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Guest Post: Idaho Families Narrowly Escape Judicial Disaster

May 31st, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

The very close win by Justice Horton on Tuesday represents a narrow escape for Idaho families.

We need only watch the evening news to see the disaster being constructed by judicial revolutionaries in California and New York to realize the magnitude of trouble committed liberals on the bench can bring to quiet, unsuspecting villages.

John Bradbury, a closet liberal, nearly pulled off a startling upset.

His television ads were brilliantly manipulative. He plugged into conservative anger over the manipulation by Idaho’s elites of the judicial election process. Bradbury hoped to focus conservative anger at Horton – a beneficiary of the appointment game that has been out of control for several years now. And it almost worked.

With over 149,000 votes cast on Tuesday, Bradbury lost by just 196 votes.

He would be getting ready for a pretty new robe if it weren’t for the diligence of our friend, Pastor Bryan Fischer, at the Idaho Values Alliance. We have partnered with him for several years on the Gem State Voter Guide – and it was Bradbury’s answers to this year’s survey which provided the dimmest insight into exactly how Judge Bradbury would reign from the Supreme Court.

While there were very limited resources to get the word out about Bradbury, the fact is enough conservatives learned that he was hard-core judicial activist from the Voter Guide to make good our narrow escape.

This situation puts a focus on how essential the Voter Guide project is, and to the need for meaningful reform of our judicial election process. Idaho’s legislative leaders must pay greater attention to this problem in coming sessions.

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

Press Release: ATF Acknowledges Inconsistent Story, Offers Apology to Sali and Provices Clarification

May 29th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan today apologized to Congressman Bill Sali and confirmed the agency reported inconsistent versions and details of a program giving agents engraved Leatherman tool kits.

“I apologize for the confusion caused to you and your office as a result of the email sent from ATF. … The information in that email was inaccurate,” wrote Sullivan.

“I was pleased to receive this letter with its acknowledgement of the ATF’s responsibility for the confusing information released within the past two weeks,” Sali said. “My constituents deserve to know the truth about this marketing program, which has been interpreted by many Idahoans as anti-gun and anti-private property.”

The “Always Think Forfeiture” training program urges agents to focus on the seizure of private property.

“The fact remains that the ATF thought it was OK to think ‘Always Think Forfeiture’ instead of focusing on protecting our constitutional rights. While I appreciate Mr. Sullivan’s apology and clarification, I will continue to monitor the actions of federal agencies and insist that they ‘Always Think Freedom’ going forward,” said Sali.

The Associated Press reported on May 16, 2008, “None of the engraved tools, stored in the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., have so far been distributed.” However, Mr. Sullivan clarified in his letter that over a two month period, “a total of 242 Leatherman mini-tools were distributed at various training classes and seminars.”

Although the program has been halted, and because ATF said the program complies with U.S. Department of Justice guidelines and federal law, Sali will soon introduce legislation that will prevent the ATF from distributing similarly engraved tools.

A copy of the letter is available upon request.

Previous post on this subject links here.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Time for a New Chairman of the Idaho GOP?

May 29th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The fitness of Kirk Sullivan to continue as the chairman of the Idaho Republican Party has again been called into question by late-breaking developments in the primary campaign for legislative seats in District 21.

These races featured conservative incumbent legislators – Sen. Russ Fulcher, Rep. Cliff Bayer, and Rep. John Vander Woude – facing off against challengers Steve Ricks, Jefferson West, and Richard Jarvis. The same troika of challengers spent $2,000 on an Idaho Statesman ad attacking Idaho Chooses Life for endorsing the incumbents, falsely accusing ICL’s Executive Director, David Ripley, of implying that they hold pro-abortion views.

Last week, a form letter, written on official party letterhead, was mailed widely in District 21, arriving in mailboxes on Wednesday or Thursday, and giving the distinct impression that the Republican Party had officially endorsed the challengers in those hotly contested races.

No less than three times the incumbents are smeared as members of the “good old boy” network and the reader is bludgeoned no less than nine times – nine! – with the phrase “special interests” to imply that it was the party’s official position that Fulcher, Bayer and Vander Woude are in the bag for powerful lobbyists.

Although each letter was identical in content, different committeemen signed them, apparently sending the letters to party members in their own precincts, thus giving the impression that they had written the letter themselves. According to the note at the bottom of each letter, the mailing was “gladly paid (for) by the Ricks for Senator Committee.”

Sullivan was immediately contacted by concerned party members, and by candidates whose fortunes would be directly affected by the false impression created by the letter. However, Sullivan failed to return phone calls for four days, and then weakly promised only that he would look into the matter. (An IVA phone call to Sullivan’s office yesterday was not returned.)

According to one source, Sullivan claimed on Saturday that he did not know how to get hold of Mr. Ricks, even though his home and work numbers were accessible in seconds via the internet. By then, of course, it was too late to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

Tuesday evening, Sullivan made vague noises about initiating legal action against those who misrepresented the party by sending the letter, but the threat appears to be empty and toothless saber rattling on his part.

Contrast this with Mr. Sullivan’s actions 2 ½ years ago, when a similar missive had left some with the impression that the party was endorsing Brandi Swindell in her run for a seat on the Boise City Council. He wasted no time in issuing a public clarification, distancing the Party from Ms. Swindell’s campaign so fast it’d give you a nose bleed.

Yet in this case, he dithered around for four days and then did nothing, despite the fact that the false impression created by the letter was likely to have a material impact on a campaign.

While Fulcher and Bayer survived their primary challenges, Sullivan’s failure to take decisive clarifying action likely cost John Vander Woude his seat in the legislature. Vander Woude lost his race against Jarvis by a scant 55 votes, and it is entirely possible that enough primary voters were influenced by the deceptive nature of the letter into thinking that Vander Woude was being officially opposed by his own party.

If only 28 voters changed their minds about Vander Woude based on the letter, that would have been enough to deny him a seat that should rightfully be his.

Add to this that any number of Democrats, crossing over to vote against Bill Sali (the runner-up in that race, Matt Salisbury, got an astonishing 8,000 votes more than Walt Minnick) may well have decided to create mischief in other races as long as they were meddling with the GOP ballot.

Vander Woude had a solid voting record as a pro-life, pro-family conservative during his one term in office, and thus this underhanded tactic has likely deprived Idaho families of a consistent and dependable voice and vote on social issues.

Sali’s race makes it abundantly clear that it is harmful to the prospects of conservative Republicans for the party to hold open primaries. The rank-and-file members of the GOP recognize this, and have forced the party establishment to move toward closed primaries whether they want to or not.

Sullivan has fought the grassroots on the primary issue every step of the way, and the results from District 21, ending in the unseating of a social conservative, will only foment further unrest among the already agitated GOP grassroots.

Word on the street is that the Central Committee in Twin Falls cast a unanimous no-confidence vote in Sullivan’s leadership and similar no-confidence votes are scheduled for or have already been held in Cassia and Minidoka counties, among others. The floor seems to be falling out from under the current chairman.

Sullivan will face a challenge for party chairmanship at the state convention next month, and this District 21 debacle is certainly not going to help his chances. The party elites have rallied around Sullivan, and have used heavy-handed pressure in a number of ways to boost his chances of re-election.

But the natives are restless, and the current alternative, Rod Beck, who is leading the charge to close the GOP primaries, has repeatedly locked horns with the party elites over the issue and would be the establishment’s worst nightmare.

One possible outcome? The party elites, seeing the handwriting on the wall, may ask Sullivan to step aside and appeal to Norm Semanko to step forward as a compromise candidate. Beck is prepared to support Semanko’s bid for the post, but Semanko, out of a concern for party unity, has put his plans to run for the chairmanship on hold.

Semanko is universally well-liked, and if the party is looking for a unifier in the wake of unhappiness with Sullivan’s leadership, Semanko may be just the man for the job.

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

Guest Post: Idaho Statesman Article on Mexican ID Cards Validates Sali’s Concerns

May 27th, 2008 by Halli

By Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

All Idahoans who care about the rule of law and the preservation of the cultural unity of the United States have valid reasons for concern as the Mexican government proceeds with its plan to open a Mexican consulate in the state capitol.

The first line in an Idaho Statesman story on the matter says quite frankly that “one of the services it will offer is identification for Mexican citizens living in the U.S., whether they’re in this country legally or not.”

In other words, the Statesman’s writer is acknowledging in the first line of the piece that the Mexican government is both indifferent to American immigration law and intends to use the consulate to help illegal aliens evade it.

The consulate will offer matricular consular identification cards, often used by illegal aliens to open bank accounts. Said a longtime advocate for immigrant labor, “It’s an identification card.”

The Mexican Embassy in Washington admitted that the cards, according to the Statesman, “are most helpful for documented and undocumented Mexican migrants who need bank accounts.”

Problematically, immigration officials refuse to accept the matricular consular as valid identification at the U.S. border, and the FBI and Justice Department alike, according to an FBI spokesman, “have concluded that these cards are not a reliable form of identification due to the nonexistent means of identifying the true identity of the cardholder.”

(For these reasons and others, the matricular consular cannot be used to secure an Idaho driver’s license.)

The spokesman added, “It’s also vulnerable to fraud. They’re vulnerable to forgery. Even the newest version can be easily replicated.”

At last word, there has been no response to Rep. Bill Sali’s letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her office to delay granting permission to the Mexican government for the Boise consulate until security concerns can be addressed.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty | No Comments »

Halli’s Election Endorsements

May 26th, 2008 by Halli

The task of sorting through all the candidates with their accompanying political baggage is daunting at best, and impossible at worst. Because I receive numerous inquiries for voting information each election cycle, this post will detail my personal voting preferences.

I do not claim to have any preternatural knowledge of issues or candidates. However, because of my personal experiences and connections, combined with my addiction to political news, I usually have sufficient information to form an opinion. Over the years, these opinions have overwhelmingly been proven correct.

I will use for my reference the Bonneville County sample ballot, which once again shows us that Democrats have very few – if any – primary races. Their presidential selections have already been made in CLOSED caucus back in February, so I don’t know why their candidates appear on the ballot. We can count on many if not all of them to vote in the OPEN Republican primary in order to sway voting towards the most liberal Republicans, who, in many cases, were originally Democrats. (Remember former Speaker of the Idaho House, Bruce Newcomb? He was originally his county Democrat chairman, but could not get elected until he put the all-important “R” behind his name on the ballot. For actual documents proving Democrats purposefully vote Republican, see GrassRootsIdaho.)

I strongly urge all voters to check out the responses given on the Idaho Values Alliance Voters Guide.

So, let’s skip to the Republican side of the ballot.

For United States Senator, my choice is Fred Adams, of Idaho Falls. Jim Risch simply has too much baggage. I cannot vote for him under any circumstances. In the general election, I will be voting for independent candidate Rex Rammell.

For US House of Representatives for Idaho’s Second District, my choice is Gregory Nemitz. This is a man who is founded on constitutional principles, a claim incumbent Mike Simpson simply cannot make.

In District 31, the gerrymandered district stretching some 200 miles from the Teton Valley to the Utah border, otherwise known as the “east coast of Idaho”, I endorse Tom Loertscher for Representative Seat B. I have no preference for Seat A.

In District 32, I endorse Erik Simpson for Representative Seat A. He is young, energetic, and conservative. Ann Rydalch is tired, stuck in the past, and has a record of raising taxes.

In District 33, I recommend giving Kenneth Walton, the perennial opponent of Bart Davis, an opportunity to serve in the legislature. Bart Davis has risen to leadership in the Idaho Senate, but fails on so many fronts to deliver on conservative issues. I also consider a number of his positions and actions to have been unethical.

For Bonneville County Commissioner, I endorse Dave Radford, a man who has proven pro-life credentials, and a love of the constitution. His challenger, Harold Jones, is also a good man, but a bit of an unknown quantity and too inexperienced.

For Bonneville County Sheriff I endorse Paul Wilde, not because I know him well, but because he is highly recommended by recently-retired Sheriff Byron Stommell, a man I respect.

For Supreme Court Justice, I recommend the incumbent, Joel Horton. I vigorously object to the manner in which he became the incumbent. Justice Linda Copple Trout purposely retired mid-term to allow her replacement to be appointed by the Judicial Council rather than allow her position to be filled as an open seat, completely at the whim of the supposedly uninformed voters of Idaho. However, in this case Judge Horton has revealed himself to be a strong supporter of the Idaho Constitution, rather than a fan of judicial activism, as reported in the Idaho Values Alliance Voter Guide.

Though I do not have the opportunity to vote in Idaho’s First Congressional District race, I wholeheartedly endorse Rep. Bill Sali. This is a man who has been a champion of the unborn, lower taxes, smaller government, and the US Constitution since his days in the Idaho House.

And that completes my list of endorsements. I look forward to receiving your comments in response.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Obama Gaffes – Lost Without a Teleprompter

May 26th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

During the 1992 Presidential election, Dan Quayle, who was George Bush, Sr.’s Vice President, made a blunder that lives in infamy primarily with standup comedians. With a classroom of elementary school students, Quayle corrected a student who spelled “potato” and, taking his cue from a spelling card prepared by the teacher, told the student his spelling was wrong; it should be spelled “potatoe.” To this day, jokes are made of Quayle’s gaffe, and others that have yielded innumerable laughs for comedians.
Senator Obama is providing his share of memorable gaffes that should yield considerable fodder for the late-night comedians as well, except that some of them are serious. Were it not for the fact that the mainstream media has already anointed the Senator as President, we would have his more significant blunders plastered across the pages of the nations’ newspapers. In fact, coverage is so abysmally and incompetently absent from the mainstream media, one has to peruse the primary texts of his speeches to find them.

A couple of weeks ago while addressing a crowd in Missouri about Afghanistan, Obama said, “It’s like Arab — Arab — Arabic interpreters, Arab language speakers, we only have a certain number of them, and if they’re all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them, and — and obviously they may not speak Arabic, but the various dialects that they speak in Afghanistan.” Afghans do not speak Arabic, Senator. They speak Dari and Pashto. Well, there goes the “smartest guy in the room” label.

On Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” on May 4, the Senator was asked, “Would you respond against Iran?” He answered, “It – Israel is an ally of ours. It is the most important ally we have in the region, and there’s no doubt that we would act forcefully and appropriately on any attack against Iran, nuclear or otherwise.” Somehow in there Obama got Israel and Iran confused. I’d say there’s quite a difference between the two, and yet he says he’d act forcefully on any attack against Iran. If that had been President Bush or John McCain, we’d still be hearing about it.

The best one is a real winner. Two weeks ago he told an Oregon audience that “I’ve been in 57 states, [with] I think one left to go.” I guess if he had that American flag lapel pin on that he makes a point of not wearing (unless he’s in a red state) he could have glanced down and counted the stars and realized there are only 50, not 58 states in the Union. Maybe it’s just a math deficiency, but you know it wouldn’t have been shrugged off to fatigue if it was John McCain who had said it; they would have called it a “senior moment.”

Maybe his comment was a Freudian slip and reflected his Muslim upbringing. for there are in fact 57 Muslim states around the world. But then he’d still be off by one. I’m perplexed. What makes his statement even worse is that it wasn’t even a complete sentence. I had to add the conjunction parenthetically for the Senator’s phrase to make sense!

Let’s see now, the Senator has problems with math, English, and languages, but that’s not all. Let’s add geography to the list. Before the Kentucky primary, Obama explained that he was trailing Hillary Clinton because, “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” Actually, Senator, you come from one of those states in the middle, Illinois, and I’ve never seen a map where Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois is.

Now, in the “detached from reality” category, the Senator told a Portland, OR crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us, along with Cuba and Venezuela, because they’re “tiny countries” with “small defense budgets.” I wonder what kind of a defense budget 19 terrorists had when their primary weapons were a handful of box-cutters.
Senator Obama is very articulate when he’s got a teleprompter. It’s when he goes off script that he runs into problems. I wonder if he’ll have to carry around a stack of 3×5 cards with cues and factoids for him if he’s president since he won’t be able to take a teleprompter everywhere.

The Senator is human and he makes mistakes. The media just don’t tell us about them, proving their bias by conspicuously ignoring his gaffes, and proving their predisposition to his foreordination as President. He is not messianic in spite of his “rock star” status with the press. And in spite of his claims, he is not a unifier, as there is no experiential evidence of him “unifying” in Illinois or in Washington. And, in spite of his grandiloquence behind a teleprompter, it’s obvious he hasn’t the intelligence to justify his position as the Democratic nominee.

As for his verbal blunders, I suspect he would explain them away by declaring, “they’re just words.”

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

Guest Post: Win for States’ Rights – Federal Judge Winmill Blinks

May 20th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Federal Judge Lynn Winmill has a well-deserved reputation as an activist judge. Not too long ago, he trampled on the Boise Rescue Mission’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion by telling staff how to run their ministry even though the Mission does not receive so much as a nickel in taxpayer monies. Further, Winmill has struck down pro-life legislation seemingly out of force of habit. Yesterday, however, this federal judge blinked in a showdown with the Idaho Supreme Court.

Winmill rejected a lawsuit brought by some Idaho public schools against the Idaho Supreme Court, who wanted Winmill to order the Idaho Court to dictate a remedy in a school funding dispute. Winmill wrote what is for him an amazingly restrained opinion, saying, “Federal courts have no authority to direct state courts or their judicial officers in the performance of their duties.”

The back-story here, I believe, is that the Idaho Supreme Court fully intended to ignore any ruling that Winmill handed down that would have directed it to do anything. Additionally, only two of the five justices who made the original ruling are still on the Court, so the reality is that the Court doesn’t have the quorum of three necessary to follow his dictates even if they were inclined to do so.

Further, the Idaho Supreme Court had dismissed the suit, meaning that from a legal standpoint there is no existing case for Winmill to rule on, which gave the Idaho Court another reason to simply ignore an order from him.

It looks as though Winmill was prescient enough to recognize that he wasn’t going to be able to order the Idaho Supremes around, and backed out of the case in a face-saving move. The reality is that, if the Idaho Supreme Court ignored his ruling, there’s not a thing he could have done about it. The separation of powers doctrine denies any enforcement power to the judiciary, so he had no one he could compel to enforce his ruling.

Kudos to the Idaho Supreme Court for refusing to be coerced or intimidated by the prospect of a federal judge unconstitutionally throwing his weight around. The reality is that, if federal judges intrude where they have no constitutional authority to be, there is nothing except the frayed good will of the states that prompts them to comply with such unauthorized rulings.

The Idaho Supreme Court has struck a blow for the 10th Amendment, state sovereignty and liberty all in one fell swoop, and perhaps shown the rest of the states in the Union the way forward to reclaim rights that are properly theirs under the federal Constitution. If more branches of Idaho state government start showing the moxie of the Idaho Supreme Court, happier and freer days may be ahead for all Idahoans.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: We Should Always Stand By Israel, Our Ally

May 20th, 2008 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The state of Israel this past week celebrated its 60th birthday, one that it would not have been able to observe had it not been for the leadership and tenacity of one American president. President Harry Truman, going against nearly the entire Washington establishment, made the United States the first nation to grant official recognition of the State of Israel a scant 11 minutes after they declared their state official.

Israel is the only free country in a region that is dominated by monarchies, theocracies, and dictatorships that repress freedom, oppress women, limit educational opportunities, outlaw religious and racial tolerance, and sponsor terrorism against freedom-loving people. As such, the approximately 7 million citizens of Israel, including Jews and Arabs who live within the original borders, enjoy freedoms not available to the hundreds of millions living in neighboring Muslim dominated countries. They can express their opinions, criticize their government, publish opposition newspapers, and hold free un-coerced elections. It’s an affront to logic for Arab authorities in the region, who deny the most fundamental freedoms to their own people, to criticize Israel for violating Palestinians’ rights.

On May 14, 1948, the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People’s Council gathered to declare their independence. In that document, they declared that the Land of Israel “was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance.

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

“Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.” This right to gather in Israel “was recognized in the Balfour Declaration (1917), and reaffirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.” This right was reaffirmed in 1948 by the United Nations.

The declaration then states the principles upon which the nation would be established. “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Since that time, Israel has struggled for its very existence, having fought military onslaughts in seven wars of self-defense against 22 hostile Arab dictatorships, and faced a determined terror-led attack that makes those against America pale in comparison. In the 18 month period following 9/11/01 alone, Israel suffered 12,480 terrorist attacks that killed more than 400; a per-capita death toll more than six times that of America’s 9/11 attacks.

It is with this historical backdrop that President Bush addressed the world at Israel’s celebration of independence this week, where he declared, “You’ve lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security.”

The President went on to say, “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.” Does anyone truly believe the bellicose leaders of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and Islamic Jihad, who all call for the eradication and annihilation of Israel, can be persuaded to change their minds?

Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the primary front lines of battle in the war against terrorism. Recognizing this, and the fact that Israel is a free and democratic country, and an ally in combating the evil of terrorism, we should always maintain a resolute determination to stand by them and assure their defense, and not believe naively that Israel’s enemies can be appeased into pacifism. After all, their enemies are ours as well.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: McCain Rebuffing Evangelicals; GOP Headed for November Disaster

May 19th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Sen. John McCain has rebuffed an invitation to meet with Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, while at the same time California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging the Republican Party to rebrand itself and distance itself from the religious right.

What the San Francisco Chronicle calls “rebranding fever” was summarized by Schwarzenegger over the weekend when he said, “[W]e can’t go and get stuck with just the right wing. Let’s let the party come all the way to the center.” He added, “Let’s invade and let’s cross over that (political) center. The issues that they’re talking about? Let them be our issues, and let the party be known for that.”

For Schwarzenegger, one of those issues now is same-sex marriage, as he has pledged to honor the California Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay matrimony and pledged to oppose any effort to amend the state constitution to protect marriage. Well, now we know where the “center” is for Mr. Schwarzenegger.

The GOP cannot possibly win the presidency in November without the energetic participation of the evangelical faith community, which was responsible for George Bush’s win in 2004.

But alas, its party leadership is making it abundantly clear that the GOP’s “Big Tent” is not in fact big enough for social conservatives. As the party makes a disastrous and fatal move to the center, at the same time it is pushing social conservatives under the tent flap and to the outside of the tent altogether, into a political no-man’s land.

McCain in particular has staked out positions that are anathema to thinking evangelicals on embryonic stem cell research, illegal immigration, global warming and campaign-finance reform.

The leadership of the Republican Party has shown a staggering and mind-numbing tone deafness to the concerns of its socially conservative base, and the Party at the national level as a consequence is liable to suffer a November meltdown of historic proportions.

My guess is that most evangelicals who go to the polls in November will pull the lever for McCain. But the question remains: will they even show up to vote?

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Guest Post: Get Ready for Gay Marriages in Idaho

May 16th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage is just another catastrophic example of judicial activism on steroids.

Four black-robed oligarchs callously overrode the expressed will of 4,618,673 Californians who voted in 2000 to define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman. When four people can ignore the democratically enacted decision of 4 million people, we no longer have a republic at all. This is a form of tyranny, plain and simple.

Observation: the Court believes that majority rule is good enough for judges – four beats three – but not good enough for the people. Only an out-of-control judiciary can believe that four beats four million.

The Court ruled that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, even though the California Constitution says nary a word about same-sex marriage. In other words, the “emanations from penumbras” cobra has once again reared its poisonous head.

A dissenting judge correctly wrote, “Nothing in our Constitution, express or implicit, compels the majority’s startling conclusion that the age-old understanding of marriage – an understanding recently confirmed by an initiative law – is no longer valid.”

The truth of the matter is that the California Constitution says nothing – that’s zip, nada, zilch – about the right of same-sex couples to marry. Further, the state’s marriage law, enacted by initiative with over 61% of the vote, is constitutionally immune from repeal by the Legislature.

The judge continued, “If there is to be a further sea change in the social and legal understanding of marriage itself, that evolution should occur by similar democratic means. The majority forecloses this ordinary democratic process, and, in doing so, oversteps its authority.”

He added, “In reaching this decision, I believe, the majority violates the separation of powers, and thereby commits profound error.” This decision, he wrote, is an “exercise in legal jujitsu.”

Observation: in violating the separation of powers, enshrined in the California Constitution, the Court has itself violated the Constitution. If anybody has done anything unconstitutional here, it is clearly the Court, not the people of California, who followed the Constitution to the letter in its prescribed method for enacting law by initiative.

Lincoln’s question at Gettysburg was whether a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” could long endure. The answer from California: not so much.. California is now a government “of the judges, by the judges, and for the judges,” and such a government will last as long as a meekly compliant people allow it to.

Governor Schwarzenegger has submissively and weakly bowed the knee to the state’s newly self-appointed masters (where is the Terminator when we need him?), and says he won’t fight their ruling, even though it trashes every known concept of the separation of powers.

This whole affair naturally raises the question: why does California even bother with a legislature or a governor? What’s the point, when every important public policy decision is made by four judges who weren’t even elected to office and therefore feel no accountability to the people?

Worse, California has no residency requirement for marriage, meaning in as little as 30 days we may see a stream of homosexual couples returning to the Gem State waving their “marriage” licenses and shopping for a court which will insist Idaho recognize their union.

A gay-rights attorney exultantly says she expects “gays from around the country to flock to the state to wed.”

Idaho’s Constitution prohibits the legal recognition of such relationships, but as California demonstrates, even one sympathetic judge can turn a constitution into a meaningless scrap of paper. This makes the Idaho election for a seat on our state’s Supreme Court as important as it possibly can be. It is imperative that Idahoans elevate to the bench a judge who believes in a strict construction of the Constitution and the law.

Idahoans can equip themselves to cast an intelligent and informed vote in this election by going to the Gem State Voter Guide here.

Massachusetts, the only other state which recognizes same-sex marriage, at least has a provision in its state law that prohibits an out-of-state couple from getting married there if the marriage would not be legal in their home state. California has no such restriction.

Pro-family Californians have collected enough signatures to put a marriage amendment on the ballot this November. A pro-homosexual Attorney General (Jerry Brown, affectionately, accurately, and formerly known as “Governor Moonbeam”) is now responsible to validate those signatures, and opportunities for mischief therefore abound. Anti-family government bureaucrats in Oregon managed to creatively invalidate enough signatures to keep a similar measure off its ballot this year.

Further, I believe a previously unheard-of option may soon be exercised in California. (Remember you read it here first.)

I expect to see the California State Supreme Court issue a ruling that its own state Constitution is unconstitutional.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Californians pass the marriage amendment this November, thereby making a ban on same-sex marriage a part of the Constitution.

But wait, the gay lobby will say, the Court has already ruled that it’s unconstitutional to ban gay marriage in California! If you try to amend the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage, they will argue in court, you are trying to do something that the Court has already decided is forbidden by the Constitution.

It’s unconstitutional, they will say, even to try to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Expect a lawsuit along these lines, either before or immediately after the election.

There is no reason, given the activist bent of the Court, why such a legal effort wouldn’t be successful, meaning that even the plain language of a properly enacted amendment won’t be enough to insulate Californians from judges determined to impose their own view of social policy on the rest of us.

Forget the words of our Founders. Forget the words of Alexander Hamilton, who said, “The will of the people makes the essential principle of the government.”

Forget the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Try every provision of our Constitution, and see if it hangs directly on the will of the people.”

Forget the words of James Madison, who said, “The past frequency of wars [is traced] to a will in the government independent of the will of the people.”

Repressive tyranny is alive and well in America. Its uniform is a black robe and its weapon of choice a brandished gavel.

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

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