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CoMMUNITY COLUMNIST
Colley: What are they doing to our roads?

I think chip seal is all hat and no cowboy. Among the political observations today, what’s the point? I did an informal social media survey and only found one person who applauded chip seal on streets and roads. He described it as a cheap solution. Cheap for whom? Last year in the days after it was put down on Twin Falls streets I started losing pressure in a tire. At the shop it was discovered the tire had a puncture along the edge of the tread and along the wall. I couldn’t even get the thing patched.

Driving home from work this last Friday I noticed a tire down two pounds per square inch. Everything looked fine after I put some air into the tire. Saturday morning it was once more down two pounds. When I left for church Sunday it was down eight pounds. Coincidences happen but in both cases and involving separate cars I’ve got tire issues within days of chip seal being spread.

There have been great innovations in highway management over the last 50 years. When I came to Twin Falls I asked members of the City Council why there were grooves along Shoshone Street. Big grooves, like the gutters at bowling alleys. Truck traffic was the explanation.

Since before the time of my parents there has been a cheese factory in my hometown. Growing up, there was always a steady stream of milk tankers going to and from the plant. There were no gutters in the streets. Additionally, I’ve visited two-thirds of the states and I can’t find anywhere else with troughs at intersections. My friend Steve Millington explains these are for drainage and satisfy environmental regulations. Then why only in Idaho? Did the muffler shops lobby for drainage gorges to increase business? I nearly tore away the undercarriage of a truck driving into the parking lot at Albertsons Stadium a few years ago. And it was a high-riding four-wheel drive. Maybe there are people rafting at these drainage ditches after heavy rains.

When the roads across the region disintegrated this past winter it was chalked up to unusually harsh weather. Maybe in the mountains, but snow totals here in the valley were relatively mild compared with some parts of the country. For 44 years I lived and worked in a part of the USA where snow was generally measured in feet versus inches. The roads are smothered in salt from late fall and well into spring. One winter the temperature never rose above zero for several days. Another winter recorded measurable snow every day for almost two solid months.

The roads are still there when the melt passes. There are no gutters, sinkholes or gorges. I’m sure the trade magazines focused on highway maintenance have featured these conditions and solutions over the last 50 years. Is someone failing to deliver the mail to local highway departments?

***

Since I’m only just warming up on political grievances today I’ve got to mention the bald-faced opportunism of Idaho Democrats.

These are the people who shouted “states’ rights” when a federal commission asked for Idaho voting records. Among liberals “states’ rights” are bad words until it helps a partisan cause. I believe Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is opposed to cooperating with the commission request for another reason. He doesn’t wish to appear an errand boy for the Trump White House and set a precedent.

Oddly, an editorial writer at the Washington Examiner published the request from the commission. It made no demands. Instead it respected individual state laws and made it clear states could opt out of portions especially if state laws protected certain voter information. In other words, the White House was looking for the last four digits of Social Security numbers but would accept less if states kept those details under wraps.

Most of what the commission asked for is already publicly available and is sold to various campaigns. When I worked as a political operative I would get not only lists of voters but also names of potential donors. And their telephone numbers. Then I would call and ask for even greater donations for the cause. Mr. Denney may have noble reasons for making his independence clear. But as for Democrats, what do they fear?

Judging by how few liberals hold elective offices in Idaho, if there ever was voter fraud it must benefit the Republicans. There is one possible motive we’re overlooking. The population growth in Ada and Canyon Counties may soon tip the scales of all statewide elections. There are few places where the liberals have a pulse. Democrats are on life support across much of the state, but the Capital region isn’t on the critical list.

My last political complaint for the moment involves the convoluted court decision upholding the governor’s veto of the grocery tax repeal. The decision appears to say the legislators who brought the complaint are right and in the future they’ll be right but they’re wrong as long as the governor is named “Butch.”

I don’t believe the judiciary is politicized, but if judges and justices are trying to avoid the appearance of cronyism the ruling is an epic failure. May the highway department chip seal the road to the high court!

Why baseball? It’s a family activity. It’s wholesome, and having spent many a summer night watching balls and strikes, it reduces stress.

Mailbag
Letter: Trump should ditch NAFTA

Trump should

ditch NAFTA

Did you know that the North American Free Trade Agreement passed in 1993 was sold as a “free trade” agreement, but was and remains a “managed trade” deal? President Trump is correct to get out of NAFTA, but wrong to renegotiate it. NAFTA is an instrument of international socialism setting up a vast array of international unelected bureaucracies to manage goods across the borders of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

NAFTA is part of a Council on Foreign Relations plan to create the North American Union regional government. Henry Kissinger (former secretary of State and a CFR member) said in 1993 that the passage of NAFTA “will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries ... .”

NAFTA has been very destructive to American jobs. It has resulted in a proliferation of Mexico-based assembly plants, mostly built by American companies where wages are cheaper and less government regulations. NAFTA has resulted in the loss of a million jobs and caused 40,000-plus US factories to close. Our trade deficit with Canada and Mexico was $9.1 billion before NAFTA, but is about $150 billion per year now!

NAFTA’s unconstitutional tribunal (courts), operate under an un-American United Nations Commission, have been overriding our courts on deciding conflicts between the three countries. The USA always loses!

CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, along with NAFTA, are gradually destroying the USA sugar industry with excess imported sugar. The entry of China into the World Trade Organization exploded our trade deficit to over $700 billion.

All of these “trade” agreements are a power grab to create regional governments like the European Union. These regional economic and political governments will be combined into a world government under United Nations control!

We must get out of NAFTA and the United Nations by passing H.R. 193!

Adrian Arp

Filer


Columnists
Other view: Senate Republicans take cynicism to a horrifying new level

We are hurtling toward a health-care disaster in the next 36 hours or so, for the worst possible reason. Cynicism is seldom completely absent from the operation of politics, but this is truly a unique situation. Republicans are set to remake one-sixth of the American economy, threaten the economic and health security of every one of us and deprive tens of millions of people of health-care coverage, all with a bill they haven’t seen, couldn’t explain and don’t even bother to defend on its merits.

Why? Because they made a promise to their base and now they say they have to keep it—regardless of what form keeping the promise might take and how much misery it might cause.

Tuesday, the Senate is set to vote on a Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What Republican bill? The senators themselves don’t even know. Here’s how Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, described it Sunday on “Face the Nation”:

“It appears that we will have a vote on Tuesday. But we don’t whether we’re going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act now, and then said that somehow we will figure out a replacement over the next two years.”

I’ve often argued that Republicans in Congress aren’t serious about policy, but this is taking their unseriousness to the level of farce. After complaining for years that the ACA was “rammed through” Congress—in a process that involved a full year of debate, dozens of hearings in both houses and 188 Republican amendments to the bill debated and accepted—they’re going to vote on a sweeping bill that had zero hearings and that they saw only hours before, because who cares what’s in it? It’s only the fate of the country at stake. If taking away health-care coverage from 20 million or 30 million Americans is what it takes to stave off a primary challenge from some nutball tea partier, then that’s what they’ll do.

No one would argue that keeping promises isn’t important. But Republicans have elevated the idea of keeping their promise to repeal the ACA to the point where it’s drained of all substance. You can see it in the way they talk about the various iterations of their bill. You seldom hear a Republican defend it on the terms of the bill itself. They don’t say, “Here’s how this bill will bring down deductibles” or “Here’s how the bill will take care of those who lose their insurance” or “Here’s how the bill will lower costs.” That’s partly because their bills won’t do any of those things, but mostly because they just don’t care.

Instead, what they say is, “We made a promise, and we’re going to keep it.” If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., handed them a bill saying that all children on Medicaid would be taken to the desert, buried up to their necks in the sand, and covered in fire ants, at least 40 of them would say, “It may not be perfect, but we have to keep the promise we made to repeal Obamacare, so I’m voting yes.”

For those few Republican senators with a hint of conscience—or whose states are particularly reliant on the ACA, and on Medicaid in particular—McConnell is trying to hand them a fig leaf they can use to justify their votes. But the goodies he’s offering are laughable. Consider, for instance, that McConnell is telling senators that he’ll put in $200 billion to help states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Sounds generous, until you realize that’s on top of over $750 billion in Medicaid cuts. It’s like saying, “I’m stealing your car, but here, you can keep the spare tire.”