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Press Release: Sali’s Tax Form Simplification Plan Passes House

April 15th, 2008 by Halli

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali’s bipartisan proposal to make tax forms and instructions available in plain, straightforward language passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The action comes just one day ahead of the April 15 deadline for most Americans to file federal income tax returns.

“Anyone still working today to wade through a jumble of tax forms and nonsensical instructions can appreciate the need to fix this broken system. Hopefully, by this time next year, the action we have taken today will result in some needed relief from the stress of tax filing season,” said Sali. “This is only the beginning of a broader effort to reform how the federal government – from Congress to agencies like the IRS – interacts with everyday Americans. Congress needs to be reformed. The tax code must be reformed. And the work that the federal government does shouldn’t be mysterious and unsolvable to citizens merely filing tax returns.”

Sali worked with Congressman Bruce Braley, an Iowa Democrat, to add an amendment to the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007, HR 3548.

“The Plain Language Act requires a simple change to business-as-usual that’ll make a big difference for anyone who’s ever filled out a tax return,” Rep Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) said. “It’s been a pleasure working with my friend and colleague Bill Sali on this important effort. This legislation shows what bipartisanship can accomplish when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good.”

Sali concurred saying, “No one enjoys paying taxes but at the very least, the forms should be readable and understandable to the average American. Americans should be able to tell quickly and easily, whether they’re paying too much or too little in taxes. It should not take an attorney to figure it out.

“It is imperative that Americans know just what is being asked of them, and that is why plain language in tax forms and instructions is so important,” Sali said on the House floor. “The Plain Language in Government Communications Act would enhance citizen access to government information and services by promoting the use of ‘plain language’ in government documents issued to the public.”

In addition, this bill states that the English language should be used when appropriate.

H.R. 3548 passed the House by a vote of 376 – 1. It will now be sent to the Senate for further action.

Sali is gaining recognition as a key leader of the movement to reform the way Congress does business. He spent 16 years in the Idaho Legislature, where the state Constitution requires laws be plainly worded and that technical terms are to be avoided.

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

Guest Post: “Change” Since 2006

April 15th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

A call for change makes an appealing slogan in the context of American politics. Especially when articulated with the benefit of modern teleprompter technology. Regardless of the grandiloquence of the speech and the rhetorical skills of the candidate, logic demands a step back from the polemics to analyze such pleas.

For example, about the time of the 2006 election, the Dow Industrial Average was near an all-time high and employees’ 401(k)’s had recovered dramatically from the 2002 lows. Unemployment was hovering near all-time lows at the 4.5% level.

Taxes were at 20 year lows, which led to record tax receipts at levels not seen even following the tax cuts of the Reagan era. That cash flow into the treasury precipitated by the Bush tax-cuts led to a reduction of the Federal deficit by more than 50% over predictions from just a year earlier.

Home valuations were up sharply, over 200% in some areas of the country in just about five years. And in spite of such dramatic real estate appreciation, inflation was hovering at near 20 year lows at under 2%.

At that time, consumer confidence stood at a multi-year high, and unleaded gasoline sold for an average of $2.19 per gallon.

The war on terror continued to protect the homeland. Who could have guessed after the attacks of 9/11 that we would not have had another major attack on American soil? Meanwhile, the incredible American military, with assistance from our intelligence agencies, has eliminated or taken into custody 95% of Al Queda’s global leadership, and several major terrorist attacks have been thwarted, including a planned attack involving 10 jumbo jets being exploded in mid-air over major American cities.

“Ground Zero” in the war on terror, Iraq, continued to draw jihadists from their hiding places throughout the Muslim world only to face extermination at the hands of Marines, rather than leaving them free to board planes and come to the states to wage war on us here.

Regrettably, since the 2006 mid-terms, we have already witnessed a great deal of “change.” Since that time consumer confidence has plummeted, the cost of gasoline has soared to over $3.00 per gallon, unemployment has spiked 10%, back up to 5%, American households have seen nearly $2 trillion in home equity and stock and mutual fund valuations evaporate,

What is often forgotten is the fact that Congress controls the purse strings of the country by establishing fiscal policy. The President makes suggestions, but the Congress has complete control over what’s approved and what is not. And the changes we’ve witnessed since the Democratic Congress reestablished control in 2006 have not been favorable.

Proposals by the two remaining Democratic candidates for President can only be expected to exacerbate an already deteriorating economic picture. Some of the deterioration we observe currently is due to cyclical factors, but some are structural due to the fiscal policy adopted by Congress.

Much of the increase in fuel costs is directly attributable to increased global demand, yet Congress still proves itself to be a lapdog of the environmental lobby that won’t allow us to access oil reserves on or near our own soil.

The tax cuts that spurred the economy over the past six years are being allowed by Congress to expire, which will add an additional tax burden of over $3,000 to the average American household.

Meanwhile the dollar has dropped another 10% against global currencies in part due to increased Federal spending by our profligate Congress.

There’s still no viable proposal by Congress to address the real cause of sub-prime mortgage meltdown, the seeds of which were planted in 1977 by President Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. Those provisions were strengthened by the Clinton administration in 1996 which were intended to prevent a nefarious lending practice known as “redlining,” but created the undesirable effect of encouraging banks to make loans to riskier customers. The sharp appreciation of real estate values simply created an environment ripe with potential abuse of liberal credit policy.

Consumer confidence will not likely rebound anytime soon as long as the economy is slowing. That will only be exacerbated further if tax-cuts are allowed to expire, more taxes are levied, more regulation implemented, and proposed nationalization of some sectors like health care find footing.

The Bush approach to the war on terror has not been pretty, but has succeeded thus far in protecting us. That is likely to deteriorate as well, as evidenced by Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to consider legislation extending our ability to track conversations between terrorists. Proposals for premature withdrawal from Iraq will only make our future security that much more precarious.

We’ve already experienced “change” since the 2006 mid-term elections, and it isn’t good. That type of change can be perpetuated and accelerated in November. Let’s hope the nation has enough sense to realize we don’t need any more of that kind of “change.”

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Warning to Parents – Education No Longer Primary at BS University; Right to Self -Protection Fiercely Opposed

April 14th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The President of BSU’s Faculty Senate, Dr. David Saunders, has just issued his Spring 2008 report, and it’s not encouraging if you are a parent looking for a quality and safe college education for your student.

To begin with, the Faculty Senate adopted two recommendations which will dilute the quality of education BSU offers, especially to its undergrads. The recommendations come in connection with the University’s move to become more of a research-centered school.

The first, dealing with “Faculty Tenure,” eliminates the policy “requiring evidence of outstanding performance in teaching” and weakens it to “meeting the college criteria,” whatever those are. Bottom line: BSU will now offer tenure to instructors who no longer have to demonstrate excellence in actually educating the students in their charge.

The second, dealing with “Faculty Promotion,” eliminates the policy that “teaching is the single most important role of faculty” at BSU and replaces that policy with one that says teaching merely plays “a critical role” in consideration for advancement. Bottom line: average-to-poor instructors will now be eligible for academic promotions at one of the state’s premiere institutions of higher education.

The Faculty Senate also took the time to declare that BSU must continue to be a gun-free zone, resolving unanimously that the “Administration is most vehemently urged” to oppose legislation that would permit adults with concealed weapons permits to carry on campus. Not just “urged,” you will note, but “vehemently urged.” And “using all resources available.”

Thus BSU’s faculty, in all its wisdom, has decided that only certain parts of the Constitution should be honored on campus. As with most on the left, the template among BSU faculty is simple: First Amendment, good (unless proponents of Intelligent Design try to use it), Second Amendment, bad.

Firearms are currently prohibited on the BSU campus, turning the student body into helpless shooting-gallery targets for the kind of deranged gunman who killed 32 students a Virginia Tech just a year ago. Guns, you will remember, were absolutely banned from the Virginia Tech campus, illustrating just how useless such bans are in preventing campus violence.

The “Resolution on SB 1381 – Concealed Weapons Law” says that “Faculty at Boise State University cannot be expected to academically evaluate students who carry weapons,” apparently afraid that the average student may demand a higher grade at gunpoint.

Nor can students “be expected to feel comfortable being instructed by Faculty if Faculty are in possession of firearms.” Apparently they worry that students will live in mortal fear that a professor will suddenly being firing at them randomly as they sit peacefully in his classroom.

Further, the resolution warns that allowing qualified students (concealed weapons permits are only issued to those over the age of 21) and professors to protect themselves will damage recruitment of both instructors and students. No, they wouldn’t want to be anywhere law-abiding citizens could defend themselves against violent attacks. Who would?

Visiting athletic teams, the resolution warns, may not want to play at BSU, apparently for fear they will be ambushed by gun-toting redneck students, and those who lecture on subjects “that are controversial in nature” may be intimidated into silence, in evident fear that a disgruntled student will blow them away if they say something the student happens to disagree with.

The reality is that the mere possibility that students or professors may in fact be in a position to defend themselves and others is the most powerful deterrent against homicidal behavior. (How many shootings take place in police stations?) Someone thinking about shooting the place up will simply have no idea who might be in a position to stop him in his tracks.

One of the questions on the Gem State Voter Guide will deal specifically with this issue, whether a candidate supports or opposes the right of adults with concealed carry permits to carry on Idaho’s college campuses.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Second Amendment | No Comments »

Guest Post: Governor Butch Otter Signs Bill into Law

April 11th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

It is an historic, if modest, step forward.We believe Idaho is the first state in the Union to specifically recognize the crime of abortion coercion. What makes this new law modest is the very narrow scope of proscribed behavior – largely physical assault or threats of physical assault designed to force a woman into choosing abortion. By definition, such action would only be criminal if the woman or girl wanted to keep her baby. That is part of what makes the law historic.

But the new law also provides for a civil right of action. A woman or girl wronged by a predator or abusive partner would not have to wait upon the mercies of some prosecuting attorney to seek justice – even after an abortion. In fact, the language of the law allows a woman to seek civil damages even if she doesn’t undergo an abortion. This is undoubtedly progress. And we thank Governor Otter for his support of this bill.

We also thank Rep. Bob Nonini- who labored with us for some two years to obtain basic protections for women wanting to keep their babies. Many other legislators, including Sen. Monty Pearce, Sen. Russ Fulcher, Rep. Lynn Luker, Sen. Bart Davis, Rep. Mike Moyle and Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney also played critical roles in advancing this legislation.

And thanks to you – the many pro-Lifers across Idaho who carried us, sustained us with prayer and made the phone calls necessary to a victory such as this.

But most of all, let’s give thanks to the Lord whose battle this is.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | 2 Comments »

House Highlights – Session Wrap-up

April 9th, 2008 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher

As I have read some of the media reports of what occurred during the last three months in Boise, I wondered if I had been in the same place. No two observers are going to agree on what was accomplished let alone the 105 members of the two bodies.

Some interesting differences from other sessions are quite notable. Budgets this year were set at less than half of the increase that was desired by the Governor. That’s a good thing especially given that our revenues are flat or declining. April is a pivotal month for tax collections and what happens on the fifteenth of this month will be a good predictor of how wisely the budget was set.

For the first time in memory, the legislature did not have a “Christmas Tree” bill. Usually there is a bill that has a little bit of something for everybody to “Take home the bacon.” Even though there was some one time money appropriated, it was done on needs rather than wants.

Another bit of good news is that the Grocery Tax Credit was increased for the first time in a very long time and will go up each year until it reaches one hundred dollars. The right way to handle grocery sales tax is to reduce it or eliminate it altogether. That idea never seems to get passed the legislature let alone the Governor.

Some reduction in the personal property tax is on the way but will happen only when state revenues exceed five percent growth. That definitely won’t happen this year and probably not next year either. The biggest problem with this tax is that over the years we have allowed too many things to be classified as personal property that in reality should be real property. I rather suspect that this little item will be revisited.

Another first this year was the way the session ended. Legislation was being worked on until the last hour of the last day. Customarily, there is a lot of waiting the last couple of days of the season for things to travel between the two bodies and the governor’s office. The State Affairs Committee in the House for example was still working on legislation in the final few hours.

One big disappointment was a compromise worked out on a constitutional amendment that failed in the Senate by one vote. That measure was to make sure that publicly owned
hospitals could finance facility construction and cities with power generating facilities could enter into long term contracts for electricity.

It was a history making affair this year in that it was the first session of the legislature ever to meet outside of the State Capital. For as cramped as the quarters were, the mood in the old courthouse was good for the most part. We had our moments for sure but not what had been predicted. Also of note is that in the House at least, we were able to get it done with seven fewer staff than previously. Why? There just was no room. We adapted well to our temporary quarters. We did the serious business of the state without taking ourselves too seriously. That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Press Release: House Passes Sali’s Proposal to Protect Idaho Firefighters and Residents

April 8th, 2008 by Halli

From the office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved Congressman Bill Sali’s efforts to protect firefighters who put their lives on the line for communities at risk of wildfires.

The House unanimously approved Sali’s amendment to promote firefighter safety. The amendment will improve firefighter safety by allowing the administrator of United States Fire Administration to develop and distribute information on the importance of clearing biomass from federal lands. Sali’s amendment to H.R. 4847 would facilitate the exchange of information and training between the federal agencies regarding the importance of clearing hazardous fuels from forests. The bill passed the House unanimously.

“We are fast approaching what many predict to be another deadly and costly fire season. In fact, nearly one quarter of firefighter deaths in 2006 occurred when fighting brush, grass or wildland fires. The tools provided by my amendment are vital and we must provide our federal employees all they need to keep our communities- and themselves- safe from catastrophic wildfires.

“Idaho is all too familiar with wildfire. In 2007, nearly two million acres of land burned in Idaho due to forest fires,” Sali told the House. “The way land managers apply the fuel reduction program will have the greatest impact on the safety of wildland firefighters in Idaho’s communities.”

Sali is actively working on other legislation to protect Idaho communities from wildfires. Sali introduced H.R 4245 last year, a bill that would speed up projects to reduce hazardous fuels and reduce risks from wildfire, insect damage, and disease. Such projects help protect communities and private lands adjoining federal forest lands by reducing the risks on those lands.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Property Rights | No Comments »

Guest Post: Capitalism vs. the Democratic Candidates

April 8th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Ideologically, Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama are hardly distinguishable. But what they are promising to do if elected president should shock the sensibilities of any freedom loving and tax-paying American.

With slight variations on similar themes, they advocate nationalizing the nation’s healthcare system (nearly one fifth of the economy), and nationalizing the oil companies by absconding with their profits. They denounce successful American enterprises like WalMart even though they do more good for the average pocketbook than the government does (I think they’re jealous). Their solutions call for more centralized control by the government that, due to the profligate spending of Congress, can’t balance its own checkbook.

Before we consider seriously these socialistic campaign promises, we need to think through the philosophy of the capitalistic system they so vocally and vehemently denounce.

The market economy has created unfathomable prosperity and decade by decade, century by century miraculous feats of innovation, production, distribution, and social coordination. We owe all material prosperity, all leisure time, our health and longevity, our growing population, and nearly everything we call life itself to the free market. Capitalism alone has rescued the human race from degrading poverty, rampant sickness, and early death.

The thousands of diseases that are now treatable and survivable are vanquished because of the tenets of capitalism that rewards successful research with financial success, which in turn is used as the capital to find even more solutions to human ailments. Yet Clinton and Obama denounce “big pharma” for their profits, and employ a class-envy populist rhetoric to garner support among the gullible, uneducated, and financially illiterate.

They do the same with “big oil,” denouncing them for their profits (approximately eight cents per gallon), while we pay increasingly higher prices for a commodity they have contributed to be as high priced as it is. Oil is the fuel of capitalism, providing distribution of goods and services, and personal freedom unfathomable just a couple of generations ago, and we can’t even access the oil that U.S. companies have a claim to. China and Mexico can access the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, but we can’t because Clinton, Obama, and those of like mind won’t allow us to tap our own resources, including the Anwar oil fields in Alaska. If they really cared so much about the high price of oil, they’d allow us to access what we have in our own backyard. Global demand is only going to increase, as India and China’s demand is increasing by double-digits every year now. Supply needs to increase to meet those demands, yet Obama and Clinton tie our hands preventing the increase of supply.

And speaking of oil, our two biggest suppliers are Canada and Mexico, and yet Obama is threatening to revisit and renegotiate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that facilitates trade with those countries, unencumbered by tariffs. What do you think that will do to the price of gasoline in the States?

I just had to laugh when a columnist earlier in the week said of the economy, “And as usual, the Democratic candidates have better ideas on the subject than the Republican candidate does. At the very least, Obama and Hillary are trying to come up with workable solutions.” The aforementioned proposals display at best, an economic naïveté, but at worst, spell destruction of certain elements of our capitalistic system. Their proposals for increased spending by the Federal government of nearly a trillion dollars, combined with their plans for “big pharma” and “big oil,” creates an unstable and uncertain future for the American economy that currently falters on the edge of a possible recession, but with Clinton’s or Obama’s recommendations, collapses under the weight of a Federal government that may never recover. Come to think about it, their proposals would increase Federal spending by about the same percentage as what two of our commissioners increased Bannock County spending this year. If they’re not all related, at least their detached-from-reality ideology of bigger and more expensive government is.

And how do Obama and Clinton propose financing that big of a spending increase? Bingo! More taxes! This would be humorous if it weren’t so frightening. They both voted for the stimulus package which returns $800 to $1,600 to each household this summer to stimulate the economy, so they obviously have at least a modicum of understanding that the consumer drives the economy. But the consumer can only drive the economy if he has the money to spend. Combine their proposals of increased income taxes, and increased capital gains taxes, and we all have less to spend, which means the economy under their direction would decline precipitously for years.

The solution to an economy that is slowing is never to increase the size of government, or taxes, or nationalizing or penalizing the great industries that make ours the economic envy of the world. If the economy matters to you, neither Obama nor Clinton will be your candidate.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

From the Pen of Rep. Bill Sali: Spending, tax increases push Tax Freedom Day to April 23

April 8th, 2008 by Halli

By Congressman Bill Sali

As you sit down to beat the April 15th deadline for filing your tax returns, consider this: In 1900, most Americans only had to work until January 22nd to fully meet all of their tax obligations to the federal, state and local governments. At that time the tax burden – the percentage of your income needed to pay your taxes – was just 6 percent. Imagine how much easier your life would be today if you were done working for the government by the end of January. Imagine how much more robust our economy would be. Today most family budgets are stretched too thin and moms and dads are working overtime – or a second job – just to put food on the table. Imagine how much our quality of life would improve if government taxed us less and we had more time and money to spend on our families.

But, alas, today ““Tax Freedom Day” for most Americans doesn’t come until April 23. Think about that! The deadline to fill out your tax forms comes and goes, yet you’re still working for the government, not for yourself, your business or your family. Fully a third of your income goes to pay the taxes you owe the government. (Burdensome government regulations actually take it up to one half, but that’s another discussion).

Government has demonstrated an insatiable appetite and propensity to grow. Almost every week in Congress, I am asked to vote to create new programs and expand existing ones. I normally vote “no”.

Just to pay for existing programs is obligating us, our children and grandchildren into oblivion. Americans just can’t afford any more. And besides, Congress is not being careful enough with your hard-earned tax dollars. There has been a lack of will to stop the abuse of earmarks.

The majority in Congress appears to think that no matter how hard you are working today, you need to work harder. The Democrat budget blueprint for this year is a clear plan to raise taxes on just about everything and everyone imaginable. In fact, for almost every problem, the Democrats’ answer is a tax increase. And, it’s not just a few small increases.

The Democrats’ plan – passed just last month – would raise taxes by $683 billion in the next five years. That’s the biggest tax increase in American history. It includes higher taxes on married couples and small businesses. Their plan also includes no permanent fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax that threatens unsuspecting middle income Americans to the tune of $70 billion in new taxes.

And on the horizon are even more tax increases if Congress fails to act. Higher income tax rates and higher capital gains taxes will hit virtually everyone. Higher dividend taxes will hit every investor. The death tax will be back, as will the marriage tax penalty. The tax credit for every child will be cut in half. All of these tax increases will have a very negative impact on our economy and on our families and businesses.

Congress must recognize that Americans are taxed too much. Rather than focus the attention on creating new government programs and dreaming up new ways to spend your money, Congress should set about eliminating programs and stop doing things that the federal government was never intended to do – and at which it rarely does a good job. Congress must make a priority of finding ways to lower the tax burden on Americans instead of increasing it. If we don’t, Tax Freedom Day will soon be delayed until May or June, and we’ll reminisce about the “good old days” when our tax debts were paid in full by April. Let’s hope and pray that never happens.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Press Release: Sali, USDA-RD Announce Plans to Improve Dworshak Recreation Opportunities

April 8th, 2008 by Halli

From the office of Rep. Bill Sali

OROFINO, Idaho – One of Idaho’s favorite recreation areas would be expanded under plans announced today by USDA Rural Development, Congressman Bill Sali and officials from the State of Idaho and Clearwater County. The popular Big Eddy Marina and campgrounds at Dworshak Reservoir near Orofino are receiving a $25,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development. The money will accompany other state grants and help pay for studies and improvements at the reservoir that include expanded capacity for large boat moorage.

“It’s always exciting when projects build on each other,” said Mike Field, USDA Rural Development State Director in Idaho. “The feasibility study outlined some steps that would encourage economic development in the area and now we can help accomplish those goals.” The project has also been awarded a Gem Community Grant from the state.

Congressman Bill Sali said, “Dworshak Reservoir is already one of Idaho’s most valuable recreation assets, a true Idaho gem, providing a stellar opportunity for family outings, boating, hunting, fishing and camping. The improvements planned for Dworshak will add to the region’s grandeur and economic potential.”

The Dworshak Development Team has identified a wave attenuator as the first priority for an expansion at the Big Eddy Marina. The improvements will allow for larger boat storage and for expansion of the marina overall, which could bring new business and tourism to the area. The attenuator serves as a breaker wall to limit the strength of waves in the marina.

“We’ve been working at this for three years and with the funds from USDA Rural Development and from the Idaho Department of Commerce, we’ll be taking a big step forward with development on Dworshak,” said Chris Kuykendall of Clearwater County Economic Development.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali | No Comments »

Guest Post: Why the Left Loves Castro, Guevara and Chavez

April 1st, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Those we look to as heroes speaks volumes about whom we are, and our character. Most of us identify heroes who exhibit qualities of character that we admire and we desire to emulate ourselves. Such character is manifest by actions, and what our heroes do to deserve such respect and veneration.

The recent passing of the dictatorial baton in Cuba from Fidel Castro to his equally totalitarian brother Raul provides a case study in hero worship. Fidel was the revolutionary who deposed Cuba’s corrupt dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Yet Castro became much worse than the ruler he led a revolution against, torturing and executing more than five times as many Cubans as his predecessor. He nationalized business interests in the country, abolished freedom of religion, took over the media, erased free speech, and turned the tropical island into a totalitarian “paradise” stripped of human rights and freedom. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Cuba trails only China in the number of journalists and reporters behind bars.

Political prisoners are beaten, starved, denied that acclaimed Cuban medical care, locked in solitary confinement, and forced into slave labor. Castro long ago eliminated due process of law, and the right to leave the country.

Freedom House, the international human rights watchdog, rates Cuba with the lowest possible rating for civil liberties and political rights. It shares that inauspicious ranking with North Korea and Sudan as the most repressive regimes.

In short, under Castro, a once-flourishing island paradise has been transformed into a poverty-stricken, desolate hellhole where basic human liberties do not exist.

In spite of all this, American media and the Hollywood left heaps praise and adulation on Fidel. Norman Mailer, for example, proclaimed him “the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second World War.” Oliver Stone has called him “one of the earth’s wisest people, one of the people we should consult.”

The paragon of objective documentarians, Michael Moore, holds up Castro’s health care system as the preeminent example. I guess if you don’t mind being stripped of all liberties and can survive the firing squads, the Cubans have something to look forward to.

Why is it that to the left a ruthless mass-murderer and totalitarian dictator would be so adored and worthy of emulation?

For that matter, why is Castro’s primary executioner of the revolution, Che Guevara, still lionized by the left? Even today, kids wear t-shirts with his gnarly image emblazoned on them. Even Angelina Jolie has a Che tattoo, which is immensely ironic considering she travels the world denouncing violence as a U.N. ambassador of good will.

Che longed to destroy New York City with nuclear missiles. He promoted book burning and signed death warrants for authors who disagreed with him. His racism against blacks makes Jeremiah Wright’s racism against whites pale by comparison, yet he’s a hero to Jesse Jackson. He persecuted homosexuals, long-haired rock and rollers, and church-goers. Daniel James writes that Che himself admitted to ordering “several thousand” executions during the first few years of the Castro regime. He carried out Castro-ordered executions on a more expansive scale per capita than Hitler’s Nazi Germany did, prior to implementation of the Final Solution.

We can even lump Hugo Chavez into the mix, for he is well on his way to doing to Venezuela what Castro did to Cuba, and he is receiving the characteristic leftist praise for it.

When analyzed logically, the left in America should hate Guevara, Castro, and Chavez. After all, they did all the things they accuse George Bush of doing: torture, capital punishment, imprisonment without due process, elimination of freedom of speech and the press. They’re probably fine with the elimination of freedom of religion.

So why is he so adored by them? What is it about Guevara, Castro, and Chavez that captures the left’s imagination like none other?

There are two possibilities. All three revolutionaries hate, or hated in the case of Guevara, the United States. In 1957, Castro wrote in a letter, “War against the United States is my true destiny. When this war’s over [the revolution], I’ll start that much bigger and wider war.” Maybe the reason the radical left loves those murderous dictators and Castro’s executioner is because they share a disdain for this country.

The other possibility is that the left more frequently judges people for their intent than their actual accomplishments. The current presidential campaign illustrates this aptly, as Clinton’s “experience” seems to have no match for Obama’s “hope.” It doesn’t matter that neither one has really accomplished anything of substance, it’s their intent that matters most.

We are left to conclude that the radical left is totally ignorant of history, and devoid of logic, or their mutual contempt of the United States trumps all else.

Apparently the Obama campaign is attracting that type of ideologue. When his campaign office was opened in Houston before the Texas primary, the volunteer director had a Cuban flag with the image of the Communist mass murderer Che Guevara’s face printed on it. I can only pray that that’s not an omen. And next time you see someone with a Che shirt on, ask them why. Their answer may be illuminating.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | 2 Comments »

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