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Guest Post: A Few Troublesome Issues from the Recent Election

December 13th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

After a month of pondering the outcome of the recent election, I’m still troubled by certain aspects of the presidential campaign. Yes, I was disappointed with the outcome, but unlike the intolerant bigots in California who continue to harass, intimidate, and terrorize supporters of Proposition 8, I accept the results of the democratic process. But there are a few things we should consider before the next election rolls around.

For example, the Obama campaign raised a record $750 million in campaign contributions. The New York Times called it “spectacular.” The Los Angeles Times called it “phenomenal” and “unparalleled fundraising ability.” Many other news sources praised it as “mind-boggling.” If we recall just four short years ago, George W. Bush was accused of “buying the presidency” by the major media due to his record setting fundraising. The Seattle Times accused the Bush campaign of “milking citizens for contributions” in an effort to “repurchase the Oval Office.” Many news sources referred openly to the “problem” of the Bush fundraising “juggernaut” and continually made accusations that Bush was simply buying the presidency. How much did the Bush-Cheney campaign raise for the record setting 2004 campaign? A paltry $367 million.

So which is it? Is it spectacular and phenomenal, or is it buying the presidency? I guess that depends on whether it’s your candidate raising all the money. And frankly, that’s disquieting, to say the least. John McCain’s Campaign Finance Reform of 2002 was supposed to rein in the rogue and questionable campaign contributions, but it obviously failed.

It’s high time to consider serious campaign finance reform to limit candidates’ ability to “buy” elections. The whole system is fraught with corruption and abuse.

After the election, John Zogby conducted a nationwide poll of Obama voters and asked them 12 simple questions about the candidates and politics in general. Of those polled, 97% were high school graduates, and 55% were college graduates. Ostensibly one would surmise that they would be fairly knowledgeable about the campaign and their candidate. However, the results were startling. Over 57% could not correctly say which party controls congress. More than 71% could not correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism. More than 82% could not correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot. Nearly 90% could not correctly say that Obama had himself said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket. Nearly 60% could not correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two domestic terrorists, members of the infamous Weather Underground.

Contrast this ignorance with what they did know. Nearly 90% correctly identified Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 on clothes. 94% could identify Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter. And nearly 90% incorrectly thought that Palin had said that she could see Russia from her house, even though it was Tina Fey who said it on Saturday Night Live.

Of the twelve simple questions, only 2.4% got at least 11 correct, and only .5% got all of them correct. That is pathetic! Is it time to consider implementing a national Voter Aptitude Test in order to qualify to vote? When people are that factually ignorant the concept might well be plausible.

In his recent book Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter, historian Rick Shenkman delves through reams of data illustrating how ignorant if issues and historical fact the average American voter is. According to Shenkman, only 2 of 5 voters can name the three branches of the Federal government, and 49% think the president has the authority to suspend the Constitution. That is scary.

There are many more issues of concern, but let’s address media bias. The week before the election Tom Brokaw was on the Charlie Rose show and they had this exchange:
Charlie Rose: “I don’t know what Barack Obama’s worldview is.

Tom Brokaw: No, I don’t, either.

Charlie Rose: I don’t know how he really sees where China is.

Tom Brokaw: We don’t know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy.”

When we get to the very end of a two year campaign for the presidency and major media mavens are finally realizing that they don’t know much about a candidate, it means that those ideologues in the media weren’t doing their job! What happened to the probing questions and the so-called vetting process the media is supposed to conduct with these candidates?

Mark Halperin of Time magazine admitted last week at a Politico conference, “Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history.” He continued, “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.” Deborah Howell, Ombudsman for the Washington Post has the data and has quantified the bias, validating Halperin’s observations.

If we’re politically ignorant, simply swallow what the mainstream media spoon-feeds us, and allow elections to simply be bought, I guess we get the government we deserve. Personally, I think we owe our country, and ourselves, more.

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

Guest Post: Idaho Blessed by Judie Brown

December 7th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Mrs. Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, spoke to a packed house on Friday night the annual ICL Christmas Dinner & Auction.

After some forty years in the battle to protect preborn children and their families from the scourge of abortion, Mrs. Brown has a wealth of wisdom to share –and blessed the Idaho pro-Life movement with some of that vision.

Speaking on the topic of “Obamaism vs. Truth”, Judie called the faithful to meet the huge opportunity created by the election of America’s most rabid abortion champion.

During his infamous remarks at Saddleback Church, Obama told Pastor Rick Warren that the question of when life begins is “over my pay grade”. The same argument was advanced by the Supreme Court when it imposed Roe on the nation. And that is where the pro-Life movement must focus its attack.

“Obviously, life begins at the beginning,” Mrs. Brown told the room. But the Supreme Court and Obama don’t want to get into the scientific details or facts. And none of Obama’s political opponents ever confronted him on the destruction of an innocent human being , which is central to the act of abortion.

As a result, most Americans were able to vote for a person like Obama without having to contemplate the true nature of his belief system, especially in the area of “abortion rights”.

Mrs. Brown challenged the audience to sharply focus the pro-Life movement on the question of personhood.

The event was a huge success and a real momentum builder as Idaho Chooses Life prepares for the upcoming Legislative Session. The Board of the organization is committed to an aggressive agenda. We will simply not hunker and play defense to Planned Parenthood’s agenda for the White House.

Judie Brown is the Grande Dame of America’s pro-Life movement; she inspired us and left many blessings behind.

We ask the Lord to continue watching over her and our friends at the American Life League.

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

Guest Post: Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy is Strong Argument for Parental Choice in Education

December 5th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Maximizing parental choice in education is one of the keys to making Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family.

And facilitating the launching of charter schools is part of the solution to increasing family-friendly choices in education.

According to a study done earlier this year by the Friedman Foundation and sponsored by the IVA (which you can access here), while just 12% of Idaho taxpayers would choose conventional public schools if they had a full range of options, 25% would choose a charter school.

Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy shows us why.

U.S. News and World Report this week ranked it as one of the top 100 high schools in the nation, after the school had already been named the National Charter School of the Year in 2007 by the Center for Education Reform and been featured in the award-winning documentary, Flunked.

(The IVA supported a premiere showing of Flunked this past summer which was sponsored by KBOI radio.)

The benchmarks U.S. News uses are rigorous, and include such measures as high performance in reading and math, performance on standardized tests and Advanced Placement exams.

Not only is the CDA Charter Academy producing superior results, it’s doing it with fewer taxpayer dollars. Principal Dan Nicklay confirmed this morning that the school operates on a budget that is only about 70% the size of the budget consumed by regular public schools.

Since charter schools receive no local or federal funding, they make do with less, and as CDA Charter shows, can deliver an excellent educational product while saving taxpayers boatloads of money.

Plus, the absence of hot lunches and busing pulls parents into greater involvement with their children’s education, and this increased level of investment on the part of parents is “really key,” according to Nicklay. It’s a small wonder that the school has a waiting list.

A superior product for less money and with greater parental involvement – what’s not to like?

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Idaho Legislature | No Comments »

Guest Post: Planned Parenthood Busted Again

December 5th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Last winter, the IVA exposed to the Idaho public the investigative journalism done by pro-life activist Lila Rose and her pro-life student organization at UCLA. Their investigative work revealed the eagerness of Boise Planned Parenthood staffer Autumn Kersey to accept donations that were specifically targeted to aborting black babies. (This Idaho incident is included in the Washington Times story which you can access at the following link.)

Now Rose’s organization has exposed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Indiana – yes, part of the same network that is selling abortion certificates as Christmas presents – for coaching a supposed 13-year-old on how to evade state laws on parental consent and the reporting of child sex abuse.

Pretending to be a young teenager, Rose told a PP nurse that although she was barely a teenager, she had been impregnated by a 31-year-old man.

The nurse suggested a different scenario for “Brianna” to use, urging her to suggest that her boyfriend was a fellow student. “You’ve seen him around, you know he’s 14, he’s in your grade and whatever. You know what I mean?”

The nurse, whom Planned Parenthood has been forced to suspend in the wake of these revelations, coached “Brianna” on how to tell her story so that the nurse would have a plausible reason not to fulfill her statutory reporting obligation.

Further, to get around Indiana’s parental consent law, she silently slipped the girl a piece of paper with the address of an Illinois abortion clinic circled. Illinois has a parental consent law, but an activist state supreme court has prevented it from ever being enforced.

Failing to report sexual contact between an adult and a person younger than 14 in Indiana is punishable by 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Oddly, the Bloomington police responded by refusing to investigate and instead have provided additional police protection for the clinic, thus making it possible for the clinic to continue sending young girls right back into sexually abusive situations.

Said Miss Rose, “Planned Parenthood offers no solutions for the victim of statutory rape – they give her an abortion and a bag of condoms and send her straight back into the arms of the abuser.”

A relatively new member of the staff at Boise’s Planned Parenthood clinic has been named as a defendant in at least one civil suit against an Ohio Planned Parenthood clinic, whose staff failed to report at least two actual cases of statutory rape under very similar circumstances. More information on this breaking story next week.

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood is a tax-exempt non-profit organization which receives a staggering $336.7 million in taxpayer funding while running a billion dollar enterprise and clearing a cool $115 million in the last year for which information is available. Not bad for a “non-profit,” eh?

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

Guest Post: Conservatives – Conservative on One Position, Conservative on All

December 4th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

A poll of members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) reveals that 94% of them do not want the U.S. Supreme Court to mix foreign law into their decisions, and 84% of them do not want President-elect Obama to expand abortion rights.

What this means for the pro-family community, for example, is that a candidate who gets an NRA endorsement is also quite likely to support legislation and policies that are family-friendly.

This illustrates a fundamental reality about genuine conservatism – it tends to be all of a piece, with individuals who are genuinely conservative on one issue tending strongly to be genuinely conservative on all. True blue fiscal conservatives, in other words, are also highly likely to be social conservatives as well.

My good friend Patrick Mahoney told me once of a friend of his, a man who led a pro-family organization similar to the IVA in the South, who did substantial fundraising among businessmen by pointing out to them that pro-marriage, pro-life candidates almost invariably support positions that are good for business, such as lower taxes, smaller government, and reduced regulation.

Another way to put it is that elected officials who are determined to make Idaho a friendlier place to raise a family will also make Idaho a friendlier place to do business.

(One national expert said in Boise yesterday that our tax climate is the 13th worst in the country for business. There is clearly great room for improvement here, particularly since our neighboring states have much friendlier tax policies.)

And since businesses provide the jobs that Idaho families need, a better business climate is at the same time good for Idaho families.

CitizenLink: Social Conservatism is Alive and Well

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Guest Post: The Unstoppable Judie Brown Comes to Boise

December 4th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho Chooses Life is holding its annual Christmas Dinner & Auction this Friday evening, December 5th. We are most honored to have Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, as our guest speaker.

Mrs. Brown has been a national leader in the pro-Life movement since the very beginning of the American holocaust. Three years before the Roe court imposed its death sentence on millions of preborn citizens, Judie Brown was fighting to stop an inititiative in Washington state to make abortion a non-crime.

She helped found the American Life League in 1979, which has since grown to become the largest grassroots organization in the country.

Judie has written seven books, including her latest, Saving Those Damned Catholics. (Copies will be available at the dinner).

Limited seats are still available for this extraordinary event. Call our office immediately at 344.8709 for more information.

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

Guest Post: Key to Reducing Juvenile Delinquency Rates and Crime? Intact Families

December 3rd, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The director of Latah County’s Youth Services Department confirms that fragmented families damage children and pass significant social costs on to taxpayers.

Most of the juvenile crime he deals with involve petty theft or marijuana violations.

“We have some juveniles from very good families,” he says. “But the present majority of our kids come from single-family households that have some economic issues, unemployment or from the working poor.”

He told Latah County commissioners on Monday that the delinquency rate could be lower if parents became more involved in prevention.

“The problems the kids describe is (sic) that they don’t feel there are boundaries and it’s easy to get away with things. They want to know that their parents are engaged and checking up on them.”

This is further evidence of the wisdom of strengthening the institution of the Idaho family by raising the bar for divorce when children are involved.

Social research confirms that children from fragmented families are, according to Professor Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia, “much more likely to fail in school, to become pregnant as teenagers and to get in trouble with the law.”

It’s time to reform our divorce laws and ask adults to keep the solemn and sacred marriage vows they made to each other if for no other reason than for the sake of their children.

Idaho Press-Tribune Article

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts | No Comments »

Guest Post: Home Schooling Parents Beware – Rep. Donna Boe is Coming for YOU

December 3rd, 2008 by Halli

Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

A warning to parents who prefer to educate their children at home: Rep. Donna Boe of Pocatello plans to come after you.

She laments the fact that Idaho protects so carefully the right of parents to educate their children at home without interference from the state. State law gives no authority to local school districts or to the State Department of Education to regulate home education, unlike our neighboring states of Oregon and Washington.

Rep. Boe apparently wants home educators to adopt a suggestion by Patti Mortenson, a Pocatello area director of elementary education, to add a definition for “educational neglect” to Idaho law so that child protective services and the courts can start forcing their way into the homes of home educators, taking children away from parents where possible and prosecuting them where possible.

All of course, in Rep. Boe’s world, of providing a “safety net” for children who don’t receive what she thinks is a quality education at home.

She seems blissfully unconcerned about what the state is doing to provide a “safety net” for students who don’t receive a quality education in its schools, and apparently ignorant of the fact that home schoolers regularly outperform their public school peers on academic achievement tests.

The problem, she says, with granting authority to the state to intrude into the sanctity of home schooling families is the strong state network home schoolers have developed. That network may well be called upon to make its voice heard in 2009, and you can rest assured the IVA will stand with them to protect their right to educate their children as they see fit without state interference.

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

Guest Post: The Importance of Not Taking Things for Granted

December 3rd, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Those things we take most for granted are often the things for which we should be most grateful. Especially in this privileged country where the blessings enjoyed by all have come through the sacrifice of others, and the blessings enjoyed by many come because of the absence of limitations prevalent in other countries.

Our freedoms are often taken for granted, and consequently, we assume they will always be there. But as we observe the trends granting increasing power over our lives to governmental authority, we can only pray and hope that the day will not come when we look back longingly at the freedoms once enjoyed here.

Those who wear and have worn the nation’s military uniforms are often taken for granted. But it is imperative that we acknowledge that at this time of no conscription that they wear the uniform and shoulder the attendant responsibilities of their own volition. We are not just free because of the wars and conflicts they fight or have fought, but also by their very presence and vigilance they ward off other threats to our liberty and our very existence. We are direct beneficiaries of their service. We can only surmise how differently we may have emerged from the cold war had we not maintained such a powerful global military presence.

As the nation struggles through the current financial difficulties, we realize how generally good the economy has been for the past eight years. Something we have again taken for granted. The media have painted a different picture during that time of how bad the economy was. Every report from employment to GDP growth rate was scrutinized to the point where, regardless of the positive elements, it was somehow twisted to where miniscule pejoratives eclipsed the positives. It could be that there was an agenda behind such uniformly negative reporting, or perhaps it’s just that bad news sells better than good. But then again, maybe we’re just too gullible as a people and swallow the headlines rather than reading, digesting, and thinking through the details on our own.

Sometimes what we take most for granted are people whom we love and assume will always be there for us. Then when they are not, our hearts yearn for their return, whether they departed of their own volition or because of the frailty of mortality. Even eighteen years after my mother’s passing from breast cancer and five years after my father died there is still not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them, long for their insights, wisdom, and their nurturing encouragement.

These are but a few examples of what we sometimes take for granted, but perhaps the best thing for each of us to ponder what applies most. What blessings, privileges, and relationships do you most treasure and would be most bereft of if they were no longer in your life? Tell those who most profoundly touch your life how you feel, and then have the wisdom to bask in the warmth of those relationships as often and as much as possible. For those blessings, both tangible and abstract that are not relationship based, do as the early Pilgrims did. According to William Bradford, “he did fall down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing.” Ultimately, since all blessings are bestowed by God, we express our deepest gratitude to him for our country, our state, our families, and the blessings that are ours to enjoy.

Chuck Swindoll made a statement years ago that has profoundly shaped my attitude about life, and about gratitude itself. He said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

The realization that we have control over our attitude will not only significantly enrich the quality of our lives, but it will lead us to what Eniko Jordan last week called the “attitude of gratitude” which we celebrate this week. That same attitude precludes the possibility of taking things for granted and causes us to acknowledge our dependence upon each other and upon God for the blessings that are ours.

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Posted in General, Guest Posts | No Comments »

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