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A Lecture Worth Driving to Attend

April 24th, 2007 by Halli

If you enjoy challenging topics, you may wish to make the effort to attend a lecture sponsored by Citizens for Tax Reform this Friday, April 27, at 7pm in Idaho Falls. Two gentlemen will be addressing the audience.

First to speak will be BYU Professor Dr. Steve Jones. This is the engineering professor who put forward the theory that the Twin Towers were taken out by carefully placed explosives on 9/11. He was put on administrative leave by the university when a backlash of criticism hit them. However, he has continued to lecture on the topic since that date and remains on paid leave status (draw your own conclusions why BYU continues to pay him).

The second lecturer is Dr. Jack Monnett who wrote the very insightful book, “Awakening To Our Awful Situation”. The forward to the book was written by Joel Skousen. He states that,

“one of the most difficult tasks in today’s sophisticated world is to perceive evil when masquerading as good….Good Christian conservatives are often a beleaguered, minority within a democratic society, and rarely gain the ability to effectively control the powers of government. Thus, when ‘one of their own,’ claiming to be true to the faith, gains political power, Christian conservatives almost always tend to place unconditional trust and approval in such a leader, even in the face of near constant betrayal.”

It is clear that the evening promises to be extremely interesting. The details are:

Eagle Rock Jr. High
2020 Pancheri Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
7:00pm
Admission: free, donations accepted

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Bathrooms for the Transgendered, Part II

April 24th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

BSU TO BREAK GROUND ON TRANSGENDERED BATHROOM FACILITY NEXT MONTH

BSU plans to break ground on May 8 on an expansion of the Student Union Building (below and to right, image from BSU website) which will include at least one bathroom designed specifically with the transgendered community at Boise State in mind. This expansion will be built with public dollars.

Leah Barrett, the Executive Director of the Student Union Building, presented the expansion plans to the student senate this spring and was quite open about calling the bathroom in question a “transgender bathroom,” and acknowledging that one of its intended uses is for people who are confused about gender.

I am in receipt of an email from BSU’s Director of Communications, Frank Zang, in which he says categorically, “Regarding your current issue, Boise State does not have plans for a transgendered bathroom in its expansion of the Student Union Building.”

Thus we have two university officials directly contradicting each other. We will naturally seek clarification as the day and week progresses. Perhaps members of the gay and lesbian community can help clarify for us what the stated intentions of the school are for this restroom.

TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS: A FRONTLINE IN THE CULTURE WAR

The issue of transgender bathrooms is, for homosexual activists, a major front in the cultural battle, and official recognition of such a facility at Boise State, a state-sponsored, taxpayer-funded institution, would be a significant triumph for them.

We can only guess at the reaction of the gay, lesbian, and transgender community at BSU to Mr. Zang’s evident effort to distance the university from the concept and in fact deny that any such intention ever existed.

A transgender task force recently launched a campaign at the University of Colorado to bring “all-gendered” bathrooms to its campus. The campaign was headed by a student who describes himself as “gender queer,” meaning that he identifies himself as neither male nor female. According to one news report, “He doesn’t feel comfortable in the men’s bathroom and gets strange looks when he walks into the women’s bathroom.”

The restroom sign developed for all-gender bathrooms is half of a figure wearing a dress and the other half wearing pants.

According a story in the New York Times, the “new political frontier” in the culture war is “the campaign to establish gender-neutral bathrooms in public places.” The idea, the article continues, is to make sure that transsexuals, cross-dressers, and “those with a fluid, androgynous identity who do not consider themselves completely male or female” can use bathrooms “without fear or harassment.”

Even the American Psychiatric Association, in the Bible of diagnostic practice, the DSM-IV, identifies transgenderism as a “disorder,” repeatedly refers to it as a mental and psychological “disturbance,” and quite naturally declares that this “disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

The tragic nature of this disorder is illustrated by a 2004 story from the Guardian, a far-left newspaper in England. The story profiles a man who, at the time of the story, had changed his sex for the third time in 11 years. By that time, the surgical mutilations of his body had left him with no sex organs at all. “Once Dainton had a penis, then a vagina, now she has nothing.”

In his last sex change operation, he only received breast implants. With no genitals left from prior operations, the only way to create a new vagina would have been to remove a section of his bowel, which would leave him needing a colostomy bag. According to the Guardian, this is surgery he actually would consider “if I had a new partner and we decided it would help our relationship sexually.”

One individual who underwent a sex change operation he now regrets has launched a campaign against what he calls the “sex change industry,” and argues that transsexualism was invented by psychiatrists. “Their language is illusory,” he says. “You fundamentally can’t change sex. The surgery doesn’t alter you genetically. It’s genital mutilation . I’ve never been a woman, just Alan.”

The transgendered are clearly suffering from some serious psychological complications, and our hearts should go out to them with the offer of all the help we can provide to assist them in making their way out of that dark place and back to an acceptance and affirmation of their God-given sexual identity.

BSU is not helping them by promoting the normalization of gender identity disorders at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this tragic silliness to stop, and it needs to stop right here, right now, at Boise State University.

Read Part I.

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Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Congressman Ron Paul Warns of Increased “People Control” After Virginia Tech Massacre

April 24th, 2007 by Halli

In his weekly column, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas observes that while increased gun control may result from the tragedy at Virginia Tech, increased “people control” almost certainly will.

Rep. Paul observes that too many Americans look to government rather than themselves for protection and security. This is in direct contradiction of the principles upon which our nation was founded.

It is impossible for government to protect its citizens from all threats, yet many rights and freedoms will be infringed or discarded completely as our leaders try to reach that goal.

I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s observation: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

As copy-cat shooters keep raising their heads and threats of attacks and bombings continue to be reported, we are in a very dangerous and precarious position. Especially with Democrats in control in Washington, almost anything could happen.

Rep. Ron Paul:

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, General, Second Amendment | No Comments »

It’s Hard to Argue with Facts: Legally Armed Students Prevent Deaths on Campus

April 23rd, 2007 by Halli

When we are presented with two very similar crime stories, separated only by a few years in occurrence, it is critical that we compare them and learn any inherent lessons in order to protect innocent lives in the future. WorldNetDaily.com reminds us of the difference one small law can make.

Situation 1: on January 16, 2002, legal alien student Peter Odighizuwa set out to murder students and faculty on the campus of Appalachian Law School in Grundy, VA. Odighizuwa entered the offices of several professors and shot them at close range, killing them. He also shot and killed a female student, and wounded three more. However, before he could kill others, he was stopped by 2 students who had rushed to their cars to retrieve their guns. The two students were able to disarm Odighizuwa and subdue him until law enforcement arrived.

Situation 2: on April 16, 2007, legal alien student Cho Seung-Hui set out to murder students and faculty on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Several hours after murdering 2 in a dorm room, Cho entered a school building and opened fire on faculty and students. Cho killed 32, wounded 15, and finally killed himself, all before law enforcement showed up on the scene.

Both situations occurred in the state of Virginia. In the five intervening years, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law banning legally possessed and carried weapons from all university campuses. One year ago, a bill was introduced to allow guns back on campus, but failed. A Virginia Tech spokesman said,

“I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

Lessons learned?

1. Law enforcement cannot protect students or anyone else from a deranged madman intent on murder.

2. Laws prohibiting guns on campus are obeyed by law-abiding citizens, not deranged madmen, and are unenforceable.

3. Feel-good legislation and rhetoric doesn’t protect anyone.

4. Legally armed students and/or faculty can and do stop armed killers.

Read the previous posts on this subject, Virginia Tech: Gun Control Fails…Again, and Guest Post: Second Amendment, Designed for Virginia Tech.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Politics in General, Second Amendment | No Comments »

Breaking News: Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” at Century High School in Pocatello

April 23rd, 2007 by Halli

This just in: Century High School in Pocatello is showing “An Inconvenient Truth” in the school auditorium all day today, and while claiming that each student may choose to view or not to view the movie, students are being urged to attend.

Yes, this is a public school. Yes, public schools in Idaho have standards for videos shown in classrooms. No, parents have not been consulted, nor have they given permission for their students to view this blatant piece of propaganda for the “global warming crowd”.

No attempt is made to present opposing views. This brain-washing indoctrination is presented in its pure and unadulterated form.

With no “consensus” among scientists, including meteorologists, about the purported heating of the earth’s climate, or the cause of such heating, Al Gore is allowed inside the supposedly hallowed halls of a public school to present his pap as accepted scripture.

And the comparison to scripture is intentional: Rush Limbaugh is correct that since much science refutes it, the belief in human-caused global warming must be based on faith and is therefore equivalent to any other personal belief, be it Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, or Islam.

Given the situation, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have a good case for bringing their own missionaries into Century High School to proselytize the students. Of course, students would be able to choose whether they wanted to listen to them, but school faculty and staff would urge them to hear their lessons.

Sound ridiculous? Of course, because it IS. And so is allowing Al Gore, via his propaganda piece, into our public schools to proselytize students into HIS religion.

This is a call to action for all parents who care what their children are taught in public schools, using their tax dollars. Call your school district to learn if “An Inconvenient Truth” will be shown in your child’s school. If the answer is yes, find out the date and time. Keep your child home for the hour, or the entire day. And be sure the school district knows why they have lost the dollars associated with your child’s “seat time”.

If you do nothing, be prepared to accept the consequences.

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Posted in Education, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Your Idaho Tax Dollars At Work – Bathrooms for the Transgendered, Part I

April 23rd, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

BSU PLANS: BATHROOMS FOR THE TRANSGENDERED

BSU intends to double the size of the Student Union Building soon, and according to student senator Jonathan Sawmiller, the plans presented to the student senate this spring include transgendered bathrooms.

Yes, BSU is planning to use public dollars to build restrooms reserved for the exclusive use of students with utterly confused sexual identities.

Transgendered individuals believe that their gender identity does not correspond to their biological identity. That is, an individual who genetically is a male comes to believe that in fact he is a female trapped in a male body. And an individual who genetically is a female comes to believe that she in fact is a male trapped in a female body.

The Judeo-Christian tradition has taught for millennia that genders come in just two varieties – male and female. This is clear from the first page of Genesis, which plainly declares, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Medical science confirms this, of course, as individuals are either male or female – there is no third, fourth, or fifth alternative – in their very DNA and in every single cell of their bodies.

Make no mistake – if this project goes forward, public dollars will be used for BSU’s promotion of sexual abnormality. Financing is likely to include a combination of student fees and bonds issued by the university. Courts have consistently ruled that student fees are in fact public dollars, since they are mandatory, and, in BSU’s case as a public institution, represent what amounts to a tax imposed by a government entity.

And bonds issued by the university or by the state, of course, would be paid off using taxpayer dollars.

If BSU is able to get away with this, it will represent an enormous step forward for the homosexual agenda. The obvious message to the public will be that transgenderism is the moral and legal equivalent of heterosexuality.

And this is a terrible message to send to the sexually confused – it legitimizes their twisted thinking about themselves and will make it much less likely that they will seek help for this serious disorder.

The bottom line is that if public dollars are going to be spent on the transgendered, they ought to be spent making therapy accessible to them so they can begin a journey back to sexual normalcy.

Rest assured that the last chapter in this sorry saga has yet to be written, and the IVA will work to see this plan to legitimize sexual confusion does not go unchallenged. This plan cannot and must not be allowed to stand. We will have more information for you as things develop.

Read Part II.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General, Taxes | 5 Comments »

Public Charter Schools: The Beginning of School Choice

April 21st, 2007 by Halli

I had a great honor today. I was asked to participate in the legally required lottery to fill openings for the 2007-2008 school year at Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School.

Wanting greater control over their children’s education, parents in the Bonneville School District 93 joined together to petition for a Harbor Method public charter school in 2004. The name for the new charter school was to be Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School (TCPCS).

Unfortunately the state’s original Harbor Method charter school in Nampa was under seige at the time by women called the “Nampa Mafia by Rep. Jack Barraclough, then chairman of the House education committee. The “Nampa Mafia” leveled a number of unsubstantiated charges at the method’s founder, Becky Stallcop, and generated a great deal of negative publicity for the very successful model. All charges were later found to be baseless, but in that climate some of that negativity naturally followed the District 93 parent group.

District 93 officials, with the exception of Wendy Horman, jerked around the TCPCS parent group until they took their petition to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, which sent them back to the school district. Although sending out positive messages, the District 93 school board ultimately voted to reject the charter. Superintendent Chuck Shackett revealed his envy and true agenda when he invited the parents to help start a Harbor Method traditional public school, but only if they dropped their petition for a new charter. They categorically refused.

District 93 even sent their representative, Gary Jones, to follow the TCPCS group back to the state commission, hoping for an opportunity to give negative testimony about their petition. Disappointed that he wasn’t called upon, Jones still maintained their petition was “flawed”.

The state commission didn’t see it that way, however, as they granted the TCPCS petition. The group met a few other deadlines to beat out other charter schools vying to be the last charter allowed to open in the fall of 2006, and Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School was about to become a reality! Their first year, 2006-2007, has been filled with success beyond even their wildest hopes. There have continued to be many hurtles for TCPCS, but each has been met with determination, grace and creativity.

One of the more unhappy surprises along the way was near-militant opposition by some neighbors of their preferred school site. Such unrestrained vitriol is usually reserved for the siting of porn shops, Wal-Marts and LDS temples. Objections were largely overcome, however, and TCPCS plans to start construction on a permanent building on the site just off Lincoln Road and north of Ammon sometime in the next year.

In the fall of 2007, TCPCS will offer grades K-9, as they expand a grade per year until a full K-12 program is available.

Again, I was honored to participate in the lottery that is required for all those not currently enrolled who wish to attend the next year. The lower grades typically have the greatest interest, and certainly the 70+ applicants for 24 slots in Kindergarten would bear that out. However, there was great interest even in the new 9th grade, which had only one opening. There are a number of students on that waiting list as well as for the other grades.

With its charter school law, Idaho has “let the genii out of the bottle” and public education will never be the same. As traditional public schools continue to change and improve to compete with charter schools for students, all of Idaho’s children will benefit.

As long as the state and school districts continue to force taxpayers to fund government education, parents should have the option of deciding where those dollars are spent. Greater school choice is the right direction for public education.

The next step is education tax credits for non-use of government schools.

There’s no time like the present for the Idaho Legislature to make the next move towards school choice.

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Posted in Education, Idaho Legislature, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: More on Supreme Court Ruling Upholding PBA Ban

April 20th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, of Idaho Values Alliance

Several excerpts from the Supreme Court ruling upholding Congress’ 2003 ban on partial birth abortion are worth noting. In Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, he expresses a view often expressed by pro-life groups: “The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed. It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.” We could not have said it better ourselves.

Also little noticed in the after-ruling discussion is this clear statement from the concurring opinion issued by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. “[T]he Court’s abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade … has no basis in the Constitution.” There is no question that the ground has been laid for a challenge to the fundamental premise of Roe v. Wade, and that the addition of one more principled originalist judge may be enough to overturn our generation’s version of the Dred Scot ruling.

In contrast, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed the principle problem with activist judges: they view their role as lawmakers rather than law-appliers. It’s clear that for Ginsburg, the issue is not whether the partial birth ban is constitutional, but whether it represents enlightened public policy. Thus she clearly views the court as a kind of super-legislature, which has the right to second-guess any public policy decisions the Justices don’t happen to like.

Her opinion, as one observer said, “reads like a feminist manifesto straight from the National Organization for Women.” For instance, she says the real issue here is “a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course.” For Ginsburg, this right to self-determination overrides any right to life that her baby might have. The big problem for Ginsburg is that the Constitution guarantees the right to life, but nowhere guarantees a right for women to do whatever they please, regardless of whose life might be snuffed out in their pursuit of self-determination.

She even goes so far as to say that Congress’ interest in protecting the life of a partially-born baby is “irrational.” But this way of approaching judicial rulings would obviously lead to a completely unpredictable judicial system, as it would grant license to any judge to set aside any law he doesn’t like simply on the grounds that the law doesn’t make sense to him.

Ginsburg’s view is that the majority ruling emanated from a mindset that “is no longer consistent with our understanding of the family, the individual, or the Constitution.” Note that for her, it is not the Constitution that has overarching legal authority, but our “understanding” of it. This is a recipe for judicial anarchy. And further, if her understanding of “the family” is different than Congress’s, well, too bad for Congress.

But in our system of government, it is the responsibility of the legislative branch to make public policy, and the only responsibility of judges is to apply that public policy fairly and evenhandedly in matters of legal dispute. They have no legal authority to overturn legislation simply because they don’t think it represents good public policy.

As I have mentioned before, the role of a judge is no different than the role of an umpire in baseball. An umpire has no prerogative to simply change the rules of baseball he doesn’t happen to like. It is his responsibility to take the rules that are made by others and apply them fairly and evenhandedly on the field of play.

If judges are convinced that their role is to make sure our laws represent sound public policy, then in good conscience they should resign from the bench and run for legislative office.

We can be grateful today that at least five of our nine Justices understood their role this week, and a tragedy that the other four did not.

Townhall.com::The Ginsburg Worldview::By David Limbaugh

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

School Violence: Will Your Family Be Next?

April 19th, 2007 by Halli

Chances are increasing that your family, immediate or extended, will be touched in some way by school violence. Whether it’s an attack on a teacher, a bomb threat, a stabbing in the hall between classes, or a shooting, most schools are seeing an up-tick in such occurrences, or at least the threat of violence.

Take my little granddaughter, Anna, for instance. She’s in the first grade in an unincorporated area of Arizona where her family lives. The area is experiencing explosive growth. Most of the area schools for the lower grades have Kindergarten through 8th grade. That’s quite an age span, but it usually doesn’t cause many problems.

Almost two weeks ago on Friday, April 6th, long before the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus, a bomb threat for April 20th was found scrawled on a wall of Anna’s school. (Note that the date coincides with the eighth anniversary of the Columbine shooting.) Since the weekend was upon them, school officials waited until Monday to send home a note warning of the event.

Of course, a number of parents were angry that they weren’t notified earlier, with the use of the school’s mass-phone-call system. However, most felt almost two weeks was sufficient warning.

Without knowing everything that has transpired as April 20th has approached, I can say that there has been a sharp increase in law enforcement activity at the school. Both the sheriff’s office and the state police have responded. Awards assemblies and similar events scheduled for that day have been postponed. Teachers anxious to know how and what to plan asked children in their classes to raise their hands if they were planning to attend Friday.

The new district superintendent held an open meeting in the library of Anna’s school to get acquainted with district patrons – and to answer questions about the bomb threat. Anna’s mother, my daughter-in-law, reported that the meeting was sparsely IBattended. However, she was interested to learn that the school janitorial staff was conducting sweeps of the entire school at the end of each day. When a parent questioned the custodians’ credentials for such an assignment, the superintendent responded that they were the ones most familiar with the school, with all its nooks and crannies, and would be the first to recognize anything out of the ordinary.

On Friday, April 20th, with law enforcement present, all entrances to the school will be locked except for two, through which all the children must pass as they arrive. Every bag and back pack will be thoroughly searched. Bomb-sniffing dogs will be present and the school day will proceed – not quite as normal – while the faculty, staff and parents hold their breath and pray nothing happens. But those are the adults, who know and understand that very few bomb threats have any substance to them. Of course, tit’s the students who are thoroughly traumatized.

Little Anna brought home the school note about the threat with as much interest as she usually regards such announcements from the principal – she threw it on the table with a wad of corrected papers and homework. It didn’t take her mother long to discover it, however, and though she was careful not to alarm Anna any more than necessary, Anna soon deduced that something scary was afoot.

When my daughter-in-law called her husband, my son, she was surprised at his strong reaction as he expressed anger that anyone would threaten not only a public school, but his own darling daughter.

At school the next day, there was talk of little else among the students. Anna is normally a confident, happy girl, but she has a worry-wart side to her sunny personality that kicked into high gear. It soon became apparent that Anna was not going to go to school willingly on April 20th. In order to avert an inevitable battle of wills and further traumatization for their terrified little girl, my son and his wife wisely decided to let her stay home and play with her younger siblings tomorrow.

In all likelihood, nothing at all will happen at this rural Arizona elementary school. But plenty of damage has been done without an actual explosion.

The perpetrator of the threat had no knowledge (I hope) of the coming Virginia Tech massacre, but that tragedy has done nothing to comfort parents, grandparents and friends of the students and staff at this school, who are watching, praying and assessing.

For the hundreds of children who attend the school, the bomb threat has meant shock and terror. They are not old enough to rationally process the situation (are any of us?) and may experience lasting effects such as nightmares, distrust of others and fear of school far into the future.

As the worried grandmother, I hope and pray that the school staff and law enforcement handle the situation for the best outcome. I hope little Anna is looking forward to honing her double Dutch jump rope skills at home tomorrow, and not focussed on events at the school. I hope her parents feel the calm that comes from doing all they can to protect her. I hope that on Monday school will return to normal without further interruption.

And I hope the perpetrator is discovered, appropriately punished, and removed forever from Arizona public schools.

My daughter-in-law expressed a sentiment that many of us are feeling: a desire to hide away her little family in a safe haven, far from any thing or any one who could harm them. Unfortunately, no such shelter exists, but we can do our best.

The first step is realizing that, ultimately, it isn’t schools, teachers, superintendents, the sheriff, babysitters or anyone else who will keep our children safe.

I feel as if I’m revealing a well-kept and guarded secret:
PARENTS HAVE THE PRIME RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROTECTING AND SAFEKEEPING THEIR CHILDREN.

Within the law, parents must do what it takes. I applaud my son and his wife for taking a stand.

If all parents would accept and act on that responsibility, a tiny bit of precious sanity would return to our world. All children would be safer.

And perhaps we would see less school violence.

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Posted in Politics in General, Second Amendment | No Comments »

Guest Post: Rep. Bill Sali Opinion – Congress Could Learn from Idaho

April 19th, 2007 by Halli

Representative Bill Sali

Recently I wrote about the danger of mixing funding for national security with pork spending. I discussed the details of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill to establish a timetable for troop withdraw from Iraq – the passage of which was purchased with votes of members demanding $20 Billion in unrelated federal spending. The money covered a whole assortment of interests, including peanut storage, shrimp fishing subsidies, spinach research and even schools in Idaho. I noted that the point of adding this $20 billion in funding for local projects was to sway reluctant lawmakers to back the troop withdraw timetable and to embarrass lawmakers who refused to go along. I was proven right when on “Meet the Press” U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was asked, “Why would the Democrats put that kind of money in such a serious bill?,” Rangel answered candidly, “Because they needed the votes.” How repulsive. How tragic.

I heard back from many constituents who share my concern and dismay over the Democrats’ tactics. I appreciated their words of encouragement.

But many also said this: While the Democrat leadership was wrong to lace such important legislation with pork, Republicans have been guilty of doing the same thing.

Sadly, the charges are true. Both parties have had a habit of stuffing funding for parochial items into controversial bills in order to garner support for contentious, and usually very partisan, legislation.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, in Idaho, our founding fathers provided a mechanism to defeat such a ploy. Our state Constitution requires a single subject for all legislation. In other words, in Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare budget cannot be used to impose some new gun control restriction on citizens of the state. And thank goodness it can’t!

Unfortunately, the federal process is not so restrictive. It is routine business for bad ideas to become law, simply because Members of Congress don’t want to vote against other provisions in the legislation that they and their constituents like.

Wrong is wrong. It makes no difference whether the wrong flows from Republicans or Democrats. We should oppose anything that damages the Republic, and we should be willing to do so even if the wrongdoers are members of our own party. For too many in Congress, what’s deemed good or bad has been determined solely by whether the idea was followed by an “R” or a “D.” That’s regrettable.

In 1774, Patrick Henry addressed the First Continental Congress. He said, “The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, New Englanders, are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.” Today, we’re more comfortable in Washington, D.C., making decisions based on who is proposing something rather than what is being proposed. The notion that Republicans are the only ones with good ideas, or that Democrats are the only ones with bad ideas, is as simplistic as it is childish.

Of course, I am a Republican for a reason: We embrace principles that will naturally generate good ideas. Historic Republican principles of liberty, national security, equal justice under law, personal responsibility and economic opportunity are, in my judgment, those that represent the best hope for American’s future.

Yet when my party errs, I’m not hesitant to say so. Loading-up distasteful legislation with political “goodies,” however desirable they might be, is a form of political bribery we – Democrats and Republicans – have to stop.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

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