to the editor from this week's Chronicle
The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is communicating with our Service members, Veterans and their dependents. Specifically, VBA hosts weekly telephone town hall meetings with veterans in states across the country highlighting VA Benefits.
The Under Secretary for Benefits, Dr. Paul R. Lawrence, takes this opportunity to share updates about VBA’s response to COVID-19, the launch of Blue Water Navy Act, Solid Start program and other new initiatives. He also helps Veterans understand and access all services and benefits earned.
Dr. Lawrence has reached over one million Veterans and has planned a telephone town hall meeting for Idaho Veterans on August 27th at 3:00pm Mountain Time. The phone number to call in is (833) 380-0417. Veterans are encouraged to join and ask questions about their benefits.
There is nothing more important to us right now than keeping the flow of communications open to Veterans. Dr. Lawrence will continue to share steps VBA is taking to support our Veterans and keep our employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please let me know if we can set up some time to discuss how VBA is meeting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and connect you with Dr. Paul Lawrence, the Under Secretary for Benefits.
Regional Office Director
The distinction between what should be done about a problem, and what the government should do, is perhaps, often blurred. It may have been right for us to have quarantined. It could be the right decision to social distance. But is it the responsibility of government to impose these things as law? If so, why?
In regard to the legality of Idaho's shut down: Governor Little's stay-at-home order was indeed legal according to Idaho code. (Title 46, Chapter 10, Section 46-1008). However, this law is in direct violation of the Constitution of Idaho (Article 1, Sections 1 and 4), and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. All laws in Idaho are given legitimacy by, and have authority from, the Constitution. Thus it does not matter that Governor Little's behavior was based on Idaho code because the code itself is in violation of the foundational document of this state. Thus, that part of Idaho code is null, and no one was obligated to obey the Governor in that case.
Additionally, no one is legally obligated to wear a mask or social distance. There is no provision giving government the authority to make this kind of demand. If we want to do these things, then we should. But it is not the role of government to require it.
The protocols currently in place by the City of Moscow and Idaho Public Health District 4, for example, should be recommendations only. Any enforcement of these restrictions, due to their intrusive and illegal nature, should be resisted through legal action.
Freedoms are not subject to circumstance. If freedoms can be suspended by circumstance, then we do not have a free society.
In case you missed it, Governor DeWine of Ohio tested positive for Covid last week just before meeting with President Trump. So he had another test "considered more accurate" and tested negative. Is this how it works? Test until you get the desired result? Waste effort and $ with a "less accurate" test then do the real test? So how many of the new wave of cases are false positive and let go at that?
Also last week a friend sent a picture of a lab worker handling a virus dressed head to toe in a body suit with a sealed helmet with face shield and gloves. The caption was," Don't worry, your face mask will protect you,"
Don't worry, the government and the media wouldn't lie to us. Thanks
To the Editor,
Imagine a pickup truck with the bed completely full of loose $20, $50, and $100 bills. The load is uncovered and bills are flying out the back. That's been happening in Idaho County for years! Solid waste taxpayer dollars are scattered to the wind because nobody at the County has ever paid attention long enough to figure out how to cover the load and keep the money in the truck.
In 2006 a "Solid Waste Advisory Board'' was formed by the Idaho County Commission. Ten volunteers were duly selected and provided a TO DO list requiring them to “control dumpster abuse, provide reasonable service at a fair price, protect land and streams from garbage drift, increase recycling, and construct a roll off site summer 2008.” I’m not making this up; they had one meeting and dropped off the radar screen.
In 2020 the cost of rural solid waste disposal in Idaho County is over four times that of Owyhee County, the second largest county in Idaho with similar demographics. Annual payments to the sanitation service provider for the most recent complete fiscal year were over $1.7 million dollars. Given that amount of money, taxpayers should expect a public process, accountability, transparency, and good stewardship by the County. The easy solution is to just increase taxes, like last September, when RESOLUTION NO. 2019-12 increased rural solid waste fees again. It’s time to get involved and actually manage Idaho County solid waste costs and practices.
No. 276 - 8/10/2020
My how time flies and issues pile up! So picking a single topic each week is a problem! Admitted here: claims made come from 60 years of studying issues relating to our way of life and the threats to its survival. Discussed are condensed versions of theories and opinions of people who are experts in their fields and of history. Identified are issues that are the subjects of many books, and in way or the other, are very important if one is to understand the rise and fall of countless civilizations. Today's topic -money!
Taking first things first, a review of what is money is critical! Research reveals that all through history one sees a gradual change in what a country calls its "money." One will notice the following evolution in that change. We will call it the "Barter Chain." It start with 1) Barter - the direct and free exchange of one item for another. You give me in trade something I want and I give you something that you are willing to trade, both parties are happy with the results. 2) Primitive money - those items that are valuable or wanted by many - gold dust or furs in the old west, tobacco in the colonies, horses in Rome. 3) Sophisticated money - Eventually every country uses for money gold or silver, two items accepted by everyone because of their value that can be traded for almost any other item. 4)Certificate substitution - A service provided by a company, later called banks, in which paper certificates could be exchanged for a small fee for the storage of a person's valuable gold or silver. Valuable since it is far safer and convenient to carry a $1000 silver or gold certificate rather than to haul around that amount of physical gold or silver. And valuable because it could be exchanged at any time for the silver or gold being stored. 5) Reduced reserves - Eventually the firm that was charging a bit to store the valuable metal in exchange for a certificate guaranteeing that it could be exchanged back for the metal, found that the certificates were so popular that only rarely were they ever brought back in for exchange. So they started offering a fee to store safely your gold or silver. But, since rarely did anyone make the conversion back, said firm started giving out more guaranteed certificates, still charging the little storage fee, until the certificates far exceeded the gold or silver in storage. Then if for some reason, holders of the certificates started to doubt the amount of gold or silver stored backing the certificates, a "run" would occur on the firm which could put it out of business or force it into bankruptcy. 6) Official money - Next the government would take over the money question, often because of the problems which showed up in number 5, and make official what the unit would be. In our country, the "dollar" had to have about 3/4 of an ounce of silver in it, and an ounce of gold was determined to be 35 times more valuable than silver. Again for convenience, certificates guaranteed to be exchangeable for either the silver or the gold metal. Shortly thereafter, the government also started with reduced reserves held to back the certificates, until all guarantees were abandoned, in our country, gold could no longer be demanded in exchange for certificates during the depression, and silver was also no longer offered to certificate holders in the 1960's. So the system evolves and always leads in every country to 7) FIAT money - Paper money backed up only by the promise of the government it was worth something!
Why is this important? Because every country which has resorted to FIAT MONEY allows its government to print more and more to seduce the citizenry with grants and gifts and grabs for power until the value of each unit of money goes essentially to zero. That government then has to BORROW huge amounts or PRINT huge amounts of money to back up its promises, until, NO EXCEPTIONS in history, the money unit becomes worthless, the debt explodes, inflation occurs, the nation goes bankrupt and collapses in depression. How long does it take? History will tell you somewhere around 200 to 250 years! Sadly, our beloved U.S.A. is there, today!
Opinion: Protecting Idaho's forests and communities
By Senator Jim RischSummers are beautiful in the Gem State. Idaho’s mountains, rivers, lakes and trails are beloved by the people who live here as well as the millions who visit every year. From attending forestry camp in McCall as a student at the University of Idaho, to summers spent hiking through the Cabinet Mountains with my sons, I continue to be awed by the beauty and serenity of the great state that we are blessed to call home.
Idaho has 21 million acres of forestland, over three-quarters of which are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. These lands provide many benefits—fish and wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, treasured recreation, and vast renewable resources. Idaho’s forests provide thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in economic activity, and immeasurable intrinsic value, but they also face significant risk.
Every summer, wildfires roll across western states, endangering communities and forests. Idaho’s forests evolved with wildfire, but current forest conditions are not the same as in the past. Today’s fires are no longer limited to remote, backcountry areas. Years of insufficient forest management have resulted in excess fuel and increased disease, leaving millions of acres at high risk to catastrophic wildfire.
These fires are increasingly severe, leaving economic and environmental destruction in their wake. For the many Idahoans who live and work in forest dependent communities, a significant amount of their incomes is earned during and reliant upon the summer season. When fire comes, small business owners whose livelihoods depend on the land can’t operate, and our state’s economy and our residents’ daily lives are disrupted. As the line between communities and forests continues to blur, we must manage Idaho’s forestlands to protect our people, steward our lands, and reduce the risk of wildfire. Last month, Representative Fulcher and I introduced the Treating Tribes and Counties as Good Neighbors Act. For years, Good Neighbor Authority has enabled states to partner with the Forest Service to complete forest management and restoration projects. This bill will authorize Tribes and Counties to perform Good Neighbor projects and enhance the ability of all partners to prevent fires through forest restoration projects across landscapes. I also joined Senator Crapo in cosponsoring Senator Daines’ bill to reduce activist litigation against responsible forest management.
Advancing management tools is important, but to be sustainable long-term, they must be paired with conversations among diverse interests. I have proudly supported collaboration for decades. When I was Governor of Idaho, we used a collaborative approach to develop the Idaho Roadless Rule, bringing the timber and conservation communities together to develop a plan to preserve and manage our forests based on Idaho’s needs, not a federal mandate. This collaborative spirit has only continued to flourish. Today, Idaho is home to many locally-driven forest collaborative groups, with representatives from industry, rural communities, conservation, Tribes, and others. These groups resolve conflict together, finding ways to move balanced projects forward. Consensus-driven conversations like these are truly the best way to ensure the health and vitality of Idaho’s forests.
Without its rugged, forested landscapes, a fundamental piece of Idaho would be lost. To ensure we have this treasured resource into the future, we must foster both the tools and open dialogues that help to manage our lands against wildfire risk while still conserving them for future generations.
U.S. Senator Jim Risch, who has a degree in Forestry from the University of Idaho, is a senior member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. To learn more about wildfire risk, management and fire preparedness in Idaho, visit www.risch.senate.gov.