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Guest Post: Statesman Story Mischaracterizes Judge Winmill

March 20th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho Statesman ran a front-page story yesterday on a big case now before Idaho’s federal judge, Lynn Winmill. It involves the tragic abuse of parental authority by Boise City police, St. Luke’s and officials at the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare.

In 2002, the Mueller family brought their sick newborn baby girl to the emergency room because she was running a fever. Doctors recommended a spinal tap on the infant to check for meningitis. The Muellers declined the recommendation – knowing that odds were less than 5% that the baby was suffering from that disease. They were concerned about the potential side-effects of the procedure and told doctors they wanted other options.

But we live in an era of growing medical arrogance. Too many in the medical profession have confused their role because of a lack of spiritual humility.

In any event – in this case, doctors called in Health & Welfare officials who seized the infant from the parents. They performed the spinal tap and found nothing. But days passed before the little baby was returned to her parents.

The Muellers filed suit in federal court.

In relating the story, the Idaho Statesman characterizes Judge Winmill as a champion for parental rights. More particularly, the paper says that Winmill “determined the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of parents to make almost all medical decisions for their children.”

On the basis of what we know about this horrible case – Judge Winmill has pronounced a just result. He is probably due a great deal of credit for striking a counterblow on behalf of parents.

But the story is loaded with irony. This is the same federal judge who overstepped his authority to ensure that Idaho’s Parental Consent was blocked from being enforced for the past three years.

According to this same federal judge – it is “unconstitutional” for parents to be told after an emergency abortion that their daughter is suffering from a physical condition so serious that an abortionist had to immediately kill their grandchild. Who cares whether the girl needs follow-up medical care? She’s just collateral damage in the war to protect the abortion option.

Winmill has also ruled that it is “unconstitutional” for state judges to report suspected cases of sexual abuse when dealing with girls in a judicial bypass setting. Such a report, Winmill says, “might have a chilling effect” on a girl’s “right” to commit abortion. Apparently Winmill’s version of the Constitution requires us to turn our backs on girls suffering from physical and sexual abuse at home – at least if defending that girl would somehow threaten the “sacred right” of abortion.

Of course, it is impossible to know what is in Judge Winmill’s heart as he wrestles with these various questions involving an ever-encroaching government and medical bureaucracy. Still, we wonder aloud about his apparent inability to construct a coherent view of the U.S. Constitution and the natural parental rights which precede it.

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

English as the Official Language: Logic Wins Out Over Emotion

March 19th, 2007 by Halli

One of the major differences between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party was on display as the Idaho House debated SB 1172 on Monday, March 19. This bill establishes English as the official language of state government, with some exceptions.

Democrats repeatedly relied on emotional, sometimes deeply flawed arguments to try to convey that this bill would make vulnerable people feel rejected, excluded, unwelcome. Republicans stuck to actual experience and fact to blow the Dems out of the water without them even realizing it.

Rep. Bock, D-Boise, recounted how a “Jewish rabbi” told the story most of us know as “The Good Samaritan”. The inference was that anyone voting to make English the official language of Idaho was also voting to “walk callously past the injured man”. This debate earned a mild rebuke from the Speaker, who reminded Rep. Bock that debate must pertain to the bill at hand.

Rep. Chew, D-Boise, seemed unable to believe the legislature could be so inhumane as to impose English on all doing business with the state. She asked permission to retell a story from Sen. Malepeai. He told her that his grandparents, immigrants from Samoa, wouldn’t have felt “welcome” in a store with a sign reading “English Only”. She completely missed the point that this law has nothing whatsoever to do with private businesses.

Rep. Chew also echoed a common theme of Democrats as she revealed that her ancestors were immigrants from China. This fact alone was an argument against the bill.

Rep. Ruchti, D-Pocatello, had contacted his predecessor, former Rep. Elmer Martinez, who was raised by non-English-speaking immigrant parents and learned Mr. Martinez was staunchly opposed to SB 1172.

Democrats repeatedly referred to America as a “salad bowl”, inferring that all Americans, regardless of their origin, are in the “bowl” together, but retain their distinct uniqueness, much as a piece of tomato is distinguishable from a piece of lettuce. (I suppose we must assume then, that the tomato speaks Spanish, the cucumber Kiowa, the mushroom Swahili, etc.) Typically, this is in contrast to the “melting pot” analogy in which all immigrants fit in to the dominant culture and become “indistinguishable”. ( I don’t FEEL indistinguishable, do you?)
Republicans, on the other hand, were able to grasp the realities of the bill, which requires only that the official business of the State of Idaho be conducted in English, with special exceptions.

Rep. Henderson, R-Post Falls, rose to share 3 different commonly used phrases, all in non-English languages. He recounted that he heard all these phrases from his neighbors as he was growing up. What his diverse neighbors had in common, however, was that they were all proud that their children spoke English.

Rep. Tom Loertscher rose to describe his experiences living in Germany for 30 months. Each time he moved from one city to another, or even one address to another within a city, he was required to go to the government office and fill out the required paperwork. He surmised that had he requested the forms in English, he would have been laughed out of the office. This is America and we speak English, was his message.

Rep. Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, recounted a similar experience, but in France. Even Rep. Shirley, R-Rexburg, argued in favor of this bill, to my surprise.

Rep. Wood, R-Rigby, observed that all members of the House were descended from immigrants, and that fact had no bearing on the bill being discussed. She supported the bill.
Rep. Chadderdon, R-Coeur d’Alene, revealed that she is a registered tribal member, raised on a reservation in Montana. She described growing up with a variety of languages spoken on the reservation, and the resulting confusion and lack of communication. She argued strongly in favor of the bill.

One of the Republicans observed that he was acquainted with former Rep. Martinez and had heard him debate on the floor of the House on a number of occasions. Never once, he observed, did Rep. Martinez speak in any language but English.

I was impressed with the debate of the House sponsor, Rep. Del Raybould, R-Rexburg, as he plainly stated that the arguments against SB 1172 had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual bill.

Ultimately the bill passed on a 46-20 vote, and since it has already passed the senate, SB 1172 will now go to the desk of Governor Otter.

As I observed earlier, this debate pointed out a stark difference between the parties. Democrats generally relied on emotional, non-factual (even inaccurate and unrelated) arguments. For them the argument was all about “feelings”. Clearly logic hasn’t much regard on the left side of the aisle.

Republicans in general were able to form logical, factual arguments based upon principle. And ultimately they won out.

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

Boo Hoo – Poor Idaho Moderates! Part I

March 19th, 2007 by Halli

Apparently “moderate” Republicans are feeling somewhat ostracized in the 2007 Idaho House. Let’s all pull out a hankie to wipe our eyes as we mourn their pain.

An Idaho Statesman article by Shawna Gamache reports on the soul-searching and turmoil suffered by the likes of Rep. Bob Ring. He laments that because he voted for House Speaker Lawrence Denney’s opponent, Rep. Bill Deal, he didn’t get the chairmanship of the Health and Welfare committee.

Ring may have totally overlooked the fact that Rep. Sharon Block has been serving as chairman of that committee, and returned to chair it in the 2007 session. In my recollection, sitting chairmen are not often removed unless by their choice to accept other assignments.

Yes, “moderates” lost seats in the House during November 2006 elections when Democrats unseated 6 mostly-moderate Republicans in the Boise area. Looks to me like most Republicans in the house are not missing them much.

Let’s examine some of the beefs Gamache attributes to “moderate” Republicans unlucky enough to serve in this year’s Idaho House:

  • Leadership positions all went to conservatives.
  • Some “moderates” say House leadership are pressuring them to vote for or against certain bills.
  • Few “moderate” bills are seeing the light of day.
  • Conservatives hope “moderates” will become discouraged and not seek reelection.
  • Rep. Max Black feels isolated now that he is no longer a “trusted adviser” to Speaker Newcomb. (Take heart, Max. No doubt Mr. Newcomb will be in need of your help in putting together lesson plans and pronouncing college level vocabulary in his new position at B.S. University.)
  • House leadership is perceived as undermining votes on “moderate” legislation.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Somehow Gamache fails to compare the 2007 Legislature to the previous sessions overseen by former Speaker Bruce Newcomb, a man who ruled (yes, ruled) with an iron fist. That would at least offer her some perspective.

Ms. Gamache, you may be so new to the Statesman that you never witnessed the “Newcomb House”. If so, in my humble opinion you should not be allowed to author articles about the 2007 House until you interview every lawmaker who served under him. At the very least, your article should include information about GOP lawmakers who opposed Newcomb and what happened to them. Or, is it possible that this omission was intentional?

No, I don’t buy the line that life is tough for Republican “moderates” in the 2007 Idaho House. After all, the term “moderate” is just another way to say “RINO” – Republican in Name Only. To them I say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the House (or at least the party).”

Read Part II 

Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | 7 Comments »

Best-Kept Secret: Idaho Tax Revenues Fall Below Projections

March 19th, 2007 by Halli

Last week in his House Highlights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone, reported that state tax revenues are falling behind at an alarming rate. I haven’t seen this reported anywhere else. Why isn’t this blazoned across the front page of every newspaper in the state?

According to Rep. Loertscher, revenues are now $28 million less than projections for this fiscal year, with a $17 million shortage in February alone. And projections are what next year’s budget (spending) is based on.

Is the legislature whispering about this shortfall in the halls of the capitol? Does the Governor hope no news source gets wind of it? Is the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) rushing to get the budgets set before the news leaks?

This is a big story, with ramifications for all Idahoans. Expect to hear more about it – when the legislature is over and legislators are safely at home.

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

Guest Post: Abortion Lobby Begins to Make Good Its Threat

March 19th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

The Abortion Lobby is beginning to make good on its promise to “make our priorities the law of the land”. That grandiose vision was articulated by Ellen Malcolm, head of the pro-abort Emily’s List. Her comments came at a rally for their endorsed candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, earlier this month.

“In 2008, we are going to finish the job… and welcome President Hillary Clinton,” Malcolm added. “It is time to elect a president who will protect a woman’s rights, particularly their reproductive rights.”

They have begun to collect on that vision. Last week Democrat congressional leaders were caught putting special language to protect Planned Parenthood’s sweetheart RU-486 contract into the Iraq War funding bill. The deal is worth millions to Planned Parenthood.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined Clinton at the event. Pelosi celebrated with the abortion activists their victories in November: “We have two houses back, the House and Senate – only one to go.”

While it will be painful to watch the Abortion Lobby push its agenda through every imaginable legislative trick over the next two years – there is every reason to hope that America will be repulsed by their depravity.

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Guest Post: Henry Hyde Endorses Hunter for President

March 17th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

He has been called the Lion of the Pro-Life Movement. Until his retirement from Congress, Henry Hyde was the undoubted leader of congressional efforts to defend America’s preborn citizens from the scourge of abortion.

Even now his shadow and legacy looms large, his name synonymous with efforts to turn back the hounds of death loosed by the Supreme Court in 1973.

This week, the Honorable Henry Hyde announced his decision to throw his considerable weight behind Congressman Duncan Hunter’s bid for the presidency:

“There is a national cry for a true conservative candidate. I submit this cry has been answered by Duncan Hunter. He brings a wealth of experience, great foreign and domestic knowledge, and an energetic spirit to this race for the White House.”

That is undoubtedly a heady endorsement, and may indicate the beginning of national move toward a conservative candidate with unquestionable pro-Life credentials. Hunter has a stellar pro-Life record in Congress, and has introduced legislation in every session he’s served to overturn the Supreme Court’s devastating Roe v. Wade decision.
And on the subject of Henry Hyde, allow us to share one of his more penetrating observations:

“I do not see the sanctity of life ethic being respected. I see us
paying a fearful price, because there are about a million-and-a-half
abortions every year. That’s a terrible loss of human life and
something this society should not tolerate. You measure a society’s
ascent from barbarism by how it treats the weak and the defenseless and the
unwanted, and we have a lot to answer for in that regard.”

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Parental Consent Abortion Bill On Its Way to the Governor

March 16th, 2007 by Halli

With the passage of SB 1082a in the House today, Idaho is nearly assured of having a Parental Consent abortion law that will stand up to legal challenges that have torpedoed past attempts. Governor Butch Otter is expected to sign the bill when it arrives on his desk.

The law, according to Rep. Tom Loertscher, is very similar to the Arizona Parental Consent law, which has already undergone trial by judicial fire – and survived. With exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies, the law is bound to protect most young women from predatory abortion doctors and their cohorts at Planned Parenthood. Statistics show that when Parental Consent laws are in effect, the rate of abortions for pregnant teens drops significantly.

Pregnant teenagers are ill-equipped to make such a life-and-death decision on their own. An abortion will do lifelong damage, including increased risk of breast cancer, severe depression, and the risk of death from all causes. For more information on the harms of abortion, backed by irrefutable studies and statistics, visit the Idaho Chooses Life website.

Certainly there are instances when there is such a strained relationship between a pregnant girl and her parents that compliance with the law is unreasonable. For those cases, a “judicial bypass” is available. And you can bet that Planned Parenthood will have their attorneys lined up, ready and waiting to assist with the procedure.

But before that, you can count on Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Idaho Women’s Network to be waiting in the wings to bring suit against the state once again. Only this time, federal judge Linn Winmill, a liberal democrat, will have a tougher time throwing out a law that has already passed judicial scrutiny.

Congratulations to the main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Tom Loertscher, and the numerous other brave legislators who have worked so hard to pass this very important law.

Posted in Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

Idaho Senate Throws Out Stronger Non-Compete Enforcement

March 15th, 2007 by Halli

Perhaps you’ve never had to sign a non-compete agreement with an employer. Basically, a non-compete clause in a contract requires that you agree not to work for yourself or another employer in a manner that competes with your former employer.

For instance, most TV stations insist that their local newscasters sign a non-compete agreement stating they will not go to work on air for one of the competing stations. Generally, the specific employment and the geographical area to be restricted are spelled out.

Non-compete agreements are all about fairness and protection of trade secrets. It’s easy to see that it would be unfair for an employee of an insurance company to take a list of current policy holders to a competing insurance company down the street, then contact those customers offering similar policies at 10% less than they paid to the first company. Or an employee of a food manufacturer may steal a secret recipe and sell it to the highest bidder. It is reasonable for an employer to seek to prevent such situations.

But non-compete agreements must also be fair to the employee. Overly restrictive agreements can basically keep the person from making a living without taking up a different line of employment, or moving out of the area.

Everyone agrees that the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) is tardy in getting a bill strengthening non-compete agreements into the legislature. However, IACI did just that last week, with SB 1203. IACI feels a 2005 Idaho Supreme Court case weakened the agreements in the state.

The Idaho Supreme Court case in question dealt with an ophthalmologist who was employed by an eye care chain. His contract included a non-compete clause but there was disagreement over exactly when non-compete time period began, and a cash payment to “purchase the practice”. Apparently, IACI feels the ruling hurt employers.

It is very interesting that senators from both the left and the right were on both sides of this legislation. A perusal of today’s Senate Journal reveals that Senators Richardson, Siddoway and McKague, usually regarded as staunch conservatives, voted in favor of SB 1203.

Opposing the bill were conservative Senators Fulcher and Pearce. Perhaps research into the livelihoods of senators on both sides of the issue (outside of the legislature, of course) would reveal their motivations. (However, I don’t have a copy of the Idaho Blue Book, and very little information contained therein is available on line.)

I believe that reasonable non-compete agreements should be allowed. However, employer desires must be balanced against employee needs. I commend the Idaho Senate for voting down this restrictive last-minute legislation.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Senate Committee Passes Ultrasound Bill

March 15th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

HB248, legislation designed to ensure a woman considering abortion has the opportunity to see her baby on an ultrasound screen prior to the abortion, has been moved forward by the Senate State Affairs Committee on a 6-3 vote.
Voting for the bill: President Pro Tempore Bob Geddes, Majority Leader Bart Davis, and Republican senators Mike Jorgenson, Denton Darrington, Brad Little and Curt McKenzie.
Voting against the bill: Republican Senator Joe Stegner and Democrat senators Edgar Malepeai and Clint Stennett.
The Idaho Women’s Network, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the legislation. During testimony, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Burke Hays argued that the legislation was “cruel” – a refrain coming from all those testifying against. He contended that offering to show a woman an ultrasound image of her baby could inflict harm on a woman’s emotional health.
That spin was most effectively answered by Brenda Salsar, who works for CareNet of the Palouse, based in Moscow. She said that “it is time to quit patronizing women”.
Indeed, the whole Abortion Lobby reeks of paternalism-on-steroids. Planned Parenthood and friends know what is best for women, the poor little things they “serve”. They certainly know better than parents what children and families need – just ask them.
The bill now sits on the Senate floor – the final step in the legislative process. Your prayers and phone calls are appreciated.

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Governor Otter Threatens to Veto Grocery Tax Reduction Unless the Poor Pay Less

March 13th, 2007 by Halli

It’s no surprise, but it’s still a disappointment. Governor Butch Otter appears poised to veto an across-the-board increase in the grocery sales tax rebate which passed the Idaho Senate today.
Otter claims the Senate’s proposal will cost too much, with a price tag of $32.6 million dollars. His proposal “targets” increases in the rebate to lower-income Idahoans only.

Butch has a long history as a libertarian-leaning Republican. This has rubbed conservatives the wrong way on a few occasions, but it’s important to remember that Libertarianism and Conservatism are not one and the same. If that raises a few questions, be sure to take “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz“, mentioned in a previous post.

Essentially, Libertarians and Conservatives part ways on government control of moral issues such as abortion and illegal drug use. Libertarians believe government should stay out of personal lives unless one’s actions harm others or infringe on their rights.

Conservatives, of course, believe government should prohibit abortion and tighten controls on illegal drug use. However, Libertarians and Conservatives agree on the concept of smaller government and lower but fair taxes. Butch’s targeted grocery tax rebate promotes neither smaller government nor lower, fairer taxes.

I must say that I whole-heartedly embrace the belief expressed by Ezra T. Benson when he said that “the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person’s property or income be taxed at the same rate”. Of course, current tax law on every level of government violates those “principles of justice”.

Interestingly, it is Senate Democrats and the most conservative Republican members of the Idaho House who support completely removing sales tax from groceries, though for different reasons. Democrats want to help the poor by removing tax from one of the necessities of life. Conservative Republicans want to lower any tax and reverse the uncontrolled growth of government. Generally those two groups don’t feel too uncomfortable teaming up on common causes.

It’s not too late to urge Governor Otter to accept an across-the-board increase in the grocery tax rebate, which equates to a tax decrease. It’s not difficult to contact the Governor’s office.

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

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