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Andi Elliott: It’s This Easy to Scam the Food Bank???

January 29th, 2011 by Halli

You could have “knocked me over with a feather” when I discovered that my family qualifies to receive food from the local Food Banks. So, I spent some time this morning calling local food banks to verify. With a home, several cars, and multiple streams of income, I still can simply go down to a food bank, fill out an application (no documentation required) and pick up my food. No wonder I see folks drive up in their big SUVs for their boxes of food…you don’t even need to provide a birth certificate (not that Obama does either). You gotta be kidding! I could afford a sizeable car payment if I had no grocery bill.

All that one needs to do is simply list the birth dates of the people in your household. We could do as my welfare clients were known to do…get your neighbor’s kids…in order to qualify for greater benefits. After all, no one’s checking.

Since the Food Banks are so well supplied with food then they obviously no longer need my donations. Boy Scouts, please don’t come by my house to pick up donated items. Our donations are meant for folks that truly are in need…not to be handed out to anyone who wants to scam the system. There needs to be some type of accountability here. This is incredible!

BTW, if we are “aiding and abetting” illegals with our food donations, does that make us complicit in breaking the law? I’m just wondering out loud.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Wallace Hoffman: State Nullification

January 29th, 2011 by Halli

By Wallace Hoffman, Idaho Falls

Do the states have the right to nullify the Healthcare Bill? Absolutely. In fact, they not only have the right, but the obligation.

First, the health-care bill is unconstitutional and has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. When the states formed the federal government, they did not grant it unlimited powers in the name of the general welfare. The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Therefore, the states have the power to nullify unconstitutional laws.

Second, our government was formed with a system of checks and balances. One of these was a sharing of power between the states and federal government. The Senate originally represented the states in Congress, but this was changed by the Seventeenth Amendment, in which senators are now elected by popular vote instead of by the state legislatures. However, the Seventeenth Amendment did not invalidate the Tenth Amendment, since the Bill of Rights is not subject to amendment. Unalienable rights, by definition, are rights that cannot be revoked by government. That is why they are unalienable.

Third, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Article VI, clause 2) states that the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties are the supreme law of the land, but only if they are made “in pursuance of the Constitution.” All federal and state employees take an oath to support the Constitution, not the federal government. This means that if the federal government passes a law which violates the Constitution, our representatives would be breaking their oath if they supported such a law.

Does the Supreme Court decide which laws are constitutional? No, it doesn’t. It only decides which laws shall be enforced. If the Supreme Court decided the constitutionally of laws, why are its decisions not unanimous by all its judges? Furthermore, past decisions of the Supreme Court have been nullified by later decisions of the Supreme Court, showing that it is not infallible. Also, since the Supreme Court is part of the federal government, its decisions tend to be biased in its favor. And finally, nothing in the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to interpret the Constitution. This power was usurped by the Supreme Court itself in the case of Marbury vs Madison.

The Civil War did not establish the federal government’s supremacy over the states. Politics is a branch of philosophy, and no philosophical debate is ever decided by force. Any law which is unconstitutional is automatically null and void, since you cannot have two laws which simultaneously contradict each other. Only the Constitution is the supreme law.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Would JFK Be a Democrat Today?

January 29th, 2011 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Fifty years ago this week newly elected President John F. Kennedy delivered his Inaugural Address. Written mostly by Ted Sorensen, who passed away last year, the speech was a memorable one, not only for its content but for the youthful enthusiasm and energy in delivery, by the youngest elected president. Reading through it, and listening to it anew causes one to consider the probability that JFK wouldn’t have the same party affiliation if he were alive today as he did in 1961.

The most frequently cited line from that speech was, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This aphorism was immediately engraved on the American psyche, collectively and individually, and has become timelessly and indelibly impressed in our minds.

As truthfully as it rings to us all, we’re obviously far removed from that mentality today. Either through control of purse strings or by regulation, the country now does much more for us than we do for it. It provides our education, owns the entire student loan industry, controls the banking and financing industry, controls health care delivery and the health insurance industry, owns much of the auto industry and controls the rest of it, controls much of our energy apparatus, controls much of our food production system, and manipulates our currency value by printing more of it. It is indeed difficult to find any aspect of our lives that is not controlled, owned, or affected by government.

Increasingly the only thing our country asks of us is our acquiescence to their expansive statist objectives of cradle-to-grave control, and an increasing share of our paycheck to fund it all. The corollary to his truism could well be, “The more our government does for us, the less we do for ourselves or our country.”

Another notable line from that memorable address was, “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Sounding much like George W. Bush, we can’t help but realize how far removed we are today from that conviction. “Oppose any foe,” but we can’t profile or identify the religious orientation of those of our enemies who are motivated by their extremist Wahhabi ideology. “Support any friend,” which among nation states typically refers to allies, but seemingly less and less applied to our staunchest ally in the Middle East, Israel. Hardly a week goes by without someone prominent in our government or that self-proclaimed bastion of human rights, the United Nations, for one reason or another castigating, criticizing, or condemning our “best friends” in that region of the world.

Kennedy’s idyllic line calling for a united world to “explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths,” has newfound meaning when we come to terms with more current verities. “Explore the stars’ is now unlikely with the discontinuation of the Shuttle program and no replacement in sight, and a newly stated primary objective of “Muslim outreach.” Much disease has been eradicated since that time, and we’re still working on conquering the deserts, but we can’t “tap the ocean depths” if we’re looking for oil, per Obama’s Executive Order.

Unlike many of his fellow alumni from Harvard, JFK understood economics. A short time after his Inaugural Address, the President said, “Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased — not a reduced — flow of revenues to the federal government.” And on another occasion, “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort — thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

And on another occasion, “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now… And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy, which can bring a budget surplus.”

Words have meaning, and composed as they are in the lofty, historical settings of Inaugurations, they are designed to inspire, motivate, and provide direction for a country. If they are as timeless as we assert they are, it is incumbent upon us to review and recommit to those timeless ideals and principles. And given JFK’s ideology of individual responsibility, self-help, fiscal soundness, and of America’s courage to lead the world, it would be hard to conceive of him being a Democrat today.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, January 24

January 26th, 2011 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

It’s always a bit tricky to put a budget together. Even down on the farm that’s the case and it’s no different around this place. One of the problems we as humans have is that we tend to think that income sources will be flat over time, or even increasing slightly. When we get good prices for our commodities on the farm we tend to assume that those revenues will stay up for the foreseeable future. That is rarely the case and in government things don’t seem to be any different. We have made a lot of assumptions in our revenue projections for the coming year that will have to come to pass in order for our budget to be balanced.

The budget still seems to be the big item of discussion around the legislature. Some around here are saying that we have made history this year already in that the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee has been inviting other germane committees to sit with them as the budgets from the agencies are discussed. This definitely is a first and I think it is been helpful for members of the various committees to get a feel of how the budget numbers are put together. Another first began this week when the budget committee opened up their meetings to public comment. Education had their go around and it was interesting to get the take of a lot of educators that came to discuss Superintendent Luna’s “new” ideas.

My phone has been ringing with calls from home having concerns about Internet classes for all high school students. One thing is for certain. If this new program is not well-designed and is not something that will work well, and there is not teacher buy-in, it would be doomed from the outset. I can’t help but think that technology in the classroom is essential for our students to keep up in these times. I know there are programs out there that work well and we have to implement them correctly if we do it at all. After talking to several this past week, I think I will have to be convinced that this is a good thing. For now I am trying to keep an open mind and am doing some research.

The house health and welfare committee met a couple of times this week with JFAC to hear the Department of Health and Welfare cover its budget. There wasn’t a whole lot new expressed there, and they told us that they are trying their best to get their arms around making their budget work. It seemed to me that most of the difficulty we have with this budget lies in the optional programs Idaho has embraced over the years. E-mails are coming in from all over the state wanting us not to cut any of these programs. And I have to admit that we have to be careful that we don’t eliminate the less costly items and drive Medicaid folks to more expensive service providers.

About ten days ago I was watching Fox news and saw an interview with Gov. Huckabee. He pretty well expressed what happens in the states with regard to their budgets. He said that most of the states money is spent in three areas, to educate, medicate and incarcerate. In Idaho, 90 to 95% of our budget goes to those three areas.

After Gov. Otter made the announcement that Sen. Geddes would be moving to the Tax Commission, it was interesting to see all of the scurrying around that has occurred. One member of the Senate told me that because of the resignation there had to be a complete reorganization of the Senate. It involved the switching of offices and new committee assignments for some. One Senator even commented to me that now he had an office with a window. As my mother would have put it, “Oh brother.”

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

David Ripley: Media Continues to Mislead on Pharmacist Complaint

January 26th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Associated Press is reporting that the Idaho Board of Pharmacy has dismissed Planned Parenthood’s complaint against a Nampa pharmacist because she did not violate Idaho law or the professional standards the Board is charged with upholding.
This must be very frustrating for the political operatives at Planned Parenthood – Idaho’s largest abortion mill.

Yet even in reporting the story, the media is continuing to carry the Abortion Industry’s water by trying to wrap the incident around the axle of the Conscience Law.

This whole story was ginned-up to challenge Idaho’s new Conscience Protect Law for health care providers – yet the simple truth is that the Conscience Law has nothing whatsoever to do with this incident.

The Board of Pharmacy dismissed the bogus complaint on two grounds:

1. The purported refusal to fill a prescription did not violate Idaho law, because no law in Idaho exists which compells pharmacists to fill a prescription – any prescription.

2. Planned Parenthood alleges that the pharmacist broke the law by inquiring into the patient’s medical history. That, too, is a bogus charge.

The simple fact is that even if we accept everything Planned Parenthood is saying about this incident as true – a willful act of credulity – it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Conscience Law. The drug at issue is not an abortifacient, and is therefore not covered by the very specific protections of the new law.

The pharmacist in question was not applying the Freedom of Conscience Law to the situation. Period. And the Board of Pharmacy did not dismiss the complaint because of the protections of the new law, but on other grounds which existed prior to its enactment.

It is also significant that the Board did not find a violation of stringent standards of conduct regulating the profession of pharmacy. Despite Planned Parenthood’s best efforts to smear Idaho pharmacists, that should serve to bolster public confidence in the men and women who serve us every day at the medicine counter.

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

Richard Larsen: Where the Hate Speech is Coming From

January 26th, 2011 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Jared Lee Loughner, the Tucson killer and would-be assassin of a sitting congressman, was not a “right-wing extremist,” or motivated by conservative commentators, or a product of the “Tea Party” mentality. Yet within minutes of the attack outside a grocery store last week, political and media ideologues were alleging that he was. When those allegations proved false, they ramped up their diatribes by ascribing blame to the very groups they could not link him to, for creating a culture of violence through “hate speech.”
Still smarting and licking their wounds from the historic thumping they took in the polls in the November elections, there is obviously no limit to how low these ideologues will stoop to attempt to invalidate or demonize their political adversaries, or as President Obama has called them, their “enemies.” Without even a hint of evidence or credibility, their immediate knee-jerk reaction in blaming Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, or the Tea Party movement proves they have no shame, and need have no evidence, to blame their opponents in an attempt at self-validation after their ideology was rebuked and rejected last Fall.

Immediately after the attack, Markos Moulitsas, who runs the DailyKos tweeted, “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” To Moulitsas and many of his ilk, Palin had caused the tragedy by producing a map with “crosshairs” over targeted districts, including that of Giffords. Palin’s map, however, used surveyor symbols, not crosshairs or bullseyes. But the Democratic Leadership Conference and DailyKos created maps with bullseyes — in the latter’s case, against Congresswoman Giffords herself, and later ran a column in which the columnist called the shooting victim “dead to me.”

To the contrary, we learn that Loughner was, according to one of his classmates at Pima Community college, a “left wing wacko.” Another called him a “left-wing pothead.” And according to his YouTube profile, two of his favorite books are the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, and Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler. The most likely causes of his violence were his mental derangement and drug abuse, and likely had little to do with his political leanings.

Regrettably, there are the gullible amongst us who blindly accept the punditry’s nefarious explications. Someone I consider a dear friend posted on my Facebook page this week, “give guns to the conservatives and will shoot liberals, just like in arizona. Stop the hate!!”

I couldn’t concur more that we need to “stop the hate!!” But we need to make a distinction between logical and historical arguments against the ideology that has ruled Washington for the past few years and real “hate speech.” I hear much of both, but it appears to me libelous level of “hate speech” is coming from the opposite end of the political spectrum from Governor Palin.

Here are just a few examples for you to consider. Twitter users quickly responded to allegations that Sarah Palin was somehow responsible for the attack with violent, hateful speech: “I hope Sarah Palin dies.” “So…will everyone be satisfied then when Palin is assassinated? You know she’s next.” “Palin is a murdering bi*** who deserves a crosshair on HER house so Al-Qaeda can come shoot HER family. See how that feels, republican trash.”

Chris Matthews of MSNBC has said of Rush Limbaugh, “Somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp.” While President George W. Bush was still in office, a movie depicting his assassination was released to the aplomb of media and entertainment critics. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz wished for the death of Vice President Cheney, declaring, “Vice President Cheney is, he is an enemy of the country….Lord, take him to the Promised Land, will you?” He later screamed on his program, “Vice President Cheney’s heart’s a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him!”

Air America Radio host Montel Williams in a vicious attack against Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, literally yelled into his microphone, “Slit your wrist! Go ahead! I mean, you know, why not? I mean, if you want to — or, you know, do us all a better thing. Move that knife up about two feet. I mean, start right at the collarbone.”

All such vitriolic and virulent libel or ad hominem attacks should be condemned equally regardless of the source, and our standards of civility applied equally with equanimity. There is genuine disagreement over issues and the direction of the country and there is ample room for discussion over those issues. We collectively degenerate to an uncivilized and uninspired society when such ugliness becomes the face of our public discourse. If we are to elevate our level of colloquy to a substantive level, it must be done equally across the entire political spectrum.

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

Andi Elliott: Questions

January 18th, 2011 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

It’s been almost ten years now since we moved to Idaho and I’ve learned why we have ditches that are dry most of the year and that the river running through the valley is not just a tributary. Even with 60 horses to feed growing up, I’d never seen “ton bales”. And to watch “spud harvest” is simply an incredible experience.

Still, I have some unanswered questions. I see horses seeking cover from subzero winds behind sagebrush that barely comes up to their forearms. When the wind shifts, they too shift…tail to the wind and noses drooping towards the snow. There are bales of straw stacked by the pasture yet the horses are without any windbreak. Why?

And why would you put a horse in a pen the size of a stall and leave it standing in its manure for years and with no shelter from the bitter wind and cold or blazing sun? And why do I see dairy calves confined to small pens knee deep in feces when there is a dry area available? Does this make them more valuable?

And then there are folks who chain a female dog and, as my cousin says, “allow every male dog that wanders by to rape her” and then, not provide proper food and shelter for her and the puppies. Why?

As I watch some of my neighbors work continuously to care for their animals I wonder why the “uncaring” lack a sense of shame… especially knowing neighbors are watching.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts | No Comments »

Representative Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, January 17

January 18th, 2011 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

A couple of years ago, we were cleaning the shop at the ranch. While doing so I could hardly believe some of the things that I had kept around the place. There were worn-out bearing races, short pieces of useless metal, and other old parts that we had accumulated from previous repair efforts. I thought that it probably was just me, but I soon found out that the whole family had been doing the same thing I had. Apparently, there is a little bit of pack rat in all of us.

Each year as I leave a legislative session, I gather up some of my stuff from the capital and take it home. Linda is not terribly fond of this activity because it all resides very comfortably in the off-season in my office. Now I’m not going to say that I never use these things, but I do tend to go through them from time to time looking for information on things that were done during the previous session. As you can imagine, the next thing that happens is to repack everything and haul it back to the capital. I was doing that last week on Sunday evening after arriving in Boise. The only other person I happened to see at that time in the entire building was a security guard and I don’t think he saw me. It was an eerie feeling to have everything so quiet knowing full well that the legislature would start in earnest the next morning.

On Monday, After Convening in the House, and gathering the Senators, the Elected Officials, and the Judiciary, the Governor Gave His Annual State of the State Message and Budget Message. It was one of the more interesting that I have seen during my time in the legislature. I think it is the first time that I have heard a governor not present a large wish list for the legislature to consider. He has projected a small increase in revenues but seemed to recognize that there is no room this year for new items in the budget. One thing that stood out, was his request to bond for the money that we owe the federal government for unemployment benefits. It certainly deserves consideration but at the same time we need to make sure that we don’t over-extend the resources of the state.
The other item during the week that seemed to occupy a lot of discussion time was the new education reforms that Superintendent Luna proposed. I think it is a good thing for students to begin to learn how to take courses online. There are so many resources available for education in this day and age and I hope that educators will have an open mind when it comes to considering these new ways of educating kids. I have been told that there is a vast new resource online called Google Apps Education that is being successfully used in other parts of the country. I hope we will look seriously at what is available from that source. The other part of the proposal in providing a laptop computer for every student is one that will need careful consideration. Just giving a computer to each student could be problematic and a better way might be to require some ownership of the students for the equipment. It seems like when we as humans have some ownership we take better care of things.

Several members of the House health and welfare committee had a chance to participate in a conference call with the former director of health and welfare for the state of Rhode Island. That state has worked with the federal government in getting flexibility to operate the Medicaid program. They claim to be realizing great savings while at the same time not reducing the programs or eligibility. This looks to be a major new effort that we will be looking at during this session.

And so it begins. One of the suggestions I heard around these halls was that we probably should just adopt the Governor’s budget and go home. That may be too much to hope for because I am sure a lot of legislators want to have a careful look at what he has proposed. Seeing how it is our constitutional responsibility to develop a budget, that is what we will do.

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Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | 1 Comment »

David Ripley: Praise the Lord – NARAL Gives Idaho an ‘F’

January 18th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

A story on LifeNews.Com reports that Idaho’s pro-Life movement has earned the honor of an “F” grade from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) because of the progress we’ve made in narrowing the abortion industry’s field of play in our beloved state. This organization speaks with some authority because it comprised of the nation’s abortionists.

This is one of the most encouraging pats on the back we’ve had in the fifteen years of our organizational life.

NARAL applauds the killing fields located in California, Washington – they receive A+ grades. Right behind them are Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Orgeon, Alask, DC, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Vermont.

Idaho was one of 19 states to earn an ‘F’ grade.

But lest we succumb to temptation – we have a long road yet to travel. Idaho was ranked at just 39. That means there are 11 states which have made greater progress in restricting abortion. (Utah, for example, ranks 44).

We applaud North Dakota pro-Lifers for their success in pushing their state to the 50th ranking, just ahead of Mississippi.

With our efforts in the current legislative session, perhaps we will be able to move up a bit on NARAL’s hit list.

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

David Ripley: The Great Contraception Insanity

January 14th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have been hitting the outrageous partnership which has grown up around Planned Parenthood and various government agencies. New data from the abortion industry itself shows that this partnership is not only a colossal abuse of the public trust – it is downright evil in its effects.
The Guttmacher Institute – owned and operated by Planned Parenthood – recently showed that the abortion rate is slowing climbing again across the nation. That is no wonder given the monumental increase in government subsidies.
More shocking is the admission that 54% of those women submitting to abortion were using contraception.
This single fact undermines the entire rationale for government support of the abortion industry via Title X.
Many times Planned Parenthood lobbyists have lectured us in legislative hearing rooms about how they are the only ones actually doing something to lower the abortion rate: Contraceptives are the key, they sing. And too many elected officials are suckers for this superficial claim.
LifeNews.Com quotes Thomas Peters of CatholicVote.org summarizes the deadly effects of Planned Parenthood’s contraception gospel:
“In fact, Planned Parenthood has no way of guaranteeing that even more birth control will result in fewer abortions. In fact, there is evidence to suggest the opposite happens: people are more likely to have ‘unplanned pregnancies’ if they falsely believe birth control will save them, making them in turn less prudent about their sexual choices.”
Mr. Peters could have added another salient fact: Planned Parenthood and government officials (like Central District Health) enter high school classrooms, preaching the security of contraceptives. By doing so, they legitimize premature sexual activity as an inevitable choice. The end result is more children experimenting with sex at an earlier age. Their lives are destroyed – or at least mangled. And that says nothing about the many preborn children murdered at Planned Parenthood clinics as they double down on profits.

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

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