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John Livingston

The Curse of Self Awareness

My wife and I have an ongoing debate about the best romantic movie ever made. She is torn between GONE WITH THE WIND, Dr. ZHIVAGO, and OR ABOUT 35 Hall Mark movies. For me, the best romantic movie is either TOP GUN or BULL DURHAM. Last night after watching the NCAA Wrestling tournament on ESPN (lots of “toxic masculinity at that event) I turned to Bull Durham for more of the same! Susan Sarandon may be a Trump hating progressive, but she can sure deliver some good lines. One of those lines reminded of our current politicians in Boise and Washington DC. “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness”

In the past I have written that I admire the political courage of politicians who put their names on the line and run for office. The courage to run for office and put in the work, and the sacrifices that families are required to make should also be tempered by a sense of “self-awareness” and an understanding of the needs and hopes of constituents.

The average family income in Idaho is $60,000 per year. With inflation at 7% that cuts average real income by $4,200. Some items that are counted in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) like food and gasoline are weighted very much below their contribution to real inflation, so their impact though felt by consumers, is not reflected in the number. With food prices up over 40% and fuel and energy prices up 50% the real impact on everyday people has been estimated to take away an extra $2500 of a $60,000 income. That means the typical Idaho family has $6700 less to spend or save or invest (college and retirement for themselves) or back into their own small businesses… Less than they made 10 years ago, and taxes continue to go up.

Our President last week told us that the greatest “existential threat” to our country is GLOBAL WARMING. Not Ukraine, not inflation, not unfettered immigration at our Southern Border and not a crisis in law enforcement in our major cities. Not decreasing readiness and morale in our military. SELF AWARENESS?

Our State Legislators promised us grocery tax relief two years ago. 7% off the grocery tax right now would help a lot of Idaho families. They have given teachers and State employees raises this year but not cut taxes for citizens. Who is a customer and who is a stakeholder? Our large hospital systems give administrators salaries in the millions, while insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles continue to go up for individuals and employers. Our State’s Medicaid program has been identified as the 4th most fraudulent in the country with a 39% false claims and false billing rates and our legislators don’t demand a reckoning (accounting) of the Department of Health and Welfare(DHW) that distributes those funds before they pass a $4billion (DHW) budget. If JFAC were a corporate Board, they would be investigated by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Covid Funding continues and mandates for citizens in businesses and churches, and children at schools caused great harm. SELF AWARE?

Our Governor and many Republican legislators, and Republican Party leaders like Tommy Luna say they are conservative. They are pro-life, pro-gun, and pro big government. On the far right we have “libertarians” arguing to legalize drugs, when the “drug pandemic” continues to accelerate in part because of mandates that isolated our youth during lockdowns. Those professing that FREEDOM is the predicate for their political philosophy have yet to explain how a person addicted to drugs can ever be “free” or be a contributing member to society and not a ward of the State collecting unemployment checks and living in a tent encampment. If one is homeless and destitute, can they be free? Governor Little is on the right side about drugs, especially keeping Marijuana illegal. He is on the wrong side about Big Government. “Governments exist to secure rights” not to “mitigate private transactions or civil discourse”. Ask Governor DeSantis.

When assessing the State of the Republican RINO Party (RRP) in Idaho we would do well to contrast what is happening in the State of Florida and compare Republican leadership in that State with ours. Governor DeSantis early on after the first Covid surge excluded draconian administrative Public Health strategies like social distancing, lockdowns, and masks for school age children. Comparing outcomes in States like Florida and Texas with States like California and New York and even Idaho, one can see how traditional type 3 mitigation strategies—protecting the at-risk population, produced better outcomes than what we see in States that shutdown, closed schools, enforced mask mandates without insisting that properly fitted N-95’s were the only masks that worked. And now the Governor and many of our legislators want to place an “ombudsman” in the Governor’s office to adjudicate patient complaints against providers. This only helps providers execute “Emergency Mitigation strategies”, protects them from legal liability, and allows for Federal Funding to potentially be continued in perpetuity. No “sunset” for the ombudsman”. Really! Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) needs to be addressed, but the solution is not the consolidation of power in the Governor’s Office.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation has proven to be a formidable force especially with its Freedom Index. But we need another way of measuring the performance of our politicians. Comparing State legislation in the various States with an index—kind of like what equity fund managers do when comparing their results over time with another index like the DOW, S&P 500, or the MSCI indexes, would show the reality of what is happening in Idaho with what is happening when compared to a State like Florida that would serve as a conservative Standard. The Standard would be based on legislation that was passed and signed by the Executive. In Florida Covid mitigation, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and educational standards and guidelines look very different than what has been passed in Idaho this year. Compare Idaho’s legislative and executive performance against a true conservative standard and the picture looks very different. The Freedom Index allows us to compare individual legislators against a standard and is important for identifying individuals who vote one way or the other. It helps defining differences between candidates in individual legislative districts. The legislation based on legislation passed in Idaho vs the conservative Standard would allow citizens to see how the (RRP) and the lobbyists who control them really reflect Idaho values. Comparing Idaho to a truly conservative State headed by a conservative Governor would be enlightening to Idaho citizens.

It will show how the (RRP) has benefited by not being “cursed with self-awareness”

4 replies on “The Curse of Self Awareness”

You are completely wrong about cannabis! This is a God given plant that He says was provided for our benefit! It helps the people to have an alternative choice to the pharmaceutical/medical cartel. It is inconceivable that you can claim to be for freedom and think that you have a right to call illegal what God has gifted us! This is a medicinal plant that heals when used appropriately, the fact that some people choose to abuse this plant as they do with many other legal substances like soda pop or school is NOT a reason restrict is helpful use by others! You don’t actually believe in freedom but in tyranny of things you don’t understand!

Nah, “Somewhere in Time”, with the late, great Christopher Reeve. Not only is the soundtrack beautiful (by Sergei Rachmaninov) and haunting, the concept is original, conveys Love everlasting. The movie becomes even more memorable when we remember the tragic fate that befell Mr. Reeve. Rest in Peace.

You behave like a liberal! When you don’t have the facts on your side attack the individuals character… disappointing!

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