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Guest Post: Who’s Really Trying to Restrict Your Freedom

January 22nd, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

There are certain phrases and appellations that are wantonly thrown around in political discussions that become common and accepted. By frequent repetition, such phrases become accepted as truisms, whether they are true or not. I heard one such phrase, “Republicans and conservatives are all Nazi’s” in a discussion this last week and started pondering the verity of that statement. The implication, of course, is that conservatives seek to restrict our freedom and liberties.

The contexts within which that reference is typically used are threefold: 1) The Patriot Act (with its flaws) which is designed to protect us from terrorists; 2) The defense of constitutionally unprotected life in the womb; and 3) enforcement of law. These policies have little impact on individual freedom for most of us.

However, for comparative purposes, let’s examine what freedoms and liberties the other side of the political spectrum seeks to curtail, that does affect all of us in one way or another.

Perhaps at the top of the list is economic freedom. Their perspective is that government has more right to our earnings than we do, and we’re just greedy to want to hold onto it for the economic well-being of our families. As the great Nobel Laureate and economist Milton Friedman said, “political freedom is inextricably linked with economic freedom. The more the government takes from me financially, the less freedom I have.”

They do everything they can to restrict 2nd Amendment rights. It appears to me that they would prefer that no citizens could own fire arms of any kind.

They seek to restrict our religious freedom by limiting public religious expression.

In an interesting dichotomy, they are pro-choice on infanticide up until the time the infant is partially delivered, but they are adamantly anti-choice when it comes to vouchers for education. They don’t want us to have freedom of choice for our children’s education.

They refuse some children the freedom of choice to serve their country in the military by preventing military recruiters from visiting school and university campuses. Ostensibly it’s because of some arcane notion of political correctness about homosexuals serving in the military (which “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was introduced by one of their own, Bill Clinton) but their disdain of the military predates that policy implementation.

They even disallow our children from playing some games at school, like dodge ball, because it may hurt some children’s feelings because they are “eliminated” from the game.

They think it’s the government’s role to tell us what we can and can’t eat. Just last year, New York City, following Europe’s lead, outlawed the use of trans fats in any restaurants in the city. They now have the Trans Fats Secret Police raiding poor unsuspecting restaurants to see if they’re using the contraband in their cooking practices. Herein lies another interesting dichotomy, for isn’t the argument “it’s my body and I can do what I want with it” part of their standard abortion argument?

They also restrict our collective freedom from dependency on foreign oil by preventing us from harnessing our own natural resources. It’s okay that China can drill for oil less than 30 miles from our Southern Coast, but we can’t. And somehow the sacrosanct wilderness of Anwar is more important to preserve than producing as much oil domestically as we buy from Saudi Arabia. I guess they think it’s better to be beholden to the price machinations and political control of those radical Middle Eastern and South American countries.

And speaking of energy, they even restrict our freedom of what light bulbs we can use. By 2012, the 100 watt incandescent light bulb will join trans fats as contraband. In it’s place, we are to use the mercury laden fluorescent bulb, which, if you break one in your home, will require a HAZMAT team to clean up (at your expense) because of all that mercury in it.

They also seek to restrict what kind of vehicles we drive. With Congress’ efforts to push CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) standards higher and higher, we’ll all be driving shoe boxes with Briggs & Stratton engines before long. But to be politically correct, we all should drive a Prius.

They think we have too much freedom with the temperature levels in our homes, so California is leading the way by incorporating into all new homes the ability of the government to control home thermostats.

They also seek to restrict our freedom of speech. If they have a pet subject which by universal acceptance would acquiesce much of our income and freedom to the government, they just declare that “the debate is over.” Once they say that, we’re to all surrender to the global warming alarmists that would have us believe that by continuing to use those outlawed 100 watt bulbs and by turning up our thermostats by two degrees that we may cause calamitous global warming eighty years from now.

They also seek to restrict freedom of speech by re-imposing the “Fairness Doctrine,” that would literally put a muzzle on talk radio. That’s very important to them because that’s the only media form they don’t dominate.

They also don’t think it’s enough to punish criminals, they think criminals must be punished even more if they had hate in their hearts or prejudice against their victims. Beware the thought police!

In their misguided efforts for government to create a completely sterile cultural climate, they outlaw the use of certain words on university campuses. So they have the “word police” watching for illegal use of potentially offensive utterances.

The only thing that is consistent in all this is the “nanny state” notion that the government knows better than we do about how to conduct our lives, and we’re all ignorant fools who can’t think for ourselves and make choices for ourselves. To them the government has all the solutions and should be given control over every aspect of our lives.

Perhaps their intentions are good, but their actions are more important than their intentions. And their actions are whittling away more and more at our individual freedoms.

Now, you be the judge. Which group is more “Nazi-like?” Which wants to deprive us of more individual liberty? And if you still say the conservatives you’re not paying attention.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Guest Post: Planned Parenthood – Abortions Decline

January 21st, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood’s Alan Guttmacher Institute published a report yesterday claiming that the number of babies killed through abortion declined to 1.2 million in 2005 – the latest year for which full numbers across the country are available. That is down from a national high of 1.6 million babies in 1990.

In fact, it is the lowest death count since 1976.

Planned Parenthood spinmeisters immediately lurched to claim credit: “This study shows that prevention works, and that’s what we provide in our health centers every day,” says PP President Cecile Richards in a Yahoo News article published yesterday.

Pro-Life groups naturally contended that efforts to save babies during the past 35 years have had an effect: legislation, pro-Life pregnancy centers, prayer vigils and intensified promotion of abstinence programs during the past decade.

The Guttmacher study also found that the number of abortion providers declined from 2000 to 2005.

The 25% drop in the number of abortions represents a substantial drop in income for the Abortion Industry, led by Planned Parenthood. If the trends hold, they are losing some $190 million annually; which may explain why Planned Parenthood is pushing expansion of federal aid and the Morning After Pill with such desperation.

If the numbers are accurate, we have much for which to give thanks. The Lord has spared the lives of millions of babies over the last several years.

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

Guest Post: AUL Ranks Idaho 24th in Pro-Life Protections

January 21st, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Americans United for Life has just issued its ranking of the states according to the strength of protections for preborn children and other pro-Life laws. Idaho scores in the middle –at 24th.
Topping the list is Michigan, followed by Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Kansas and South Dakota.

At the other end: Montana (#40), Washington (#36), California (#49) and Oregon (#50).
Neighboring Utah came in just above Idaho at #23.

The results are not particularly surprising, given the slow progress we’ve made here pushing against the edicts of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Among the states in the nation’s most liberal circuit, Idaho scored second best behind Arizona (#21).

AUL specifically dinged Idaho for its failure to enact legislation banning human cloning and other unethical scientific research methods, an area which has received no legislative scrutiny.

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

House Highlights, January 14, 2008

January 16th, 2008 by Halli

House Highlights
By Tom Loertscher
In a lot of respects the opening of the 2008 session of the Idaho
Legislature is normal, but one thing is very different – our quarters.
It seems strange not to be in the capitol and this was a week of
adjusting to very much smaller working areas. In the House we are
stacked on top of each other on the floor with a balcony for twenty one
of the members. Committee rooms find us getting rather up close and
personal. Conspicuously lacking is a gallery for visitors to observe the
proceedings but provisions have been made for televising the sessions of
both chambers.

Out of necessity the State of the State Address was moved to the
auditorium at Boise State University. As Governor’s speeches go,
Governor Otter does not like to speak very long and he lived up to his
reputation of sounding conservative in a lot of ways. His budget
presentation contained a lot of new programs, and a lot of optimism
about the state’s economy. If the legislature were to approve
everything he outlined, it would result in an eleven percent increase in
the budget overall with a little over six percent of that ongoing,
requiring a long term commitment in the future. The red flag in all of
this is that the revenue projection for the same period is a little over
three percent. That would mean that if our economy were to slow even in
a minor way we would be in another budget crisis. I think you know what
happened the last time that occurred.

There were some positive things in the Governor’s remarks the most
noticeable one of which was his outlining a zero-based budget policy for
the future which in my view is something that is long overdue. This
process should bring transparency and accountability and new
efficiencies to agencies. Also in his budget request is a secure mental
health facility that is projected to cost seventy million dollars. I am
concerned about the cost, but it is also something that we have been
ignoring for a long time. Judges tell us that in the absence of this
kind of facility, they have little choice but to send the mentally ill
offenders to prison where they don’t get adequate treatment.

As is the case with every governor the budget picture he presented was
a sketch and he has left the details and filling in the colors to the
Legislature. I can guarantee that there are one hundred and five
different ways to finish the picture.

Bills in draft form are trickling into the committees on a variety of
subjects and we will be seeing those in the days ahead. Most of our time
these first few days is looking at agency rules. One of the more
controversial items this year is the rules for naturopaths that have
been two years in the making. Discussions in the Health and Welfare
Committee should prove to be lively.

Our new digs in the Old Ada County courthouse sort of remind of the
story about the philosopher that instructed a crowded family to bring
all of the barnyard animals into the house one at a time. Once inside,
they were told to take them out one at a time and when completed they
found they had lots of room. While it is not what we are used to by any
means, we already seem to be working the kinks out of our new
surroundings. More importantly there are kinks to work out of the
executive budget and I’m sure we’ll see some other controversy along
the way.

After the State of the State, reporters were swarming over the place
trying to get quotes from legislators about the speech. It reminded me
of calving season at home when a calf loses track of its mother and
starts bawling and the whole heard comes running. My reaction? I always
enjoy listening to Governor Otter, and this time was not a
disappointment, at least not the presentation. I do have concerns about
several items. Is a five percent increase in state employee and teacher
salaries the right number? Should we be putting some fifty million
dollars into opportunity scholarships at this time? Those are just a few
concerns, and decisions are never easy.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | No Comments »

Press Release: Clinton Cronies Target Bill Sali; Group Lies to Idaho Constituents About Energy Vote

January 15th, 2008 by Halli

From the office of Congressman Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cronies of former President Bill Clinton have decided to target Congressman Bill Sali by calling Idahoans and lying to them about Sali’s voting record. Clintonites form the backbone of the group calling itself “American Family Voices.” The group is among those making weekly calls to Idahoans and leaving phone messages with gross distortions about Sali’s voting record.

“In a way, I’m honored that the Clintons would target me. That shows I’m doing a good job in Congress fighting for lower taxes, cutting government and reforming the way business is done in Washington, D.C. It’s no wonder they don’t like me,” said Sali. “On the other hand, I don’t like the fact that this group is lying to Idahoans. The Clintons and their cronies made political careers by using dishonesty and nuanced wording to trick people. It’s a free country. It’s their right to say what they want. I just wish they would be truthful with people instead of resorting to the old Clinton tactic of parsing every word.”

In its phone message to Idahoans on Friday, American Family Voices charged that Sali “voted for a $13 billion Christmas present for the oil industry in the way of tax giveaways.” The message, as usual, gives no other details to help constituents know what legislation it is talking about, hoping to spark outrage.

Sali has never voted for a $13 billion “tax giveaway,” as the group charged. Sali did vote against the Energy Bill, an 822-page bill which passed Congress in December, because it will result in higher energy prices while doing nothing to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil. That bill raises taxes for oil companies (repealing tax breaks oil companies currently received). The bill also bans the use of incandescent light bulbs, places new mandates on appliances, which will result in costlier appliances and does nothing to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil.

American Family Voices’ leadership includes its president, Mike Lux, who is a former Clinton aide serving in several capacities during the Clinton presidency, Bernard Craighead, who worked on Clinton’s 1992 campaign, Joe Velasquez, who was a former deputy director for political affairs for Clinton, and David Wilhelm, who is a former Clinton campaign manager. Others involved in American Family Voices include Leo Hindery, Jr., who is an economic advisor to Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign and Democratic consultant Amy Pritchard and Victoria Duffy Hopper, a Los Angeles-based fundraiser, pro-abortion advocate and wife of actor Dennis Hopper.

Said Sali, “It is a sign of desperation that the operatives for politicians who have never had the popular support of Idahoans have been recruited to discredit me. If Bill Clinton would like to come to Idaho to run for office, I’ll be glad to take anyone’s wager on the likelihood of his success. Robocalls are, of course, made from a good safe distance.”

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

Will Idaho Schools Observe Religious Freedom Day?

January 14th, 2008 by Halli

Bet you never heard of it – but it comes up every January 16. It is Religious Freedom Day, and this year it comes complete with a presidential proclamation from President George Bush, and federal “Department of Education guidelines to school districts, urging administrators, teachers, students and parents to play a part”, according to

When your children come home this Wednesday, ask them what the know about Religious Freedom Day.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Further Evidence of Damage Done by “Sex Ed”

January 14th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

As a new legislative battle looms over the “Comprehensive Sex Ed” dogma, another study appears from England showing that such efforts are extraordinarily damaging to young people.
Despite a greatly expanded government program to provide sex education and birth control to young children in that nation – or perhaps because of it – the rate of Chlamydia infection has hit epidemic proportions. It is estimated that 1 in 10 children in that country are infected with the disease. This report follows an earlier one showing that teen pregnancy is also up.

“These figures are astounding, and show that we need to focus more on discouraging young teenagers from having intercourse too early. No only is underage sex illegal, it is unhealthy and dangerous…,” says Dr. Trevor Stammers, a London physician quoted in a story appearing on WorldNetDaily. (01.12.08).

But don’t expect such facts to discourage champions of the “Condom Gospel” ensconced in the Idaho Legislature. Just 3 years ago, the Idaho Senate passed legislation giving Planned Parenthood $15 million in additional state money to pay for more condoms and birth control pills for children. It was only a pitched battle in the Idaho House which stopped this attack on Idaho’s kids.

Look for Republicans like John Andreason, Chuck Coiner and Shawn Keogh to once again lead efforts this session to expand public subsidies for Planned Parenthood – an action which will place our children at even greater risk.

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

Guest Post: Idaho Legislature Beware – More Evidence Too Much Early Childhood Education is Harmful

January 11th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

As the education lobby ramps up for its annual push for universal pre-K in Idaho, it’s worth noting a Washington Policy Center white paper that indicates clearly that the educational effect of pre-K fades out over time – in most cases, by the end of third grade – and thus provides no long-lasting learning benefit to children.

Even full-day kindergarten, compared with half-day kindergarten, produces only short-term gains that erode virtually altogether in grades one through three.

In fact, social researchers are now recognizing that there are detrimental effects of too much institution-based care on the social and emotional development of very young children.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health discovered that sixth graders who had spent the most time in child care centers in their formative years showed comparatively more aggressive and disobedient behavior in school settings than their home-centered peers.

Stanford and Berkeley researchers found that children enrolled for 15-30 hours a week in institutionalized day care showed retarded social and emotional development, demonstrating aggression and a lack of impulse control.

Plus, too many hours in an institutional setting which requires too much rigidity and routine will prompt kids to begin to shut down emotionally which slows their cognitive growth and turns off their natural curiosity.

A RAND Corporation study suggests that developing the non-academic readiness skills of children, especially minority children, offers the best chance of raising overall achievement. Such skills include a child’s disposition toward learning, self-control, positive interaction with others, and avoidance of negative behaviors. All skills, it ought be noted, best learned at home.

Thus minority children may actually suffer the most from too much institutionalized care, which may further reduce their chances for academic success.

Full-day pre-K, according to RAND, actually hinders the development of these non-academic readiness skills, and thus contributes to an eventual achievement gap in both math and reading. Children who act out, have poor impulse control and are defiant are simply not in a good position to learn.

Even RAND suggests that it would be better to direct public policy efforts toward enhancing parental skills rather than pouring more money into full-day kindergarten or universal pre-K programs.

It makes better sense to resist expensive pre-K programs, which will inevitably lead to higher taxes which in turn will only pull more Moms out of the home and into the workforce. It’s best for Idaho’s children to keep taxes as low as possible to make it possible for as many Moms as possible to be in-home caregivers for their own children.

Research shows that a secure attachment to loving parents is critical for young children to fully develop their academic potential. Pulling three- and four- year old children away from their parents is not the best way to foster that kind of attachment.

Parents make the best early educators for their children, and are the ones to whom we should look to train their children in the kind of self-control and relationship behaviors that will make it possible for them to maximize their educational experience when the time comes for them to go off to school.

As the concluding section of the WPC paper puts it, “research shows that providing institutional universal preschool and full-day kindergarten will not help most children, and may actually suppress their normal social and emotional development.”

Further, “research indicates that success in early childhood learning depends first and foremost on family support, especially from parents, and not on institutional programs. Any public early education policy that does not build on a supportive home life for children is unlikely to succeed.”

Bottom line: If we truly want to do what is best “for the children,” we will resist efforts to push universal pre-K on the public and instead prefer policies that strengthen the family, which as a child development psychologist says, is “the most effective and economical system for fostering and sustaining (a) child’s development.”

Washington Policy Center . Reviewing the Research on Universal Preschool and All-Day Kindergarten

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | 2 Comments »

Constitutional Seminar Returns to Idaho Falls

January 11th, 2008 by Halli

A rare educational opportunity is coming to Idaho Falls. If you’re within driving distance, consider registering for a seminar on the US Constitution to be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at University Place in Idaho Falls. To register, visit the Title of Liberty website.

Earl Taylor, president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies will be the guest speaker. The seminar runs from 8am until 4:30pm, and the cost is $10 per person, or $30 per family, which includes an MP3 of Cleon Skousen’s “5000 Year Leap”. Bring a sack lunch, or order one for $5.

Download the seminar flyer here, or call 208.522.0108 and leave a message if you have questions. And bring the whole family!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Idaho Falls Issues, National Sovereignty | No Comments »

Guest Post: Bryan Fischer Takes Luna’s Great Idea One Step Further

January 10th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

State Superintendent Tom Luna supports a “dual enrollment” policy which would allow high school students to get a jump start on their college education while still enrolled in Idaho high schools.

Some version of this policy makes good educational and fiscal sense, and should be very attractive to Idaho families.

Idaho gives its “graduation test” (the ISAT) in the 10th grade. A student who passes the test as a sophomore has, according to Idaho standards, demonstrated his academic proficiency in the subjects we have decided every high school graduate must know.

It makes little sense, then, to strap such a student into his seat for another two years for more high school education when he has already passed what the education establishment calls the “high stakes” graduation exam.

We ought to allow high school students who have passed the ISAT to immediately start working either on a college degree or to begin pursuing a trade by entering a votech school or beginning an apprenticeship. The many distance learning tools available would enable college-bound students to continue living at home, if their families choose, in their 17th and 18th years.

Further, the $10,000 a year of taxpayer money that we spend educating each junior and senior could be made available as financial assistance for college or trade school. This creates the possibility that by the time today’s student graduates high school the same student in the high school of tomorrow could already have the first two years of college under his belt.

The state wouldn’t spend any more money on education under this proposal than it does now, and yet Idaho families would be left with just two years of undergraduate tuition to cover rather than four by the time their student turns 18.

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | 1 Comment »

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