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Richard Phenneger: Senate Candidate Too Good to be True?

January 31st, 2008 by Halli

I was contacted through this blog by a north Idaho businessman who has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Larry Craig.

Richard Phenneger has impressive credentials, which you are invited to check out at his website. It is hard for a conservative to argue with his positions on his self-defined issues. His life experience is impressive, with years in the military, commercial airlines, and now in business. His family, apparently, is sterling.

Is he too good to be true?

I am forced to answer “yes”. There are two flies in Richard Phenneger’s oatmeal, fruit-fly size as they may seem. Tucked away in the list of organizations to which he belongs are included the AARP and the Idaho Conservation League.

You remember the AARP, the organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons. (You weren’t aware they no longer feature “American” in their name? They are now simply the “AARP”, in order to be more inclusive.) This is the organization that proudly supports socialization of major portions of the US economy, higher taxes to provide more government care for seniors, and which “leads positive social change” (read: “give all your money to old folks”).

The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is a leading proponent of additional wilderness, locking Idahoans out of more of their state. The ICL invites you to become an “adoptive parent” of roadless forest, lobby against mining and other legal activities, and to help block the use of private property by curbing development.

OK, maybe these are horse flies in Phenneger’s oatmeal.

Perhaps he would answer as did then-candidate Mike Simpson, as he attempted to explain away his membership in the ACLU. “It’s the best way to find out what the enemy is up to”, he said, coyly.

I didn’t believe Simpson at the time, and I wouldn’t believe it from Phenneger, either.

There was also one “issue” that was prominent by its absence on the Phenneger webpage: abortion. Perhaps that was an oversight. If so, I hope he will soon set us all straight on his position regarding pre-born life.

After an examination of the Richard Phenneger campaign website, I find it quite impossible to support him. Something could happen to change my mind, but it doesn’t appear likely.

To coin a phrase, “voter beware”.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 8 Comments »

House Highlights, January 30

January 30th, 2008 by Halli

By Idaho State Representative Tom Loertscher

Every session of the Legislature takes on its unique character. What is out of the ordinary for this time around is that in the House after three full weeks there have been fewer than a dozen bills passed. That’s not a bad thing, just a little unusual. Those that have gone through so far are the ones that are annual updates, but not much of substance. If you listen to the talk and business behind the scenes that is about to change.

I find it helpful to talk to other legislators to see what they are thinking and try to get a feel for items they are involved with. For instance I was visiting with a couple of members of JFAC trying to see what they see for this up-coming budget.

One thing that deserves attention is that over the years the Legislature has put so many statutory requirements into our budget process, that it is beginning to come back to haunt us. If we do just those things that are mandated by our own laws, we need about a four percent growth rate just to maintain current levels of commitment. That number is without any increase for state employees or school teachers and also does not look at starting anything new. Auto pilot for airplanes is a good thing, but not for budgets. At least that is not how it works in the real world.

Another issue that is getting a lot of attention in conversations is a tax credit for conservation easements. The idea being floated is for land owners to sell their ability to development for a period of time or permanently as a means of maintaining open space. The State has never been involved in these before, at least on the funding end as it is being proposed this time. Now what was that about starting something new?

An issue that has not been talked about much by the media has been the naturopathic rules that are before the Health and Welfare Committees. These rules have been two years in the making and have caused a huge divide between two different groups of Naturopaths. Confusion has led to controversy and the Senate Committee has rejected the rules. I would have liked to have had a hearing in the House Committee, but that is not going to occur for the time being at least. Now what? My feeling is that these folks all need to be locked in a room until they produce results.

Two new election bills have been introduced in the House, one for permanent absentee status and the other is all out vote by mail at the discretion of County Commissioners. Both are vote by mail proposals, one that the voter chooses and the other Commissioners choose for the voters.

The House and Senate Education Committees spent four days this week going over School Superintendent Tom Luna’s ISTARS and the IEA We Teach proposals with passionate discussion from both sides, so I am told. From the tone of the conversations, neither idea has much chance of success this year.

As we now start week four it looks like we have been in the lull before the storm. It is interesting to me to see all of the hand wringing that goes on around this place. I have never been one to dread tough decisions. To me they are opportunities and challenges. It is never easy but is worth the effort.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Family Research Council Rates Idaho Delegation

January 30th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Senator Mike Crapo and Congressman Bill Sali both received 100% scores for 2007 from the Family Research Council. Sali’s score was based upon 16 key pro-family votes during the 1st Session of the 110th Congress.

Congressman Mike Simpson received an 81% from FRC because he only voted with the organization thirteen-of-sixteen times. They report that he missed three key votes, 2 of which involved attempts to undermine President Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy”. (This principle, first enacted by Reagan, prohibits the use of federal dollars from going to organizations that perform abortions in foreign countries; e.g., Planned Parenthood International.) Simpson also missed a vote on legislation which would guarantee that Christian organizations could access Head Start dollars.

The FRC Guide may also be misreporting Simpson’s opposition to the expansion of CHIP – the Children’s Health Insurance Program. They show both Sali and Simpson opposing this measure, which would use federal dollars to pay for abortions in some 17 states; our understanding is that Sali and Simpson have strong disagreements about this expansion and the impact on families and the nation’s moral health. if we’re correct, Simpson’s score should actually be 75%.

Senator Larry Craig received the lowest score in the delegation, 71%. He was dinged for missing two key votes on international funding of abortions.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Guest Post: Abortionist Remarks Demonstrate Condescending Attitude Toward Women

January 29th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

It takes a certain arrogance to defy the culture and fundamental moral precepts like, “Thou Shall Not Kill”. Such arrogance may best explain the stunning public remarks of Dr. Alberto Hodari to a group of students at Wayne State University last fall.

During the speech, Hodari discusses his abortion practice and the Detroit area abortionist laughingly tells his audience:

“My wife says we doctors have a license to lie, and it’s true. It’s absolutely true. Sometimes you need to lie to a patient about things they want to do or no.”

His remarks have sparked controversy since a video tape was released last week by “Students for Life of America”.

Over the long history of legalized abortion, thousands of women have reported that they were misled or manipulated by various players in the Abortion Industry into killing their baby. Lies like, “It is just a collection of cells” or “It is not really a baby” or “It will just take a few minutes and then your life will go back to normal” have been used to help pressure women and girls into disposing of their children.

This “just lay down and shut up” attitude seems all too common in the Abortion Industry – and denotes the lack of respect many seem to have toward women and girls in crisis.

And why is this guy even on campus in the first place?

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

Press Release: Sali Applauds Bush for Talking Tax Cuts and Fiscal Discipline, Hopes Congress will Follow Through

January 28th, 2008 by Halli


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali tonight applauded President Bush for highlighting the need to cut taxes and return to fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. Sali said Congress must now put an end to partisan bickering and start working to achieve the results demanded by the American people.

“President Bush is right on when he says the people’s trust in their government has been undermined. It’s been undermined by the abuse of congressional earmarks. It’s been undermined by partisan bickering, out of control spending, programs that don’t work, taxes that are too high and the failure to act on important matters like immigration reform,” Sali said.

“A smaller federal government leaves more money in the hands of its citizens, and that is what we need to keep America strong and vibrant,” said Sali. Sali, one of the leaders of efforts to reform Congress, was delighted to hear that the President is directing his agencies to ignore earmarks that were never fully vetted by Congress. Sali was also pleased to hear Bush mention the need for immigration reform, but wished the President had during the speech called for secure borders without amnesty for illegal aliens.

“Immigration reform without amnesty must be a priority in 2008. Americans are tired to waiting for secure borders. Many of our industries, especially agriculture, are tired of twisting in the wind waiting for Congress to approve a predictable system for temporary workers to enter this country legally. Now is the time for this failure to be corrected,” said Sali.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Don’t Fall for Superficiality of Identity Politics

January 28th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

While there are many criteria that can be employed in the process of selecting a candidate, there are some that are obviously superficial. They may include looks, bearing, the way they smile, or the way they talk. These are superficial because they have nothing to do with what the candidate has done, or what they believe and plans to do for or to our country.

Perhaps the most pernicious of all the superficial criteria is identity. Identity politics is officially defined as “political action to advance the interests of members of a group supposed to be oppressed by virtue of a shared and marginalized identity (such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.)

During election seasons, it manifests itself by voters associating with candidates based on identity. For example, women who feel compelled to vote for a female candidate, religious voters feeling the same compulsion to vote for someone of their faith, and blacks feeling the same motivation to vote for a candidate of like race. It’s a very natural thing to feel a sort of kinship with the candidate because of identity, but it also is very illogical.

What more shallow means of selecting a candidate can you think of than by their gender or race? Just because I’m a white male is no reason for me to vote for a candidate who is a while male. If a female or black candidate’s views and beliefs are closer to my own, it’s an affront to logic for me to vote for the white male whose views don’t match well with mine instead of the other candidate that more closely approximates my beliefs. Equally illogical is the prospect of a woman voting for a woman simply because they share a common gender. Even if it’s possible that by so doing history can be made.

The French had the opportunity to vote for a woman in last year’s election. Much to their credit, they instead voted for the man with a promise to repair their ailing socialized state. Even women voted more for the male candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, than for the female candidate, Segolene Royal, opting for substance rather than the shallow criteria of gender identity politics. This was especially perplexing to American media which seem to be locked in a stereotypical superficiality where women vote for women and blacks vote for blacks.

Religion is a little more understandable in the context of identity politics because of the shared values between the voter and the candidate, but even common values is not a guarantee of similar political views in practicality. One needs only to look at Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Harry Reid (D-NV), who are both LDS, or Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and John Kerry (D-MS) who are both Catholic, to realize that verity. They virtually cancel out each other’s vote on every issue brought before the U.S. Senate, their views are so disparate.

It seems appropriate that on the heels of our celebration of the life and contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. to apply the principles embedded in his most famous of speeches. As he declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

If we vote for someone because of the color of their skin, not only is that an illogical reason to vote for them, but we make judgments contrary to the ideals that Reverend King elucidated so clearly, that it should be based on the “content of their character.” The same applies to a vote based on gender, and even religion. For at the conclusion of his now immortal speech,Reverend King declared, “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

Identity politics can obfuscate in the mind of the individual voter the actual positions of the candidate. The feeling of kinship because of identity association can easily eclipse the political differences if the voter allows it to. The summom bonnum (or highest good) is to vote on principle, policy, competence, and previous performance and experience, rather than on identity. This is true for religious identity, as well, since we are not casting a vote for pastor, but for someone to represent us and our interests based on what we believe to be best for our country.

There seems also to be a byproduct to identity politics that is extremely pejorative. To those who are driven by identity politics, or a sense of political correctness, those of us who vote based on principle and ideology are ascribed as sexist (if we don’t vote for the female candidate), racist (if we don’t vote for the minority candidate), or bigoted (if we don’t vote for a candidate of a different religion). But again, this is a tactic employed by those driven by the superficiality of identity politics and political correctness with whom it’s more important to “feel good” about one’s vote for emotive reasons, rather than making a deductively logical decision based on ideology and character.

A campaign run on identity politics by default is a campaign based more on emotion than on issues, which does not say much for us as voters if we buy into it.

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Posted in Guest Posts | No Comments »

Guest Post: Blasphemy Nothing New to Abortion Movement…or Clergy

January 25th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Numerous pro-Life Christians from around the country have expressed outrage and repulsion at the antics of Planned Parenthood in Schenectady, New York this week.

The Times Union reported on a small group of clergy who concocted some sort of “blessing” ceremony of Planned Parenthood’s new abortion facility in the city. It was in part a celebration of Roe v. Wade, and partly a propaganda effort designed to further dull the nation’s conscience to the horrors of abortion.

The Reverend Larry Phillips of Schenectady’s Emmanuel-Friedens Church (United Church of Christ) led the pagan ceremony, declaring Planned Parenthood’s killing facility to be “sacred and holy” ground. He was joined by the Reverend Abby Norton-Levering, Rabbi Matt Cutler and the Reverend Bill Levering, senior pastor of the First Reformed Church.

Christians are rightly offended by such contempt for the Gospel, but we need to realize that this compromise with evil is nothing new to the American clergy. Planned Parenthood operative Linda Scharf is quoted as saying, “Clergy have long supported Planned Parenthood’s mission …. The clergy were instrumental in getting abortion services legalized in the United States and right here in Schenectady. I know a member of the clergy who was part of an underground who directed young women to safe abortions before Roe v. Wade.”

For those interested in learning more about Satan’s work among the nation’s ministers, we urge you to find a copy of Tom Davis’s Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances. He is an advocate of abortion and documents in his 2005 book the extent to which apostate clergy have helped legitimize the killing of God’s innocents. Here is a chilling excerpt which proves the truth of Ms. Scharf’s claim:

“…on May 22, 1967, the Reverend Howard Moody and twenty one other leading New York City clergy startled the nation when the New York Times ran a front-page story describing the formation of something called the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion. The service would help women find safe abortions in a nation where the procedure was illegal. It quickly grew into a nationwide network of nearly 1,500 ministers and rabbis.”

Such brazen activity puts even more pressure on legitimate, orthodox elders in the Christian and Jewish communities to defend God’s honor by engaging more vigorously in the fight to protect the most vulnerable among us.

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

Guest Post: Obama Bribes Feminist Vote with Innocent Lives

January 24th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

You have to admit it… the guy can deliver a great speech. The problem is that Obama is using his rhetorical skills, no doubt learned in black Baptist churches, to advocate abortion. We’ve commented before on the developing rift between the authentic civil rights advocates in the Democrat Party now coming to blows with those who have, rather successfully, stolen Martin Luther King and the tragic history of black Americans to justify abortion and every sexual perversion known to mankind. Whatever he thinks of that particular travesty, Obama seems to have no trouble advancing abortion-on-demand.

LifeNews.Com reports that Obama spoke at a Washington, DC rally of abortion fans, courting the feminist vote by pledging his heart to the protection of abortion:

“Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of abortion,” Obama told the crowd. “Roe v. Wade is about more than a woman’s right to choose – it is about equality.”

That last quip is pretty stunning, particularly coming from a black man making American history.

How does the killing of innocent children equalize anything or anyone? Many have argued that Martin Luther King would have been a pro-Life champion had he lived to see the Roe era; let us hope so, especially given the devastating effect easy abortion has had on the black community – but we’ll never know for sure.

What we can know is that Martin Luther King won the moral debate about race prejudice because he exposed the various lies prevalent then about human value. It was not necessary to elevate oneself by beating someone else down; in fact – such a strategy is self-defeating. And he also taught that blacks could not let their enemies, the small hearted, define their value.
But rather than pay homage to such wisdom, Obama proudly displays contempt for the value of human life to feed his ambitions. He little more than a co-conspirator in the destruction of America’s future.

And this is the person Boise Mayor Dave Beiter believes we should elect as President of the United States?

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | 1 Comment »

House Highlights – January 21

January 23rd, 2008 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher

If you are like I am, certain songs seem to get into my head and then it just keeps playing over and over. That is kind of what happened to me this week in the House, except it wasn’t music.

I had occasion to visit with Governor Otter at a reception this week and in passing I asked him if he was confident of his revenue projection numbers and asked given current circumstances if we should be cautious. He was not pleased with my inquiry and the reaction puzzled me.

What keeps replaying in my head is the last time (namely 2002) a budget was passed around this place that exceeded the revenue projection the way this current one does. We all know what the result of that was, higher taxes to cover our bad spending habits.

As a friend of mine keeps reminding me, the result of a mistake made one way is far different than the other. If more revenue comes in than estimated, and the budget is kept in line with that number we look like heroes. If we miss by overestimating and spending to that level it is disastrous. I favor erring on the side of caution, overall it is better for the taxpayer.

A little bill was brought to State Affairs by the Liquor Dispensary that would remove the prohibition on the sale of packaged liquor on election day. After being presented to the committee and a motion was called for, all of the members of the committee just looked at each other and finally with reluctance a member made the motion to introduce (print). The motion passed with very little enthusiasm.

Since then the restaurateurs’ lobby has discussed broadening the bill to include lifting the prohibition on sales at restaurants as well. The sales pitch is that the current law is outdated and we are losing a lot of revenue on the sales that day. Is anybody out there having that tune replay in their head besides me? We spend a lot of money every year on alcohol and substance abuse and then on the other hand we want to promote more sales. There is bound to be a lively committee discussion.

On the return to Boise from a fun filled weekend at home that included repairing a roof that had blown off a calving shed, I met and talked with a State Policeman at a refueling point. Our conversation went something like this.
Tom: “I’ll bet this was an easier week than last week.”
SP: “It sure was, not so many accidents and slide offs.”
I then introduced myself. “I admire the work you do, it is difficult and something I probably could not do.”
SP: “It has its moments, but I probably couldn’t do your work either.”
Tom: “You probably see some interesting things.”
SP: “I sure do and one of the more interesting things is the number of different excuses I get from people as to why they are speeding. The most frequent excuse is that they are about out of gas and are hurrying to get to a station. I stopped a young newly married couple the other day and clocked them doing about eighty nine. I said ‘Sir I have you at about 89 miles per hour.’ His reply was, ‘Yes, that is about right.’”

Proposals for transportation funding are about to hit here, one of which is to increase vehicle registration fees (another word for yearly car taxes) to raise money to pay off the GARVEE bonds. For the locals there are ideas floating around about local option taxing for roads as well. One of the more controversial proposals is to allow funding for mass transit financing that other sates are saying never is self sustaining. One Boise Legislator quipped that if that were to happen the roads would still be full between Boise and Caldwell and the trains would be empty.

And another message keeps popping into my mind. As it was said so well by another colleague, tongue in cheek of course. “Don’t worry, it’s only other people’s money.”

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | No Comments »

Guest Post: Repressive “Gay Rights” Bill Introduced in Idaho Legislature

January 22nd, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

A Republican senator, Tim Corder from Mountain Home, has introduced a bill in the Idaho legislature which represents a clear and present danger to religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and freedom of association.

Sen. Corder’s bill would punish any businessman with more than five employees if he takes an individual’s sexual orientation into account in either hiring or firing decisions.

Although an exemption is granted to “religious organizations,” it’s unclear which organizations qualify. The bill easily could be used to pressure Christian day care centers, Christian pre-schools, Christian schools, Christian summer camps, and Christian bookstores into hiring open homosexuals or face the threat of government-imposed punishment.

And what about a Christian, Jewish or Muslim businessman, whose religious tradition teaches him that homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s design for humanity, and has deeply held religious and moral convictions on the subject? He’s just plain out of luck, and will be forced to violate his own conscience in order to insulate himself from potentially devastating lawsuits.

The bill creates a scenario in which a practicing homosexual can apply for a job at a Christian bookstore, divulge during the interview that he is an active homosexual, and then dare the owner not to hire him. This bill is a trial lawyer’s dream and a nightmare for everyone else.

This bill will obviously infringe on the right of an employer to select a workforce of his own choosing. The state of Idaho will now be making employment decisions for him.

And what about the Boy Scouts of America, who only want to hire employees who are good role models for impressionable young boys?

This is a transparent effort on the part of the homosexual lobby to use the force of government to compel private employers to endorse homosexual behavior.

Thus the gay lobby is working to cram its twisted view of sexual morality down the throats of Idahoans, whether it agrees with their personal moral standards or not. This is certainly odd behavior coming from those who on other occasions loudly complain that you can’t legislate morality, and nobody should have the right to force their moral views on anyone else.

This bill also comes from the self-proclaimed paragons of tolerance. But where is the tolerance in this bill for an employer who finds homosexual behavior unacceptable on moral and religious grounds?

This clearly is a bill that is tyrannical and repressive, a threat to religious liberty, freedom of conscience and freedom of association, and a bill which should be throttled by the legislature as soon as possible.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | No Comments »

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