, the token female in a paternalistic White House batting her eyes at a misogynistic cretin responsible for killing hundreds of innocent Americans. And let's not forget the role these hypocritical senators played. Steve Earle's song seemed quite prophetic.  read more »

Its a Wonderful Life...To Throw in the River

NSFW. Fry and Laurie ponder what would happen if Rupert Murdoch had never been born. H/T Bluegal. The scandal seems to be unfolding in a manner I've not seen since Watergate. Primer here. Video of today's events and updates here.  read more »

The Bipartisanship of the Angry Gnome

The junior senator of Idaho weighed in on the delicate negotiations occurring between Republicans and Democrats regarding authorization from congress for America to pay its bills. Risch compared the president to the sensationalized trial defendant Casey Anthony.

"Barrack Obama is to good government (as) Casey Anthony is to a good mother."

His Idaho Republican audience loved it. Senator Risch then went on to say that America really isn't in danger of a default since we have a good credit rating, yet he and fellow Republicans are willing to do just that, refuse to pay United States debts, shattering once and for all the notion they are the party of fiscal responsibility. I know we shouldn't negotiate with terrorists, but what's the incentive to negotiate with assholes?  read more »

Payette Lake Fish High in Mercury

Fish and Game warns anglers about eating mercury laden fish in many of SW Idaho's waterways. Now the Idaho Division of Public Health is warning about fish in Payette Lake, the ever popular recreational area vital to the City of McCall. Not surprising, since McCall is just downwind from the Ash Grove Cement Co. in Durkee, southeast of Baker City, Oregon, which, in 2008, was the fifth largest mercury polluter in the nation. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin, especially for children. It interferes with the brain and nervous systems, resulting in birth defects, loss of IQ and developmental problems. Those massive watersheds capture the airborne mercury and bring it right down into our waterways, the lifeblood of Idaho. The EPA sharply curtailed these emissions. No Republicans were utilized in getting the EPA to protect Idaho's water. Indeed Congressman Simpson looks to reward them by slashing EPA's budget.  read more »

"Schadenfreudegasm": Your Primer on the Phone Hacking Scandal

This is a good run down of the Phone Hacking Scandal that is doing major damage to sith lord Rupert Murdoch's media empire. If one single person can be identified for the demise of the fourth estate as an integral part of a functional democracy, it's Rupert Murdoch. The scandal exposes depth of his manipulative intrusion into the halls of government and power. Murdoch's empire was founded on the false premise of a liberal media. Its with no small irony that the professional journalists at the Guardian are credited with exposing the illegal, unethical, and corrupt actions of all players in this deceitful web.

The intrigue continues today with a Reuter's report that demonstrated that Murdoch's American News Corporation actually made money when paying it's taxes.

Over the past four years Murdoch’s U.S.-based News Corp. has made money on income taxes. Having earned $10.4 billion in profits, News Corp. would have been expected to pay $3.6 billion at the 35 percent corporate tax rate. Instead, it actually collected $4.8 billion in income tax refunds, all or nearly all from the U.S. government.

Fox News, the editorial pages of his Wall Street Journal and other Murdoch outlets often rail against taxes. Their attacks on government benefits for the elderly, the sick, the jobless and children focus attention on the uses of tax dollars and away from his aggressive efforts to enjoy the benefits of civilization without paying for them.

The column has mysteriously disappeared however. You can find similar content here. Media Matters is dogging this as well. It appears Murdoch's reach is just as vast in America as it is in Great Britain. But you knew that, didn't you. The scope should frighten you.  read more »

Media Blackout for Sun Valley Media Moguls

They're baaaaack. Every year money moguls and media mavens get together in Sun Valley to plot the demise of humanity measure their dicks get together for deal making. As a result they keep it exclusive and limit exposure to the very media they foment and control. And since the press is not going to pee in their boss's Wheaties, very little information usually comes out of the Sun Valley conference. But if someone gets Rupert Murdoch's attention could they please ask him to comment on this major scandal in Great Britain. This scandal has been brewing for years, and despite a media blackout in the states on the story, Financial Times' editorial board is nowdemanding answers.

Senior managers at the UK subsidiary should be held responsible for what happened on their watch. The idea - assiduously peddled for a long time by News Corp - that the hacking was the work of a "lone wolf" was never credible. Indeed as the allegations mount up, what is emerging is an industrial-scale operation where, in many cases, it was the first resort of journalists pursuing a story to engage the so-called "dark arts" of the private investigator and phone hacker. In these circumstances, the idea that bosses did not know what went on would be a poor excuse even if one accepted it.

Mr Murdoch must set aside personal loyalties and remove those executives with any involvement in the affair - whether through their role as editors or at a corporate level. That includes those responsible for handling the company's response. For a start, Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News Corp's UK operations, should go. Assuming the allegations are correct, as the editor of the News of the World when Ms Dowler's phone was hacked, her position is untenable. Although she has pleaded ignorance, the final responsibility was hers.

But it is no longer enough just to dismiss people. The affair has inflicted great reputational damage on News Corp. This should be of concern not just to Mr Murdoch but also to the company's wider shareholder base. After all, the group is seeking to expand its UK interests massively with the acquisition of the broadcaster, BSkyB.

Word is that Murdoch hopes to dump Hulu at this conference but he hasn't shown up as of Tuesday. The times I've made the mistake and driven through the Wood River Valley during this conference, the Hailey Airport is lined up and down with enough private jets to completely pay for Haitian relief. But of course, they didn't pay for them. We did through tax breaks.  read more »

Another Embarrassing Idaho Right Wing Export

Remember that dickhead Gary Glenn from the 1980s who helped champion Right to Work and who fled the state for the Midwest after losing his Ada County Commission seat? Me neither. But apparently he's heading up the Michigan branch of Bryan Fischer's hate group, the American Family Association. And this week he buttressed the Village Idiot's hatred of teh Gay, arguing that they should be second class citizens and actively discriminated against.

Glenn: Herman Miller, which is a major employer and corporation in Holland [Michigan], a furniture company, supported this so-called gay rights ordinance on the claim that it allowed them to attract the best and brightest.

Harvey: Here we go, yeah we heard that before.

Glenn: What ridiculous folly to suggest that only those individuals who engage in homosexual behavior given all of its severe medical consequences constitute the best and the brightest. It’s not really bright to engage in behavior that puts you at dramatically higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse and AIDS and cancer and hepatitis, and according to various sources, premature death. So to suggest that engaging in that type of behavior defines someone as the best and brightest, which seems to be the line coming out of corporate America, is just ridiculous.

Harvey: You’re right. And higher rates of domestic violence and unstable relationships. I would not think of a homosexual person as a good employment risk, I just wouldn’t.

Nice broad brush. So, of course, we should deny work to them. And, of course, we should mandate promiscuity for them and deny them a committed monogamous relationship. Logic is not his strong suit. So he's in the right organization.  read more »

Idaho Democrats Lose Another Lion in the Party

On June 29, 2011, Carl Burke died in the same Idaho hospital in which he was born 86 years before. Carl helped create one of the biggest law firms in the state and was well known in legal circles before and behind the bench. But his influence, power and prestige were far more accomplished in the political realm. From the obituary:

Carl chaired and managed the U.S. Senatorial Campaigns for his life-long friend, U.S. Senator Frank Church, in 1956, 1962, 1968, 1974 and 1980. In 1976, he traveled the country as Chairman of Senator Church's campaign for President of the United States. He was the Idaho State Chairman for the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential campaigns. He was also a friend and confidant of Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus, who, as U.S. Secretary of Interior, appointed Carl to the U.S. National Parks Systems Advisory Board, where he served as a member and chairman for six years. In 1959, Carl served as a United States Delegate for the First Atlantic Conference of NATO in London, replacing former President Harry S. Truman who was unable to attend.

I knew Carl as a colleague and a casual acquaintance, a person I could have a chat with as he walked his dog in the foothills of Boise. Carl was quiet, kind and personable. His unassuming ways hid his powerful legacy exemplified in a story relayed to me of when Mr. Burke had to substitute at an appellate hearing for one of his partners who had died unexpectedly. It was a federal court case originating in Boise on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based out of San Francisco. Carl's partner had lost the case on summary judgment, meaning that Carl had the daunting task to convince a three judge hearing panel that one of their fellow judges screwed up, on a case that Carl had only picked up a week or so before hearing.  read more »

Otter Was For Obamacare Before He Was Against It

Think Progress picked up on this hit piece by the Idaho Reporter highlighting comments made by Otter regarding "Obamacare" and his interest in creating a health insurance exchange in Idaho. IR's purpose was to denigrate Otter's position by comparing it to the libertarian Cato Institute to demonstrate some hypocrisy by the Governor. I don't disagree.

Idaho may be part of a multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but that isn’t stopping Republican Governor Butch Otter (R) from taking credit for some provisions included in the law. Otter is a proponent of the exchanges and a provision that allows young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policies and is now claiming that Democrats “co-opted” his ideas and added them to their bill :

“There is a big difference,” he says, between Obamacare and a state health insurance exchange. He says the Idaho exchange was crafted in Idaho to address needs as identified by Idahoans, not put together by bureaucrats in Washington. “That was one of the first things that came up when we started working on our health care reform and our health care needs in Idaho in ’07. I called a bunch of folks from all aspects of the health care industry together and said, ‘OK, what should health care in Idaho look like?’ The whole idea of insurance exchanges, which is providing insurance packages, providing a certain level of co-pay, providing a certain level of deductible, all of those things. We’ve been working on that since ’07. It was just co-opted into the Obamacare bill.”

Idaho was ahead of the curve in supporting health care exchanges, says the governor, citing, for example, his support of keeping children on a family insurance plan until they were 23. “All Obamacare did is say we’re going to make it 26. So there were a lot of things that we were doing but for the most part they were all voluntary. We weren’t compelling people to do anything.

Otter's ideological hypocrisy is compounded by a factual one since Idaho mandates that Idaho college students buy health insurance. But worse for Idaho is the fact that Health and Human Services has allocated $27.9 million in which Governor Otter has further mandated that no Idaho official accept. This executive order further protects bad practices by insurance companies. One thing is for sure, Otter's inconsistencies play poorly for Idaho.  read more »

Exposing Your Koch

The game plan for Koch penetration is set forth in the Powell Memorandum. You should be aware of their invasive plans after they're done tea bagging you. Please read it and see if the 1971 Memo looks familiar to you. H/T Digby.  read more »

Rex Rammell Frog Marched to Jail

UPDATED 6/27: Dumber than dirt. Clearly Rammell continues to eschew professional legal help. Rammell sent out a press release to emphasize how extraordinarily stupid he is.

My problem is, even after citing the law to the judge, he still will not allow me to argue it before the jury. So what do you do if the law is clearly on your side, but the judge will not allow you to use it? You inform the jury of their right to ignore the judge’s interpretation of the law.

The judge instructs the jury on the law. You cannot argue to a jury that the judge is full of shit. Know why? Because the law says so. Do you know why the law says so? Because juries do not make the law in our society, they enforce it. That last line is yet another log on the fire of Rammell's self immolation on this charge. Only that one will be used at his sentencing displaying an utter lack of remorse.

Classic line: "..and they're handcuffing me and treating me like a criminal." This is pretty fresh but it appears as if the Bonneville County Prosecutor (correctly) decided to charge trifecta (Governor Congressman Senate) candidate Rex Rammell (R-Wingnuttia) with felony jury tampering for his efforts to instruct prospective jurors of their right not to follow the law. (Jurors have no such right, the judge instructs them on the law, and they stand in judgment of the facts as presented by the attorneys.) In inimical Rammell form, he attempts to grandstand the event by calling a press conference to turn himself in. The deputies follow protocol, handcuff him, and with much ado, take him to jail.

At one point it appears that he was asked if he had any weapons, to which Rammell replied "Well I figured you could probably find one...". He refuses to get in the car unless they loosen the handcuffs and then complains in true libertarian fashion "Ah hell, you guys on a poor budget? I can't even get my knees in here". Its sad yet amusing that any other person doing this kind of 'restricting and obstructing' would have had their face grounded into the pavement, hog tied, and thrown in the back of the squad car. And yet Rammell asserts he is treated with disrespect. Very sad. Ignominy thy name is Rammell. I suspect Rex will become rather obsessed with being deprived of his freedoms after this. Glad it was a Republican that took him down.

H/T Christopher Equality Cooke.  read more »

Trickle Up Economics

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I don't know if this is directly in response to Eric Cantor picking up his marbles and going home from the deficit reduction talks, but it should be. But then again what the hell do we care. These Republican assholes are playing Russian roulette with the economy. Just refuse to play and pass a jobs bill out of the senate. The gun is empty.

More to the McGee Story


The Idaho Statesman wrote an editorial pleading for the public to allow Senator McGee to have his say. Who is stopping him? He said nothing at his arraignment and has been very quiet ever since. So has most everyone else close to McGee or the story.

First let's acknowledge that there are two distinct venues for the airing of Senator McGee's side of the bizarre circumstances leading to his arrest and his donning of an orange jumpsuit. Citizen McGee must answer to society for his crimes in the tightly controlled courtroom setting subject to formal procedures designed for criminal justice. But in addition, Senator McGee must answer to the people of Idaho in the court of public opinion, a location Senator McGee voluntarily placed himself in ascending the ladder of a promising and ambitious political career. Traditional media plays a crucial role in the latter venue and while the venues overlap, the trad med shouldn't simply wait until Senator McGee chooses the time and place for providing an orchestrated defense.

There are many unanswered questions in which the public has an interest. Three memes suggest themselves immediately; 1) the logistics of the evening in question; 2) the Good Ol' Boy network obviously in play; and 3) the culture of alcohol that emanates from the Statehouse. Obviously there is overlap among the three but there's enough for stories on all three.  read more »

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