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David Ripley: Death Lobby Descends on Utah

February 4th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Utah Democrat state representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck introduced legislation today that would create a right to physician-assisted suicide in the state of Utah.

HB 264 is called the “End of Life Options Act”, and would allow a physician to prescribe deadly drugs for a patient diagnosed with a condition that could reasonably be expected to cause natural death within six months.

There are various clap-traps in the bill – including a requirement that the attending physician determine that the patient is acting voluntarily, and encouraging the patient to share his or her determination to die prematurely with family members. But the primary purpose of the legislation is to implement the agenda of the Death Lobby. Under the rhetorical cloud of “compassion”, Ms. Houck and others seek to end the lives of elderly and sick citizens prematurely. This saves money and trouble for many.

A similar effort was threatened in Idaho several years ago. Fortunately, through the leadership of this organization and people like Russ Fulcher, Cliff Bayer and Governor Otter, Idaho instead implemented an outright Ban on Assisted Suicide.

We pray that the Utah Legislature takes a similar tack: The only way to be rid of the Death Lobby is to take decisive action in positively rejecting their message and agenda.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Democrats Side with Planned Parenthood

February 3rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held true to his word, and brought a veto override motion to the House floor last night. Republicans attempted to override President Obama’s veto of the Planned Parenthood defunding measure. Unfortunately, the effort fell short of the two-thirds’ majority required.

The motion to override on HR 3762 received 241 votes, while 186 members voted with Planned Parenthood and Obama.

Only 1 Democrat (Colin Peterson of Minnesota) voted to override the veto.

Idaho’s Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador voted again to defund Planned Parenthood.

The effort to sever our partnership with America’s largest abortion chain must now await the election of a new president.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 1

February 1st, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

The pace of the session has picked up and we now find several bills coming forward. We just hit a deadline last Friday which was the time for the filing of personal bills. A personal bill is one that is taken directly to the Chief Clerk of the House and is introduced to the whole without having gone through a committee first. On Friday a large number of personal bills were read across the desk, more than in recent years. Subject matter ranged from permitless concealed weapons carry legislation to constitutional amendments.

A rarely used maneuver on the house floor occurred on Friday as well, and that was the motion to lay on the table. It takes a simple majority of the body to lay it on the table which means that it cannot be considered unless two thirds of the body agrees to take it off the table. In effect it kills a bill. The motion was not successful and one of our age-old customs of the crow flying occurred. It is a little statuette in the form of a crow that passes around the body from time to time when a member makes a motion that does not get at least 20 votes in support. The effort made didn’t even come close, and the crow flew.

There’re a lot of background things going on right now, one of which is discussions on water. The governor has called for money to be used for recharge. We of course are very hopeful and there seems to be more snow around at the moment than we’ve seen for a couple of years. If that is any indication we might actually have water available for recharging our aquifers.

It might be of interest that this past week there were personal bills introduced in the Senate for the expansion of Medicaid. The chairman of the health and welfare in the Senate has agreed to hold hearings on the bill. It’s a pretty heavy subject for a committee to consider in the short time available, and it will be interesting to see how it is handled there. I had a chance to visit with some folks this week about the governor’s proposal of primary care and at this point it looks a little bit like it might have a tough sell among some legislators. Most of the discussion centers around how the program would be funded and is felt that if it is to get anywhere it will have to be modified some.

It was good to get home over the weekend and to take care of a couple of pressing matters there. The good news is, at least a portion of them got completed in time for my speedy return back to the capital city. It started to snow almost the moment I got home on Friday, snowed some more on Saturday, and it was snowing when I left home. And I only got stuck once. Together it accounted for approximately 10 inches of new snow. The little grandkids had a ball playing in the fluffy white stuff but not so much in the heavy wet snow that fell on Friday. Some places I traveled over the weekend, I noticed the fences starting to disappear little by little. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe this is one of those one year in ten recharge years. One of my friends commented that he didn’t care for the snow a whole lot and then admitted,” We sure do need it, so we’ll take it.” My sentiments exactly.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Goes in for Hillary

February 1st, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood announced that it would be spending “six-figures” on media to help protect Hillary Clinton in Iowa from the insurgency campaign of socialist Bernie Sanders over this closing weekend.

The head of Planned Parenthood’s PAC argued in a press release, “There’s too much at stake for us to take a back seat in this election. Every single leading Republican candidate would strip health care from millions across the country – blocking patients from seeking services at Planned Parenthood, banning safe, legal abortion and even ending insurance coverage for birth control”.

She went on to burn her brand into the Abortion Industry champion:

“At the end of the day, [Hillary’s] the one we trust to go head-to-head with the extreme anti-abortion politicians hell-bent on rolling back the progress we’ve made….”

We’ll see if their endorsement can save Clinton from the quixotic campaign of Sen. Sanders. If she does, it will be up to us to make sure that Americans are confronted with the specter of Planned Parenthood’s hand-picked agent occupying the world’s most powerful office.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: What Conservatives Can Learn from Liberals

January 28th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

There are tactics and characteristics of the American left that conservatives would be well advised to emulate. Until these lessons are learned, conservatives will likely continue to struggle at the ballot box, and liberty will be but a noble afterthought.

Perhaps the most critical lesson to learn is that politics, and governance in general, is incremental. The ebb and flow of the political environment and the mechanics of governance move incrementally, either toward liberty and constitutional principles, or toward centralized planning and governmental hegemony. Every piece of legislation, policy statement, regulation, executive order, election, and every judicial decision moves the nation, a state, or a community slightly one direction or the other. It rarely moves all the way to one extreme or the other.

Many conservatives tend to look at each of the above events as an all-or-nothing proposition. If they can’t have absolute 2nd Amendment rights, it’s all wrong. If they can’t have completely free markets, the system is corrupt and it’s no good. If a candidate doesn’t agree completely with their perspective, they’re evil and cannot be supported, and they’re simply the “lesser of two evils.”

The long-term perspective significantly shapes incremental adaptation. Liberals seem to have a more long-term view of the process, and realize that each political victory is a rung on the progressive ladder. Too many conservatives suffer from severe myopia, mistakenly believing that if they can’t jump to the top of a ladder in one jump, they’ve failed, or that other conservatives have failed them if they can’t, or don’t, make the jump to the top minus the intervening steps.

This tendency places some conservatives in the unenviable position of never being satisfied with anything. Since they can’t have things just precisely the way they want them to be, they will forever be unsatisfied, and politically unfilled. Liberals, generally, seem to relish each minor victory and recognize any politically incremental movement for what it is – one step in the process.

When we realize that every election and every other political activity takes us incrementally toward liberty, we begin realizing that each minor move to constitutionality and liberty is a victory, however small. And rather than bemoaning the failure to leap to the top of the ladder, relish the small victory, and gear up for the next battle for the next incremental triumph.

Closely related is persistence. When liberals don’t get what they want, they keep pressing ahead, until at last they persevere. When HillaryCare failed in the 90’s, the issue was placed on the back burner until they could muster the political clout to pull it off with the 2010 edition – ObamaCare. The old aphorism, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” should be the mantra of conservatives. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and if we fail, then try again until we succeed.

Liberals are masters of the compromise. In foreign affairs, they’re willing to concede large swaths of political ground for minor gains. For example, they assure a nuclearized Iran in 10 years, for little more than the appearance of having achieved a great deal for the U.S. But when it comes to domestic affairs, it’s just reversed. They will concede hardly anything in exchange for massive concessions from Republicans. This art is obviously a learned trait, and one that has thus far eluded conservatives. Until they can learn to at least meet halfway on issues of principle, conservatives will forever be the political doormats in American politics. Acquiescing and caving totally to the left not only emboldens the left, but it alienates conservatives from their political base and ideological constituency.

Granted, part of the lefts success in this regard is due to the fact that they have the media to advance their narrative. When congress presents a budget and the president threatens to veto it, liberals and the media all blame congress if the government is shut down for not presenting a budget the president can sign. If it’s vetoed, the president shut government down, not congress! Conservatives must learn to control the narrative, and shape the story in a way that ascribes blame where it belongs. President Reagan was able to do this, even without the alternative media that’s available today.

The left is organized, mobilized and energized at the grassroots level in such a way as to capitalize on technology and social media. Conservatives have come closer to creating a genuine grassroots organization with the emergence of the Tea Party. But even that is fragmented, sometimes regionalized, and parochial in nature. Until conservatives learn to master grassroots organization and mobilization, we’ll always be playing second fiddle.

Conservatives tend to be more defensive and reactionary, rather than aggressively proactive. We have constitutional principles – American principles – as our ideological foundation. Rather than sitting back and defensively trying to protect and preserve them, we’ve got to learn to be proactively advancing and bolstering them. Just as in sports, defense alone can’t win a game. There’s got to be an offense scoring points in order to win.

Liberals don’t seem to care how liberal their fellow ideologues are. They just care if they claim to be liberals, and if they subscribe to their broad dogma. Conservatives are often too consumed with whether one is “conservative enough,” or a “true conservative.” Consequently, we spend more time fighting amongst ourselves, pointing fingers, making accusations, and casting aspersions than we do in fighting the real enemies of liberty. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and as long as conservatives engage in this internal civil war, we will remain our own worst enemies. We can only succeed when we’re united.

George Washington claimed, “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” America’s plant is withering, and if we’re to save it, we need to start working proactively together as freedom’s stewards.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: More is Revealed…

January 28th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Operation Rescue provided more background information on the grave injustice playing out in Houston, where undercover investigators are facing criminal charges – but the baby butchers walk.

The first thing we learn is that the Grand Jury impaneled by DA Devon Anderson never even took a vote on whether to indict Planned Parenthood for violations of federal statutes like the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. (Despite video evidence that Houston Planned Parenthood doctors engage in such practices in order to harvest more valuable organs and tissue). In fact, it is not clear that the Grand Jury in Houston was even presented with evidence about potential wrong-doing by Planned Parenthood officials.

We suspect that Ms. Anderson’s true agenda was to protect the Abortion Industry. From the beginning of her “investigation” she indicated that she would be looking closely at the behavior and methods of the undercover reporters who stunned America with their findings.

Despite being appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the post, Ms. Anderson has a rather questionable past with respect to the Abortion Industry.

In 2013, Operation Rescue brought a complaint in Houston against an abortionist named Douglas Karpen. They uncovered a pile of evidence showing that Karpen was operating a practice very similar to that of Kermit Gosnell: killing babies after birth by snapping their necks. Turns out that the attorney who defended Karpen (Chip Lewis) is a close personal friend of D.A. Anderson – and a major donor to her political campaigns.

Just as interesting: Anderson assigned the same female deputy to run the Planned Parenthood grand jury as botched the Karpen grand jury. (Karpen walked away from those 2013 charges).

It seems quite obvious that justice is going to be a very difficult thing to find in Houston. Hopefully Governor Abbott will have greater success at the state level.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: The Chicago Way

January 26th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life
Along with most Americans, we were shocked to hear that Planned Parenthood of Houston has been “exonerated” by the Houston DA – while the investigators will face criminal charges. Is this not a perfect example of the corrosive effect of legalized abortion upon our legal system?

We are a long way from Houston, and do not know the Houston D.A., Devon Anderson. We don’t know her politics or position on abortion. But we do know that she has an attorney working in her office who also serves on the Board of Planned Parenthood – Houston, the very organization Anderson set out to “investigate”.

The pressure Planned Parenthood is bringing to bear on the noble souls who exposed their butchery-for-profit scheme is unbelievable. It demonstrates the Mafioso-like ethics which animate Planned Parenthood: Just a week or so ago, they brought suit in San Francisco against David Daleiden, leader of the Center for Medical Progress. It is the second lawsuit filed by the Abortion Industry to silence Daleiden, and to prevent America from being confronted with the ugly truth about legalized abortion.

In response to the criminal actions by the Houston D.A., Mr. Daleiden issued the following statement:

“The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws…. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”

That is a fairly careful, if pointed statement. No doubt, Mr. Daleiden’s response was drafted with help from his attorney since he must now mount a criminal defense.

We prefer the statement issued by Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN):

“It is a sad day in America when those who harvest the body parts of aborted babies escape consequences for their actions, while the courageous truth-tellers who expose their misdeeds are handed-down a politically-motivated indictment instead.”

Amen.

We are going to have to hold Mr. Daleiden in prayer, and we are going to have rise, as a community, to help support him as he works his way through the legal harassment Planned Parenthood has laid for him.

In the meantime, we must also not lose heart: Gov. Abbott (R-TX) is vigorously pressing a state-led investigation into Planned Parenthood’s activities, which may go a long way toward correcting this blatant injustice at the hands of Ms. Anderson. He said today that the antics in Harris County will have no impact on the state’s determined investigation into Planned Parenthood.

And we can also take heart by remembering the words of the prophet Isaiah, who faced incredible levels of social corruption in his day:

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent … for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord’s anger burns ….” (Isaiah 6:20 -25).

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights Jan. 24

January 24th, 2016 by Halli

Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Probably the hottest topic discussed around the legislature this last week, was all of the issues that are going to appear on our agenda soon. Even though several issues were discussed by various groups, not much actually came forward at least in a way we could begin introducing legislation. What will more than likely occur is that all at once we will have much on our plate and then we might hurry too fast getting things done.

I was asked last year and this to participate on what has been fondly dubbed the CEC Committee. The CEC stands for change in employee compensation and in other sectors they call it employee raises. The purpose of the committee is to recommend to JFAC (budget committee) what state employees should be paid in the next fiscal year. After much discussion and three different hearings on the matter and five different motions, the committee recommended that the governor’s proposal for salary increases be adopted.

What that translates into is a 3% across-the-board raise for state employees in the coming year and in addition the state will pick up all increases in employee health insurance costs. I thought there was a better motion out there that would have given a 2% across-the-board raise and then move the pay policy closer to the private sector by using the other 1% and have that pickup the increase or at least part of the increase in health insurance costs.

That decision was made very early in the morning on Tuesday and I had the privilege of reporting the result to House leadership and committee chairs in their regular weekly meeting. Because of the CEC meeting I arrived a little late and found that they had been discussing the governor’s budget and all kinds of brake lights were coming on in the room. The memory banks were alive with what occurred around this place in the year 2002, when a 13% increase in spending took place in spite of a 6% increase in revenues being predicted. That led to the longest session of the legislature in 2003 trying to find a way to close the budget gap created by overspending and revenues coming in at less than the 6% that had been forecast. So it looks like there is some caution being expressed and reservation about spending at a level that exceeds what we project for revenue increases. Alarm bells are beginning to come on for some.

We had the privilege of listening to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Jim Jones and I have to say that his talk was somewhat refreshing from others I have heard from the court. He had just finished his presentation to the Senate and as he began his comments in the house after we had waited for a few moments for his arrival he said, “I’m sorry that you were waiting for me so long but there was some windbag over in the Senate that prevented me from getting here any sooner.”

Representative Batt, the State Affairs Vice Chairman, spends a lot of time doing the rules review for the agencies that come before the committee. She discovered that two different agencies had written two sets of rules concerning the same matter. What was even more interesting was that neither agency knew what the other was doing. Her comment to me was that at least you would think they would talk to each other.

I received a call from the inventor of powdered alcohol who lives in Arizona. He sounded a bit unhappy about the bill that was introduced to ban the product. He wants to come to Idaho to testify before the committee. We’ll try not to hurry through this one or put it off too long.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Grieving for a Hurting Nation

January 22nd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Today marks the 43rd year in which America has been shackled by an edict which allows for the mechanized destruction of some 4,000 innocent babies every day. The official total is something like 58 million babies lost to abortion – but that figure understates the carnage by a considerable degree.

A day like today is one in which we should take stock of the price being paid by this great nation for legalized abortion. The great scandal of organ harvesting revealed last year is an alarming sign of the darkening of America’s soul. Of course it is ghoulish to imagine Planned Parenthood chopping babies in the back room in exchange for Lamborghinis. Yet we must ask: Where is all the money coming from?

Behind the curtain of Planned Parenthood scandal is the mountains of money being spent to procure organs and tissue from tiny human beings who could not defend themselves. Presumably “respectable” companies and institutions are using these babies as organ farms to pursue research that once would have been widely denounced as clearly unethical. Does not the silence point to a coarsening of the American conscience?

Yet there are signs of awakening, as well: The U.S. Congress has finally had its fill of financing America’s largest abortion provider. The number of abortion clinics is at an historic low. Planned Parenthood is having serious trouble recruiting new abortionists. And the number of pro-Lifers continues to grow.

That strength will be on display today as the national March for Life takes place in the midst of a big winter storm. Snowflakes or not – tens of thousands of Americans will stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. That march offers the nation an invitation to repentance, to healing, to real freedom. May the Lord amplify those voices raised today and awake a people in need of healing.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Martin Luther King and His Far-reaching Impact

January 21st, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Some people take umbrage at the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. has a holiday dedicated to his remembrance, while none of our founders, or even presidents, do. I am not among them. In many ways, MLK epitomizes the founding principles the nation was based on, for they, along with his theological convictions, comprised his core belief system.

As we celebrate the 87th anniversary of his birth, acknowledgement of his contributions to civil rights and peaceful demonstration for just causes is just a portion of what the man represented. His insights on freedom, work, selflessness, and morality apply equally to all Americans, regardless of political orientation, race, or creed.

Perhaps that was the key to his enduring legacy – not just that he advanced civil rights, but that he taught and expounded precepts that transcended the great social divide of his time. Perhaps there is as much for us to learn from those teachings in transcending and bridging the divisions of our time.

To him, everything revolved around freedom. “I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.” This may seem ostensibly a self-evident truth, but the concept is increasingly foreign to too many of us as we look continually to government for solutions, at the expense of individual liberty to choose and to act.

He also stated, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” When we realize that much of what’s done in the name of government is oppressive to freedom, it’s increasingly evident that as an electorate we must needs rise up in opposition to freedom-inhibiting laws and regulations, and demand redress.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom,” he declared on another occasion. Individual and universal freedom was everything to him, without regard to ethnicity or other contradistinction. He advocated freedom, as opposed to government programs that diminish the freedom to build, achieve, to be rewarded for those achievements, and to succeed.

He often talked about how critical it was for all Americans to have a job. To him, a good job was ennobling, and built character. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” A working society was a free society, for without work, one becomes the ward of the state and loses their individual freedom to become and do.

He was so critical of those whose entire focus was on themselves and their own self-interests. And he made no distinction between the personal and the private; the political and the individual. Said he, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” And as if to underscore this notion, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Clearly those who engage in identity politics for their personal aggrandizement are not looking at the greater good for society and America.

He always emphasized doing, and acting on principles. It wasn’t enough to echo the refrains of freedom, one had to work for them. And at times he seemed to echo the sentiments of Edmund Burke, the English philosopher who said “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” King’s version was, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” How can one claim ownership of great precepts, and not be willing to act on them?
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Clearly, to King, all lives matter!

The Reverend was a highly principled man, driven by truths and fundamental values. He referred often to those values. “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” Some of those values were the very foundational principles upon which the nation was founded, that he found lacking in their application to all American equally.

He was not a perfect man. None are. Yet he advanced a commitment to “moral foundations” and “spiritual control” which he saw as critical for society as a whole, and can only be accomplished by each of us dong our part.

I think he would concur with General Douglas MacArthur, a great student of history, who declared, “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

Although an icon of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was not single-dimensional. He called upon all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religious convictions, or socio-economic status, to do their part for the benefit of society and the country. It’s wholly fitting to have a holiday dedicated to his memory and teachings. And the nation would be better off if more effort were expended in adherence to his precepts.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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