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David Ripley: An Absurd Abuse of the Courts

October 27th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Hear about the case of the Democrat turned out of Congress last year launching a lawsuit for “loss of income”? Ohio Democrat Steve Driehaus was fired by constituents over his breach of faith with pro-Life voters. He was one of those “pro-Lifers” who followed Bart Stupak over the cliff, abandoning his supposed principles to support Barack Obama’s scheme for nationalized health care – which includes massive subsidies for the Abortion Industry.

Most defeated politicians find some reasonably honest way to support themselves. A good number devote hours and months plotting a return to power. But Driehaus has filed a federal lawsuit against the Susan B. Anthony List for defaming his “good” name. They committed the offense of informing Ohioans that Driehaus had betrayed his commitment to defend the innocent.

One could reasonably assume that any federal judge would dismiss such nonsense – but Driehaus had the good fortune to locate an Obama appointee who is happy to waste his time and the public’s money. It gives the judge a chance to do a little favor for the most abortion-happy president in U.S. history.

But there is an even darker aspect to this story which moves it from the curiously self-abusive to outright dangerous: It turns out that Federal District Judge Timothy Black is the former head of Planned Parenthood of Cincinnati. Since he obviously did not have the integrity to recuse himself from the case – and the U.S. Senate did not have the wits or courage to deny Black’s life-time confirmation to the federal bench – our friends at the Susan B. Anthony List have good reason to worry about this otherwise ridiculous case. One can see it becoming a serious financial liability for the pro-Life organization going into next year’s election year.

The ramifications of the lawsuit go beyond Susan B. Anthony’s finances: Judge Black and former Congressman Driehaus may be working a scheme to do criminal damage to the First Amendment.

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

Richard Larsen: Illogic and Hypocrisy of the Occupiers

October 25th, 2011 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

I find myself in absolute agreement with one component of the demonstrators defining themselves by the acronym OWS (Occupy Wall Street). The government bailouts which buoyed up failing bank, brokerage, and insurance firms, as well as the auto industry must stop. Bailouts of states, of education entities, and unions must stop as well. Which leads me to wonder, why are they demonstrating on Wall Street rather than Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill?

Bad government regulation and bad corporate decisions led to the recent recession, which is statistically over although it doesn’t feel like it. One of the best protest signs from the OWS people read, “It’s wrong to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail so that you can sell it to a client who isn’t aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon.”

The protestor in front of that hand-made sign, in the spirit of full disclosure, should’ve gone to the root of the problem with a poster reading something like, “It’s wrong for the government to force lenders to make loans to people they know are going to default on, and for the government to implicitly guarantee those loans through their mortgage agencies which forces securities companies to do everything listed on the next sign.”

Wall Street firms didn’t create the regulation that brought us to this juncture; they had to live with it. And they didn’t do the bailing out, they benefited from it. So why not go to the source of the bad regulation and the bailing out nonsense? Blaming Wall Street firms for the bailouts is like blaming the vagrant for accepting a handout or blaming parental overindulgence on the child that accepts his umpteenth iPad.

Bad behavior, whether on Wall Street or in the walls of our own homes should never be rewarded, regardless of the causal elements that contributed to it. Yet that’s precisely what the bailouts did. And if the OWS crowd could look past their ideological underpinnings they could see the causal forces of bad government regulation which led to the bailouts. Which when you think about it, actually represented a congressional bailout of their own failed policies related to the mortgage industry.

The illogic of the OWS folks gets even more interesting and hypocritical from there. Many of the protestors express the sentiment that their higher education should be given to them, or decrying the income gap between the rich and the poor. So what are they asking for? Money? A block grant for educational expenses? That sounds a great deal like a personal “bailout.” This duplicity shouldn’t surprise us, as logical homogeneity has never been a characteristic of the radical left.

The theme for the occupiers is straight out of a Socialism 101 textbook, “We are the 99%.” Lamenting the fact that they’re losing their jobs, losing their homes, and not getting paid enough, they aim their scorn in typical socialistic class-envy fashion to the “wealthy.” Considering that it was Washington regulation and policy that created the housing crisis, and it’s Washington politics the past five years that have turned off the spigot of private sector jobs, the fact is underscored that they should be protesting on the steps of the capitol rather than on Wall Street. If they wanted their protests to resonate with mainstream Americans, they would focus their efforts on the causal influences of their discontent, rather than the symbolic representations of what they don’t have.

This practice of demonizing the “haves” by the “have nots” is characteristic of all the socialist revolutions and is usually couched in terms like “social justice” in U.S. politics. Based on little more than covetousness, the notion is that the assets of the “haves” should be taken and redistributed to the “have nots.” While theoretically appealing from an egalitarian perspective, it is a classic Nirvana logical fallacy, for it assumes that such wealth redistribution is possible, even though it’s never succeeded even when it’s been attempted.

And to illustrate the inanity of such “social justice,” what happens when those who think, create, and produce are penalized inordinately for doing the very things that earned them their pecuniary reward? As with any legal activity for which there is a punishment, it will reduce its occurrence. And what happens to incentive, initiative, and productivity when all workers are compensated at the same level, regardless of output? What happens to individual self-worth and self-affirmation when compensation levels are equal and have no connection with productivity?

Clearly the Wall Street occupiers are little more than 21st century Bolsheviks, embracing and advancing an ideology based on egalitarian class-envy, narcissism, and covetousness, all of which are distinctly antithetical to the American tradition.

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

David Ripley: Herman Cain on Abortion

October 25th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Presidential candidate Herman Cain has been under fire in pro-Life circles since an interview on CNN last week, in which he made the following comments:
“It’s not the government’s role, or anybody’s else’s role to make that decision [about abortion],” Cain told CNN reporter Piers Morgan.

Naturally, pro-Life folks seeing the interview or reading about it were alarmed about the position Cain staked out – which sounds an awfully lot like a statement Hillary Clinton could make. Some of the campaigns, most notably Rick Santorum, jumped all over the quote – arguing that Herman Cain could not be trusted on abortion.

The problem for Cain is that this comment comes after he took a rather picayune view of the presidential questionnaire sent to him by the Susan B. Anthony List. (Only Cain and Romney refused to sign the four-point pledge). And Cain did not help himself much by rather casually responding to the budding controversy via Twitter with a simplistic: “I am 100% pro-Life”.

Concerns began to develop that he was one of those politicians who is “personally pro-Life” – but who would not press to restore legal protections for preborn children.

So – who is Herman Cain and is he pro-Life?

Material has begun to surface since the CNN exchange which confirms that Herman Cain is a solid pro-Life Christian.

The first thing to understand is that the CNN interview included a very strong statement by Cain that he was pro-Life – to the point of opposing exceptions for rape and incest. In fact, the above-quoted statement was in the context of explaining his understanding that pregnancies stemming from rape or incest were intensely personal and difficult situations for women and families to deal with.

Secondly, there is an important column by Leon Wolf on the RedState website. He goes into some detail explaining Cain’s historic involvement in the pro-Life movement while offering Cain an apology for initially (and rashly) accusing him to be “pro-choice”. Wolf describes that Cain has donated huge amounts of money to the pro-Life movement – particularly a campaign targeting black voters, urging them to vote pro-Life. (We were aware that Cain is especially sensitive to Planned Parenthood’s targeting of the black community).

Cain has also committed himself to supporting a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

There really isn’t much more that can be said about Cain, though some campaigns might try and drag this matter out. Mr. Cain has no doubt gained some valuable experience, and the rest of us have benefited by gaining a deeper understanding of his heart in this most crucial matter.

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

David Ripley: Gardasil Threat

October 21st, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

WorldNetDaily is carrying a story regarding grave health concerns – including 26 additional deaths – related to Gardasil injections.
Judicial Watch has obtained a batch of new documents from the FDA which show not only previously unreported deaths – but other serious reactions, like seizures, blindness, paralysis, and memory loss.

“These reports raise additional concerns about Gardasil’s questionable safety and provide ample reason to end the push to give it to young girls and boys. And the CDC’s continued caginess about reported deaths is disturbing. [Government officials] need to stop promoting this vaccine for children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The 26 deaths are in addition to another three dozen already documented. All told, there are something in the range of 20,000 “adverse events” associated with Gardasil vaccines in the public record.

In the WorldNetDaily article, Dr. Christian Fiala argues that, while the number of devastating health problems is rising – the basic science justifying the vaccine’s usage remains in grave doubt: “[T]here is no evidence that HPV vaccine reduces the overall number of cervical cancer cases.”

Is this another example of women and girls being abused by the medical establishment? Some nations have moved to block the use of Gardasil – but the CDC continues to champion its use, estimating that 48% of American girls have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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

Richard Larsen: Growing Pains at ISU

October 21st, 2011 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

Shared governance is a noble concept and can be symbiotic with both the bureaucratic and political models of a faculty senate when their vision for the university is in harmony with the administration. But we have witnessed over the past couple of years what happens when the agendas and objectives of the university’s components clash.

Robert Birnbuum authored a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education in 1989 titled “The Latent Organization Functions of the Academic Senate: Why Senates Do Not Work but Will Not Go Away.” Birnbuum documented the political role that faculty senates have had over the years. “In this model, the senate is seen as a forum for the articulation of interests and as the setting in which decisions on institutional policies and goals are reached through compromise, negotiation, and the formation of coalitions” and that “at best that they can provide a forum for the resolution of a wide range of issues involving the mission and operation of the institution.”

ISU’s shared governance system attempted to expand the role of the faculty senate to a bureaucratic entity. With this revised model, according to Birnbuum, “the faculty senate is either explicitly or metaphorically identified in bureaucratic terms, as they would ‘deal with the full range of academic and administrative matters (Camegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1983), and their purpose ‘approximates that of the college‘s management.’ (Keller, 1983).”

Birnbuum cites the academic research validating the fact that the faculty senate “exists at the pleasure of the administration and board of trustees,” and that because of this fact, their very existence is “tenuous.” He further explicates that the very existence of a faculty senate is acknowledgement by faculty members that they “recognize and accept the ultimate legal authority of the administration and board.” When faculty politics prevent cooperation with the ultimate authorities of a university, the faculty senate can, and should, be dissolved, as happened earlier this year.

Over the past few years we have witnessed the inevitable outcome when the administration and the faculty senate’s vision of a university and its governance diverge. Especially in light of recent challenges, it’s critical for all of us, especially ISU faculty and students, to acknowledge where the ultimate accountability for the university resides. The president is accountable to the State Board of Education, which is accountable to the state legislative and executive branches, which are in turn accountable to the citizens and taxpayers of the state. While it may be appealing to think of a democratic process governing our university, the reality is that it is a top-down management structure, and he who is most accountable in a public institution is who makes decisions at the top.

The transition to a research institution has obviously been painful and somewhat challenging to some faculty. But it is arguably the most logical move for the university since we are neither the Land Grant school for the state (University of Idaho) nor the most visible school nestled in the state capital (Boise State University). The efforts by the faculty with Vailas’ leadership have earned the university the designation of a Research High university by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for The Advancement of Education. This designation places ISU in an elite group of fewer than 100 of the nation’s 4,400 institutions of higher education.

With public resources continuing to decline, a review of the role and mission of the university was critical not only for continued excellence at the university, but for its very survival. The transition to a research school by President Vailas is a brilliant means to increase the diversification of revenue streams to the university, as exemplified by the $100 million partnership announced last week with Scan Tech. Such partnerships become increasingly critical to not only replace lost state funding but to prevent the cost of attending the university from rising to levels which would preclude many from attending. As state revenue has declined, the proportionate share of the costs of operations have been shifted primarily to students in the form of fees and tuition. With higher education inflation at over 7%, the cost of attending a university in the future will become increasingly limited to those who have the means. This is totally contrary to the role of a public university.

I am not privy to all the internal machinations and politics between the administration and the faculty senate. But as an alumnus, a product of, and a zealous supporter of ISU, the conflict between the faculty and the administration appears very self-serving on the part of the senate to retain more governing authority than is perhaps logical or warranted and resistant to the mission change. The vision of President Vailas, while disconcerting to faculty preferring to maintain the status quo, is critical to the future survival and growth of the most important component of the Pocatello economy, and one of the most significant in the state.

To validate that claim, the university employs over 2,100 of our friends and neighbors, has over 14,000 students enrolled, and has a direct impact of over $300 million on the local economy. And based on a 2010 study by candidates in the MBA program at ISU, the “productivity” effect on payrolls and economic impact is over $873 million annually. Clearly the university is critical to the state and Eastern Idaho in particular.

While I find myself sympathetic to the faculty senate and find merit in some of their publicly stated grievances, it seems apparent to me that at the root is an obdurate and unyielding adherence to the status quo, rather than a willingness to make the necessary adjustments and compromises to be “on board” with the new research focus and restructuring of the university. Have there been missteps by the administration in this transition? Undoubtedly. Have there been missteps by the faculty senate? Obviously, as the State Board of Education disbanded them for their recalcitrance.

In the context of these growth pains, one of Abraham Lincoln’s bold statements, a reference to the synoptic gospels, has perfect applicability. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” he declared. One of those aphoristic truths, the message seems clear as it relates to the future of Idaho State University. For the sake of the internal climate on campus, and the public perception, which has been tarnished, it behooves all parties to embrace the new research mission and governance structure. Unified, there is virtually no limit to the future greatness and impact, economically and culturally, that ISU can have on the state.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Remote Control Abortions

October 21st, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood is pushing a new business model – remote control abortions. Talk to someone who claims to be a doctor via the internet. He or she pushes a button, which opens a drawer containing death pills. Fast and profitable.
America’s Merchant of Death has been providing this “service” to women and girls in Iowa, and is now working to make the same offering available in Minnesota.

RU-486 was legalized by Bill Clinton in the waning days of his presidency. The regulations of the FDA required that the lethal drug regimen be used only during the first 49 days of a pregnancy. That means a doctor must confirm the gestational age of the baby prior to prescribing the drug.

The question naturally arises: How can a doctor make such a determination without a physical exam?

Obviously RU-486 is lethal to babies. But there is mounting evidence that it threatens women and girls as well. LifeNews reports that dozens of mothers have died from complications. And the FDA is collecting reports from over 2,000 girls and women of serious health problems.

If a girl uses the drugs from the remote-controlled drawer, what is she to do if she gets sick? Will the blinking computer screen help her get to the hospital if she starts bleeding?

Profits before women. That is the simple truth of Planned Parenthood’s business model.

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

David Ripley: HR 358 Passes House

October 14th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

HR 358 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 251-172. Idaho’s Labrador and Simpson voted for the measure.

The measure passed despite hysterical debate from Nancy Pelosi and a veto threat from her pal, Barack Obama.

Among other components, the Protect Life Act would prohibit any federal subsidy for abortions under various aspects of ObamaCare. It would also strengthen conscience protections for medical professionals and institutions who object to performing abortions.

Thank you to our congressmen, as well as lead sponsor Joe Pitts from Pennsylvania.

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

David Ripley: When Did Obama Lie?

October 13th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Recall the drama and promises Obama made around tax-payer funded abortions and his grand scheme for health care: In September, 2009 Obama told an assembled Congress – and a watching nation – that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place”.

Then, to cover the nakedness of Bart Stupak’s sell-out, Obama issued an Executive Order repeating his deception, complete with pretty, official letterhead.

For those still in doubt about what Obama is actually doing with our money, there is the threat just issued by his office to members of Congress. If HR 358, the Protect Life Act, passes Congress, Obama will veto it.

What terrible things would HR 358 do? It would create a federal law stating that NO money spent by the federal government, including tax credits or premium subsidies under ObamaCare, could be spent on abortion. In short, it would make certain that the Hyde Amendment applied to all the many welfare crevices of ObamaCare.

Every rational observer should ask: If, as Obama has repeatedly claimed, the Hyde Amendment already protects American taxpayers – what’s the problem? Why drag out the big presidential ruler to whack bad congressmen? Because, obviously, the structure of ObamaCare is loaded with direct and indirect subsidies for the Death Machine that is Planned Parenthood.

The Protect Life Act is expected to be considered by the full House on Thursday.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: The Question of Romney’s Faith

October 11th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

There were a number of interesting developments to come from the Values Voters Summit this past weekend. One of the dominant stories involved the Perry campaign’s use of Mitt Romney’s religion against him. This is another self-inflicted wound that may prove mortal.
In responding to the national controversy, FRC Chairman Tony Perkins issued a public statement:

“America is a country where religious freedom is constitutionally protected and where we respect the right for people to practice their faith publicly and peacefully in a free nation…. We clearly recognize the fact that Mormon theology includes doctrines that are distinct from Evangelical theology and Catholic theology. At the same time, the goal of the values voter movement is not to build a ‘National Church’. Our goal is to build a national coalition based on the shared values of respecting human life, strengthening natural marriage, defending religious liberty, promoting personal and fiscal responsibility, and maintaining our national security.”

Let’s be clear: There are many reasons to be concerned about Mitt Romney. His role in pushing abortion rights while governor, his support for socialized medicine in Massachusetts leading the list. But his faith is not an appropriate “wedge issue” for political advantage – such a strategy can only produce fractures in the conservative movement. And, we might add, a more divided nation.

And there are legitimate places to discuss the tenets of LDS theology – in the home, as a matter of personal faith. Or in seminaries, or in public debates between clergy and theologians; or even between friends over a cup of coffee (and orange juice).

But it is hard not to see the Perry camp’s use of Mormonism as a heavy-handed attempt to argue that Romney’s faith somehow disqualifies him from being president. Can you imagine anyone taking a public podium to argue that a person should not be president because he or she was Catholic or Jewish?

This event is more than presidential politics. It strikes close to home. The pro-Life movement in Idaho is vitally dependent upon the active support of people from different faith backgrounds – but who share a passionate belief in the value of all human life. We are grateful for the generous support we have received over the years from many great folks in the LDS community. It is not too much to say that we would not have achieved the victories we’ve enjoyed without their help.

Our sympathies go out to our many LDS friends for this sordid public moment, which has surely been hurtful.

As for Mr. Perry: He would be well-advised to quickly and emphatically distance himself from this unseemly misuse of religion. During that press conference he might go on to fix a couple other serious problems as well.

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

Richard Larsen: Obama’s Insidious “Fast & Furious” Crisis

October 10th, 2011 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Details of an elaborate and odious conspiracy by the administration to manufacture a crisis continue to surface. Their conspiracy, aided and facilitated by high level Justice Department officials is known by the operational name used by the department, “Fast and Furious.”

We now know by evidence produced internally by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and by government whistle-blowers, that the ATF was “gun running” illegal weapons into Mexico. From the fall of 2009 to the fall of 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agents and ATF agents were told by their superiors to “look the other way” as over 2,000 guns, including 50 caliber and AK-47 type assault rifles, were sold by government agents to illegal arms traffickers and smugglers who turned around and sold them to Mexican criminal organizations and drug cartels.

In a letter addressed to congressmen this week, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that the operation was “fundamentally flawed” and that “regrettably, its effects will be felt for years to come as weapons that should have been interdicted, but were not, continue to show up at crime scenes in this country and Mexico.”

And show up they have. As of last month, the weapons have been traced to over 200 crime scenes in Mexico, most of which were violent and resulted in fatal shootings. Ironically it’s the ATF’s own eTrace program, which tracks serial numbers of weapons, that identified the weapons involved.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in December, 2009 in Arizona, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed in February of this year by criminal elements using the contraband guns. AFT whistleblowers Vince Cefalu, Larry Alt, and John Dodson have all been either reassigned or terminated.

Those are the fundamental facts and events as chronicled by primary sources. Which brings us to the political element. First stop is Attorney General Holder himself, who in May told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had just learned “in recent weeks” about the now infamous operation. Yet two months earlier Holder had been sent a letter by congressional Republicans seeking his response to questions regarding the details of the operation. A month before that CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson shocked the nation when she exposed the details of Fast and Furious and revealed the early stages of the administration cover-up. To many of us, the fact that someone in mainstream media was actually delving into a scandal involving the Obama administration was as shocking as the operation itself.

But here’s the real kicker as it relates to Holder. From documents just released by Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa, Holder perjured himself in his May testimony. Those documents identified five different briefings that Michael Walther, Director of the National Drug Intelligence Center provided to Holder, starting in July of last year. In other words, the top law enforcement officer in the land perfidiously lied to congress about this illegal operation that he had known about for nearly a year from detailed briefings!

Two major questions are begging to be answered truthfully. First, how high in the administration does knowledge of this operation go? The higher it goes, the more complicit the entire Obama administration is in funneling contraband weaponry directly into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Holder knew, and we now know from Grassley’s and Issa’s documents that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel knew as well. They have blood on their hands.

Secondly, what was the intended purpose of the operation? The administration claims they wanted the guns smuggled “into Mexico and put them in the hands of cartel members, who were then to be arrested.” We know this isn’t true since the Border Patrol and ATF agents covering the area were told to “stand down” and not pursue the gun smugglers or the buyers.

The truth is implicitly revealed in Holder’s letter to congress this week when he told lawmakers that they should focus on “fixing loopholes in our laws that facilitate the staggering flow of guns each year across our border.” The White House obviously wanted to make the assault weapons they were selling to Mexican thugs such a problem that it would justify implementing much more stringent gun control. After all Obama has said many times, “We need to make the assault weapon ban permanent.”

Fast and Furious was an administration-manufactured crisis. We must remember that this administration believes they should “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” And if there isn’t one already, they will create one for their ideological agenda.

For obvious reasons, Holder denouncing the “staggering flow of guns across our border” is eerily similar to Obama’s denunciation of deficit spending! They create crises and blame others for them.

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