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Guest Post: Open Letter to Governor Otter

March 24th, 2007 by Halli

Open letter to: Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter

March 24, 2007

Dear Governor Otter,

As a longtime supporter and a conservative I am writing, and asking others that read and agree, to ask you to explain some recent actions. Note: Representatives and Senators may be contacted at www.legislature.idaho.gov.

Although I agree with your veto of H0121(smoking in bowling alleys) I am not sure I agree with all of your reasoning. Since you stated in your veto letter “Given legislative concerns about ’social engineering,’ particularly in regard to my proposal for targeted expansion of the grocery tax credit” (more about that later) it appears you are acting like a spoiled child, saying, if you will not give me what I want I will not give you what you want. The supporters of the “Clean Indoor Air Act H0121 state “Public Place” as their justification. They confuse public and private property. Just because I allow the public on my property I should not be forced by government to relinquish what is left of my PRIVATE PROPERTY rights. As I look at the last few years of legislative action, I see an attempt by government to remove even the illusion of PRIVATE PROPERTY in Idaho.

House bill H081a is a different matter. How dare you veto a bill that will return 31 to 32.4 million dollars to the taxpayers of Idaho and claim the state cannot afford it! You were elected on a platform of conservative principles that include smaller government, lower taxes (this is what we are talking about), and less intrusive government. I am not even asking you to cut the budget of any government agency – just reduce the rate of growth by 1.5%. This is not your money. This money belongs to the people of Idaho. Give it back when you have the chance.

I am sending a copy of this letter to each of my legislators urging them to allow your veto of H0121 to stand and asking them to over-ride your veto or H081a. I am also asking the media to print this letter and asking each person that reads it to contact their legislator in support of these requests.

Sincerely
Jesse Higgins
Aberdeen, Idaho

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Black Helicopters, Raving Legislators, and the North American Union: Idaho Senate Joins the House

March 22nd, 2007 by Halli

Well, add the Idaho Senate to “the crack pot right”, at least according to the Lewiston Tribune’s editorial on the House. Today the Senate joined the House in “embracing black helicopter paranoia” and voted 24-7 in favor of House Joint Memorial 5, calling on Congress to eschew the Security and Prosperity Partnership, also known as the North American Union.

Specifically, the introduction to the memorial states: “…urging Congress to use all efforts, energies and diligence to withdraw the United States from any further participation in the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or any other…activity that seeks to advance…or in any way promote the creation…(of) any form of North American Union.”

Yes, in addition to a majority of the 70 members of the House (HJM 5 passed the House on a voice vote, so no count is available), 24 out of 35 Senators have had the wool pulled over their eyes as they were persuaded by “ranting” sponsors to support HJM 5.

Could it be there is more to this purported attack on US sovereignty than the Lewiston paper is willing to acknowledge? The Idaho Legislature thinks so. Perhaps you should find out for yourself. For numerous links, see this previous post.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Otter Finally Gets His Conscience Back?

March 22nd, 2007 by Halli

News flash: according to the Spokesman Review blog, Governor Butch Otter has just vetoed the bill banning smoking in bowling alleys, House Bill 121.

Lest you jump to conclusions about Otter returning to his “libertarian roots”, listen first to his stated reason for the veto: if the legislature refuses to give him his targeted grocery sales tax rebate, on the grounds that it is “social engineering”, he refuses to give them their smoking ban, on the grounds that it is interference with private property, lawful business activity and therefore also social engineering.

Remember that Otter also vetoed the legislature’s version of grocery sales tax relief, HB 81a. Otter wanted the poor to receive higher grocery tax rebates, and the middle and upper income to lose all grocery tax relief. The bill the legislature sent him called for increased (though lower than Otter wanted) rebates for all Idahoans, since all pay it. Otter vetoed the legislature’s bill, saying it cost too much. (Since when did giving taxpayers their money back “cost too much”?)

In other words, in vetoing the smoking ban Otter did the right thing for the wrong reason. Instead of taking the opportunity to champion personal freedoms and private property rights, Otter uses the occasion to push his clearly unfair grocery tax rebate.

Butch, stop a moment and take a look at yourself. Fair is fair, regardless of it’s cost. Don’t let your pride bury your principles!

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Bill Denying State Benefits to Illegals on its Way to the Governor

March 22nd, 2007 by Halli

After impassioned debate, Senate Bill 1157 has just passed the House by a large margin, and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. SB 1157 previously passed the Senate on a 29-6 vote.

Senate Bill 1157 has as part of its stated purpose “to require the verification of lawful presence in the United States of natural persons in order to receive public benefits”. When (or if) it is signed into law by Otter, the law will send what is hoped is a very strong message about lack of federal control of illegal alien entry to the state and the nation.

Brave individuals such as former Canyon County Commissioner and candidate for Congress Robert Vasquez have long held that illegal aliens cost the Idaho taxpayer millions of dollars for their criminal acts, incarceration and health care. Vasquez went so far as to bring suit against employers of illegals in his county, and proposed suing the Mexican government for several million dollars to reimburse Canyon County for their expenses.

While I do not agree with all of Mr. Vasquez’s positions, it appears he hit the nail on the head with this issue. And with SB 1157 the Idaho Legislature is looking to cut losses from state coffers as well.

Debate in the House over SB 1157 was heartfelt, to say the least. On the opposing side was Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, an immigration attorney. He pointed out a number of individuals who, through technicalities and no fault of their own, were found to be illegal aliens. He also observed that there were no financial impacts attached to the bill as are usually accompanying legislation. Labrador said that in conversations with the bill’s sponsor, he could get no dollar estimate for savings to the state resulting from the bill’s passage.

Then of course, many Democrats played the sympathy card and also questioned whether the state would actually save money in the long run if larger problems were created by not treating mental and physical health concerns in a timely manner.

Ultimately, of course,the bill passed and is now on its way to the Governor. Only time will tell if savings result, whether fewer illegal aliens stay in or come to Idaho, or if the red tape required for verifying status is too burdensome. However, for now the message is clear: Obey the law or face the consequences.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

Libertarian Links Added to TrishAndHalli.com

March 22nd, 2007 by Halli

Beginning today, links to libertarian websites have been added to our site. It’s a good fit, philosophy wise.

If you’ve taken the World’s Smallest Political Quiz (WSPQ), you understand that conservatives and libertarians share a belief in little or no government interference in economic matters, personal or corporate. Basically, libertarians believe that each individual should be free to do as he pleases, so long as he does not harm anyone else. My personal score on the WSPQ actually shows me to be libertarian, with a conservative bent, meaning that I believe government has a justifiable interest in prohibiting or controlling some behaviors.

If you haven’t taken the quiz, I urge you to do so – it only takes about 30 seconds. Heck, you can even download it to your PDA so you can amaze and astound co-workers, family members and small children!

Sometimes libertarians are perceived as the ones who only want to legalize all currently illicit drugs, and/or strike down laws proscribing pornography, even incest, sodomy, bestiality and pedophilia. Certainly, those laws are seen as government meddling by many libertarians. In my personal observations, in local elections you are likely to see druggies and former hippie-types. But it would be a mistake to assume all libertarians fall into this category.

The average American probably hears the term “libertarian” only a few times every four years. That would be when there’s an argument over allowing the Libertarian candidate to participate in nationally televised presidential debates. But you may be surprised to learn there a quite a few libertarians out there, some of whom you will know.

Many know that investigative reporter John Stossel is a libertarian. At the very least, any who have seen or heard his reports are aware that he strongly disapproves of government meddling. Drew Carey’s is a familiar face on TV. He also is a libertarian. So is John Larroquette, Denis Leary, both Penn and Teller, Kurt Russell, JJ Walker, Tom Selleck, and even Clint Eastwood.

You may be surprised to find that you agree with many of the ideas of libertarianism. You owe it to yourself to find out.

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Posted in Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | 1 Comment »

Idaho Falls Teacher Richard Hancock Exonerated

March 21st, 2007 by Halli

Five years ago, an intense, caring young teacher named Richard Hancock spoke to us on our radio program, detailing some very strange charges leveled at him by co-workers. The resultant investigation and ensuing lawsuit filed by the teacher have taken five years to unfold. The AP story on the subject is available from the Pittsburgh Tribune.

Richard Hancock’s only crimes seem to be caring too much, and taking his teaching job too seriously. Fortunately, the Idaho Education Association (IEA), the teachers’ union, rose to the occasion and fulfilled its duty in protecting its wrongly accused member. (Yes, I do believe unions have their place.) They hired a competent Boise attorney, and now Mr. Hancock has a letter of apology from Idaho Falls School District 91, and an undisclosed settlement.

The letter reads, in part, “The district regrets any inconvenience its investigation caused Mr. Hancock and his family”. You can bet that “inconvenience” was considerable. One of the charges leveled against Mr. Hancock was that he attempted to carry on an “inappropriate relationship” with a student. How would such a charge inconvenience you and your family? I can only imagine.

In fact, what Mr. Hancock had done was to urge a female junior high student to look more deeply into a story she was analyzing for an assignment. As a hint about the overriding theme of (non-romantic) love in the story, Mr. Hancock included a hand-drawn heart in his notations. Hardly sexual assault.

As for this and the reporting of an alleged threat against his principal, we may have a perfect example of professional jealousy. In addition, it is possible that we have a display of the worst possible attributes of females in the workplace. While not quite the “queen bee syndrome”, so much discussed of late, it still smacks of feminine intrigue. Yes, men can be cutthroat in the workplace as well, but usually display it in different ways

The bottom line is that an excellent teacher has been cleared of spurious charges, and that District 91 students will continue to benefit from his dedication and insight. Yes, I have cause to admit the IEA acted appropriately in this case.

It is regrettable that taxpayers of District 91 will be left to pick up the tab for the settlement. How unfortunate that the debt won’t be paid by those who brought the baseless charges in the first place.

Of course, there is no way to truly repay Mr. Hancock for the pain and humiliation he was forced to suffer.

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Posted in Education, Idaho Falls Issues, Taxes | 3 Comments »

The Security and Prosperity Partnership (aka North American Union): US Implementation Documented

March 21st, 2007 by Halli

Yesterday Judicial Watch, a watchdog organization founded to promote “transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law”, revealed very interesting documents received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Possibly the most interesting document is an “implementation memo” for the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) from Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SPP is the official government agreement with Canada and Mexico that is considered the blueprint for the “North American Union (NAU)”.

The memo details the cooperation of Canada, Mexico and the US in a variety of security initiatives, and enumerates remaining security tasks assigned to various agencies within the DHS. It is stated that the SPP is now the “single agenda” for working groups jointly operated with Canada and Mexico.

From the documents obtained by Judicial Watch, it is clear that the Bush administration is deeply involved in this effort, announced by President Bush and his “Mexican and Canadian counterparts” on March 23, 2005.

To avoid redundancy, lengthy quotations will not be included in this post. The links that have been carefully included will lead the interested reader to the documentation of the above statements. Be sure to follow the links to PDF files of the actual memo and other documents. Additional information can be obtained at Council on Foreign Relations, Eagle Forum, the Center for Media and Democracy, Accuracy in Media, ViveLeCanada, (a Canadian group opposed to the SPP/NAU which includes a time line), Eco (includes a video presentation by Henry Lamb), the John Birch Society, and StopSPP.

Also check out previous posts and associated links: The North American Union: Is Lou Dobbs a Right Wing COnspiratorialist?, North American Union: The Idaho House in Opposition, Crapo and Simpson: The North American Union Comes Home to Idaho, Update: North American Union Plans Denied in Argument Over Semantics, Congress Waking Up to “North American Union”?, The North American Union: Coming to a Country Near You.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: House Highlights 19 March 2007

March 20th, 2007 by Halli

By Tom Loertscher

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day you see a lot of the green around the capitol and this year was no exception. It brings out the most colorful of green ties and shirts and dresses that you can imagine. Some of the ties are what my five year old grandson would call “disgusting.” Lobbyists were saying all day that the longer a session goes the more weird the ties get.

Long committee meetings are still going on and you would think by now that the tough issues would be behind us. Among the heavy meetings of the week were elk farm regulation, upper limit payments for hospitals, English the official State language, GARVEE funding (borrow money for roads) and prohibition of State benefits for illegal aliens just to name a few.

Not to be outdone by the committees, a lot of the budget bills moved through the House, including the Health and Welfare budget. One item that was not well received was the appropriation for the Lottery. It seems that over the past couple of years the commission has been using kids to promote the lottery along the lines that you benefit children and schools when you play. It was debated at length and when the vote was taken the bill failed on a thirty four to thirty four tie. This was clearly a backlash vote, one to send a message. What happened next was unprecedented.

The bill was moved for reconsideration and that vote failed on a thirty four to thirty four tie as well. It caused no small stir and was dubbed by some as the shot heard ‘round the State. Even veterans in this process can’t remember a budget bill getting that kind of reception.

Governor Otter had a reception at his ranch in Eagle that evening and I asked one of his people if he thought the lottery commission had gotten the message. His response was that not only did they get the message they got it twice. The director has pulled all of the ads and materials mentioned. There will be a new bill drafted with some changes to the budget.

I stopped by the little cubby hole where the pages hang out the other day and cheerfully announced that they would soon be able to get back to school. There was an audible groan. I asked, “You mean you want to keep hanging around all these old fogies even longer?” They have been having way too good of a time and this is quite the bunch of kids. The majority are home schooled and they have been a delight. They are smart and creative and have worked very hard.

Lt. General Wright gave what I would call the presentation of the session before a joint House and Senate State Affairs Committee meeting. He grew up in Idaho and is the commander of all of our troops in Japan. He talked to us about the strategic importance of our presence in that part of the world having Russia, China and North Korea within a couple of hours flying time. As a percentage of GDP China is spending three times what we are on defense. His last slide was telling. It was a graph of entitlement versus defense spending. Entitlements are growing and defense is shrinking. Given the unrest in many areas of the world it is cause for concern.

As our thoughts turn to spring, the grass in Boise turns green, and an occasional lawn sprinkler is seen, the lobby corps keeps telling me it is time to leave for home. Seventy degree days will do that to you. I rode the elevator to the parking garage the other day with a State employee and he put the whole thing in perspective. “When the legislature adjourns, I’ll get my parking spot back.”

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The North American Union: Is Lou Dobbs a Right Wing Conspiratorialist?

March 20th, 2007 by Halli

The Lewiston Tribune, quoted in the March 19 Idaho Falls newspaper, is incredulous that anyone, including a majority in the Idaho House, would believe there is an under-the-radar effort to form a “North American Union”. They go so far as to quote one of our posts on the subject. Frankly, we’re flattered.

I think it would be useful to examine just who else is worried about the formation of such a union.

  • Lou Dobbs is not generally seen as a right wing nut. However, he has been relentless in exposing the move by the US towards a North American Union. You may be interested in the YouTube video of one of his reports.
  • Human Events featured an article by Jerome Corsi titled “North American Union to Replace USA?” The details exposed are too numerous to include here. Read it yourself.
  • Texas Representative Ron Paul devoted one of his “Texas Straight Talk” articles to the subject. He links the effort to NAFTA and CAFTA.
  • The official name of the project is the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” (SPP). See for yourself what is planned. Be sure to take special note of statements such as “We affirm our commitment to strengthen regulatory cooperation…and to have our central regulatory agencies complete a trilateral regulatory cooperation framework by 2007″.
  • Longtime United Nations watchdog Henry Lamb weighs in, noting that one major player, Dr. Robert Pastor, believes NAFTA to be the “first draft of an economic constitution for North America“. Any red flags there? Again, read it for yourself.
  • A major feature of the SPP is a huge trans-national highway from Mexico north into Canada. If this is a myth, why is Texas legislator, Rep. Rick Hardcastle, sponsoring legislation to delay the Trans Texas Corridor, a network of privately funded toll roads? Check out an organization opposed to the highway system, Corridor Watch.
  • In a previous post, we referenced the Idaho Farm Bureau publication, dated “Winter, 2007, Volume I” which reveals startling information about the transition to the “Amero”, replacing the currency of Canada, the US and Mexico. Be sure to scroll down to page 20 for the details.
  • And the Idaho House is not alone in opposing a North American Union. WorldNetDaily.com reports at least 12 states are considering or passing resolutions in opposition.

Convinced yet? If not, you have not followed the links. The evidence is stacking up, and coming from more than the “fringe kooks” like Trish and Halli, Rep. JoAn Wood, WorldNetDaily.com, and the Idaho House.

This isn’t a figment of someone’s imagination. You owe it to yourself to do the homework. We’ve made it easy – but you have to click and read. Tough assignment – at least for a Lewiston Tribune opinion writer.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | 1 Comment »

Boo Hoo – Poor Idaho Moderates! Part II

March 20th, 2007 by Halli

Read Part I

In my opinion, more firmly delineating differences between the two major parties will better serve both. “Moderate” Republicans are chiefly those who refuse to uphold the state party platform, a document created by grassroots Republicans, then reviewed and voted upon by them every two years in state conventions.

“Moderates” publicly agonize when they must vote their conscience and send pro-life legislation to the dust bin. They never met a tax increase they didn’t embrace, nor an entitlement program they haven’t championed. They solemnly support all kinds of encroachments on personal rights and control of private property. They will be heard intoning “It’s for the chiiiiiiiiildren” as often as the Democrats.

In short, they vote like Democrats 90% of the time anyway. Why not have a Democrat in the position and stop the deceit? In fact, many of them started political life as Democrats in the first place. They probably learned they couldn’t get elected with a “D” behind their name, so switched parties but not philosophies. Let us remember that former Speaker Bruce Newcomb is also formerly his county Democrat chairman.

When the GOP is forced to include the likes of Bob Ring, it dilutes party effectiveness, blurs the line between the parties, confuses and angers voters, and results in Idaho government moving to the left. That means higher taxes and greater government meddling and control of your life, your family and your property.

Perhaps the time has come to insist that all candidates choosing to run for office as Republicans first read the state Republican platform, and second, if they are elected, agree to uphold it. But these requirements would be meaningless unless those elected were held accountable for their actions while in office.

Want to know what that means? Take a minute to read it for yourself – the Idaho Republican platform.

Read Part I

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Posted in Education, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | 3 Comments »

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