New rules apply

U.S. Rep Russ Fulcher

JEERS .... to Ammon Bundy of Emmett.

On Saturday, Bundy analogized Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Holocaust.

Comparing Little’s stay-at-home regimen to the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II is becoming all too prevalent among Idaho’s radical right.

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, called Idaho’s governor “little Hitler” in an April 16 interview.

Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, compared requiring store customers to wear facemasks as the Third Reich forcing Jews to wear the yellow star.

But Bundy, who appeared at an anti-Little Capitol rally sponsored by the Idaho Freedom Foundation and the anti-vaccine group Health Freedom Idaho, descended even deeper into the pit. Among those listening to his words were children.

“It always amazes me how you see pictures of men and women stripped completely naked, lined up and facing a mass grave, where they are shooting them in the back of the head and falling in the grave,” he said. “Now the answer to that is not easy but it is this, and I have been there and I know for a fact that this is true. ... When you have faced so much tyranny in your life, there is a point when you would rather line up naked and get shot in the head. And my friends, why we’re here today right now is to make sure that never happens.”

Bundy’s comments occurred during the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which ought to put to rest any depiction of Holocaust victims going willingly to their demise.

Besides, Bundy could not be more wrong.

Little’s stay-at-home order is asking the young and healthy to protect the old and the frail from a highly contagious cornonavirus.

The Nazis believed themselves to be a master race entitled to dispose of those they deemed unworthy.

Who makes such an argument? And who would hand such a fool a microphone?

CHEERS ... to Frank VanderSloot of Idaho Falls.

Apparently the CEO of Melaleuca — and Idaho’s richest man — is not the source of Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman’s treasury. It’s a process of elimination because Hoffman — operating as a tax-exempt nonprofit — refuses to say where he gets his money.

VanderSloot, a card-carrying conservative Republican, you’d think, would have much in common with the Freedom Foundation.

But the Idaho businessman says he learned otherwise while defending victims of a legal scheme that attaches wildly disproportionate legal fees to medical debt. For instance, a $294 unpaid bill expanded to more than $5,000 once the lawyers got done.

The practitioners of this enterprise include Idaho Freedom Foundation board member Bryan Smith and Republican lawmaker Bryan Zollinger, both of Idaho Falls.

Last year, VanderSloot put up $1 million to help people fight back in court. Then he sponsored a bill to cap the legal fees.

The Freedom Foundation opposed VanderSloot’s reforms — and any lawmaker who voted for it faced retribution via a negative Freedom Index ranking.

Although the measure passed, 20 House Republicans — including Reps. Priscilla Giddings of White Bird, Mike Kingsley and Thyra Stevenson, both of Lewiston, and Paul Shepherd of Riggins — voted the Freedom Foundation line.

Writing in the Idaho Falls Post Register this week, VanderSloot said: “The Freedom Foundation is no longer a supporter of freedom, but only a supporter of the special interests of its founders, its board members and its power base of overzealous, radical and unreasonable special interests. Its tactic of extremism, character assassinations, retribution, disinformation and punishing those who disagree with it are right out of the extreme liberal playbook.”

Excuse us, Mr. VanderSloot: But isn’t that being unfair to “extreme liberals”?

JEERS ... to Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho.

Frankly, if these two are so willing to defer to President Donald Trump so absolutely on something as vital as sending American military personnel into harm’s way, why remain in office?

Come home, Sen. Risch, and tend to your extensive property holdings.

Come home, Sen. Crapo, and utilize that law degree you got from Harvard.

Thursday, Risch — chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and senior Republican on the Intelligence Committee — and Crapo, a 27-year veteran of Congress and chairman of the Banking Committee — essentially voted to give Trump a blank check to launch a war.

At issue was Trump’s decision earlier this year to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump’s justification for that action shifted over time. First, it stemmed from an “imminent threat” to American military personnel in the Middle East. Later, it was simply — as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted in a Senate briefing — none of Congress’ business.

Although Risch and Crapo were not offended, other Republicans — among them Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Kentucky’s Rand Paul — protested.

A handful of them joined Democrats in passing a bill directing Trump to get congressional authorization before engaging in hostilities against Iran.

Although the Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war, Trump bellowed it was a “very insulting resolution,” and vetoed it.

By sustaining Trump’s veto, Risch, Crapo and 42 other Republicans have abdicated their constitutional and moral authority.

JEERS ... to Congressmen Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson, both R-Idaho.

Heading into this year’s election, these two have every advantage — incumbency, money, organization and name recognition in a one-party state.

On top of that, the social distancing response to the COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible for their opponents to get out and campaign.

So the one level playing field still remaining is the Idaho Debates, televised over Idaho Public Television.

All that was required of Fulcher and Simpson was to engage in a 15-minute interview from a teleconference terminal.

But Fulcher won’t appear tonight with his Republican primary opponent, Nicholas Jones of Boise.

More disappointing is Simpson, who in the course of 20 years of congressional campaigning, has never refused to engage in one of these forums.

This year, he’s a no-show as well. — M.T.

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