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David Ripley: Celebrating the 61st Idaho Legislature

March 31st, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Celebrating the 61st Idaho Legislature

The 61st Idaho Legislature adjourned for good on Thursday. Many legislators who have served Idaho well won’t be serving in the next one. It is right to thank them for their talents and sacrifices for the public welfare.
While much media hype was focused on the ultrasound bill this session, it is important to review the work of this Legislature with a wider lens. The 61st Legislature was good to the People of Idaho, and good to the pro-Life movement.

No doubt there is disappointment over the withdrawal of the ultrasound bill. But pro-Lifers across the state need to keep that single piece of legislation in perspective. It was wise for our friends at Right to Life to pull the bill back. With the help of the professional media, Planned Parenthood was able to frame the legislation in the public mind as some kind of attack on women. What’s that old saying? A lie travels around the world while the truth is putting its boots on. That certainly seems to capture the essence of why the ultrasound bill stalled this session.

But that is no reflection on the Idaho Legislature, or upon its commitment to protecting the sanctity of human life. And, in fact, we witnessed a number of heroes, particularly in the Senate, wage battle on behalf of women’s right to know the truth about abortion. That in itself is worthy of celebration.

In the last two years, 6 pro-Life bills were approved by these men and women and signed into law by Governor Otter. This year produced a very important step forward in securing greater protections for the elderly and disabled dealing with pressure from the medical establishment to prematurely relinquish their lives. SB 1348 establishes specific rights to food, water and medication; no longer can these basic human needs be classified as “extraordinary” medical intervention.

In addition, the Legislature did not impose President Obama’s “insurance exchange” upon the good people of Idaho. This was our highest legislative priority and we give thanks for the victory. We have seen this week that ObamaCare is in deep trouble on Constitutional grounds, and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will put a stake in the heart of this dangerous abuse of government power.

Thank you for your partnership through this sometimes difficult Session, and join us in honoring the accomplishments of the 61st Idaho Legislature.

Our attention now turns to the critical primary election. What happens on May 15th will set the table for Idaho’s future and our hopes for ending the scourge of abortion.

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

Richard Larsen: If You Take an Oath, Then Keep It – Oathkeepers

March 29th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

On January 20, 2009, President-elect Barack Hussein Obama stood in front of the portico on the west side of the U.S. Capital and recited an oath administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The promise Obama made was, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Officers in our military take a similar oath, when they avow, “I, [name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Even local law enforcement and first responders take a similar oath to support the Constitution. At all levels, those to whom are entrusted our safety, security, and lawful tranquility, swear or aver that they will support the Constitution of the United States. For military personnel especially, this is considered a lifetime oath, not just for their term in active duty.

Those who take oaths to uphold the Constitution should be expected to keep them. Clearly from what we see emerging from Washington these days, many who take the oath perfunctorily and cavalierly, don’t feel a compulsion to keep it. This has lead to the emergence of an organization dedicated to keeping the oath.
The Oathkeepers ( distinguish themselves from those who simply take the oath, and promise instead to actually “keep” it based on key provisions of the Constitution itself. They list ten things they will not do if so ordered, for any one would be anathema to the rights assured to all American citizens by our founding legal codex. The violation of any of these would constitute the most egregious, and totalitarian disembowelment of our fundamental liberties.

The Oathkeepers declare that they will not obey orders to: 1) disarm the American people; 2) conduct warrantless searches of the American people; 3) detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal; 4) impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state; 5) invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty; 6) blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps; 7) force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext; 8 ) assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control;” 9) confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies; or 10) infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

As fundamental as those “guaranteed” rights are to all Americans, there really is nothing controversial to the basic tenets of the group. What should be controversial is that we have politicians who, as evidenced by their legislation and executive orders, are opening the door to abuse of the most basic rights of our republic. They take the oath, but obviously have no intention of keeping it. That’s what should be alarming, and controversial, to all of us.

Those rights that Oathkeepers vow to uphold are promised by the Constitution to all of us, regardless of race, creed, political affiliation, or ideology. These truly are fundamental, and are not reliant on narrow or limited constitutional interpretation, but are generally accepted rights and privileges for all Americans.

In light of that, there really should be no American citizen unwilling to take, and keep, the same oath to support our basic constitutional rights that our president, our military, and our first responders take. In fact, if our politicians kept their oaths, there would be no need for the Oathkeepers. National legislation, like the National Defense Authorization Act, and executive orders, like the National Defense Resources Preparedness order from just last week, have opened the door to abuses of those very rights.

Mike Chism, a Pocatello resident who serves as the Idaho Chapter President for the national Oathkeepers organization, said they’re giving all citizens an opportunity to take the oath. City Councilman Jim Johnston will administer it on Wednesday the 28th at 6 p.m. in the Vision 12 Studio at City Hall. Said Chism, “Any American Citizen who wishes to either reaffirm their Oath, if they have once taken it, or any other Citizen who never has taken it, we’re offering that opportunity.”

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

Richard Larsen: Quantified Reasons Obama Should Not Be Re-elected

March 23rd, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

In a discussion this past week, someone raised the question of whether President Obama will have to go negative in his campaign against whoever happens to be his opponent. There probably is not a limit to how negative he’ll go in the campaign, as evidenced by the fact that his campaign released a TV ad this week attacking Sarah Palin, who as I recall, is not even on the ballot! His actual record doesn’t have much to offer to the thoughtful voter.

I don’t care for polls, but when objectively conducted, they constitute the most viable vehicle to quantify public sentiment, which is crucial when it comes to measuring the efficacy and effectiveness of the president’s accomplishments and policies. So while I personally disdain relying on polls, such studies, targeted at key Obama efforts for the first three years, may provide insight as to whether the president will be running on, or from, his record.

Of greatest concern to Americans should be the national debt. It is, as Hillary Clinton has said, an issue of “national security.” Obama owns this. $5 trillion of our debt, and three years of $1.5 trillion deficit spending are creations of Obama and his facilitating congress. Such fiduciary ineptitude would disqualify him for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, let alone our national president. He may dismiss it as inconsequential, but he cannot run from it.

Looking at his three signature legislative accomplishments, Obamacare is favored by just 42%, of Americans. But perhaps more importantly, “72 percent of Americans believe that the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, including 56 percent of Democrats,” according to Rasmussen from two weeks ago. And perhaps more significantly, “65% of doctors believe healthcare will deteriorate in the next five years” because of it.

The “Stimulus” was not viewed positively just a year after its passage. “Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they think the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was a “waste,” compared to just 29 percent who think the money was well-spent,” according to an ABC Washington Post poll.
The last legislative “accomplishment” is actually seen as a positive for congress, the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul. But if people understood that it defined “too big to fail,” virtually assuring future bailouts of big banks and financial institutions, they wouldn’t be too keen on that landmark legislation either, since only 9% view the big banks and the recent bailouts positively. Only a slight majority, 51%, views the auto bailouts unfavorably.

He can’t very well run on his record for helping gas prices, for as we saw this week, as they have skyrocketed, his approval ratings took a 10% hit…in one month. Currently 61% feel he’s handling gas prices poorly.

Perception on the jobs situation has improved, but can any of his policies be traced to amelioration of that malaise? Here there seems to be a real disconnect with voters, since his approval rating improves when unemployment drops, but when pressed for what he’s done to improve job creation, those polled by Gallup recently could not identify anything specifically that he’s done for the non-farm payrolls to increase. And in a CBS poll recently only 38% of respondents thought the president had a plan for creating jobs.

Couple that with a Zogby poll a few months ago where “just one third of the public feels President Obama deserves re-election while five times more Americans think Obama has done a worse job fixing the economy than Jimmy Carter, the modern era’s Herbert Hoover.” Overall, 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy according to the latest ABC Washington Post poll.

When we look at the raw polling data on the specific areas where Obama has expended most of his effort, we’re hard pressed to find anything substantive from a public sentiment standpoint that he can hang his hat on. Rather, we find mostly wide public disapprobation over what he has actually done, rather than what he claims to have accomplished.

So will he run on his record? It’s unlikely. If his record was a scorecard, it would be filled with “D”s and “F”s. Voters bought his “hope” and “change” mantra without any record to run on four years ago. Will there be a similar logical disconnect this year, with a record? Hopefully voters will be more logical, and less emotional and gullible, this time around. Only with copious spin and misrepresentation can his “record” appear viable to reasonable voters. After all, elections provide our opportunity to hire, or fire, our leaders based on actual performance; as opposed to how well they can tell us they did.

Based on his own words from 2009, his administration should be a “one-term proposition.” If he’s not part of the solution, he’s part of the problem and clearly should go.

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

David Ripley: Senate Approves Bill to Protect Seniors and Disabled

March 20th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

A very important bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, was approved yesterday by the Idaho Senate on a vote of 24-10. SB1348 provides new protections for the sick and elderly by making it specifically illegal to withdraw food, water or medication from a patient unless that patient has specifically directed a hospital or doctor to do so under the provisions of a Living Will.

This legislation will help to prevent medical staff or hospice care directors from deciding that a patient should be pushed toward death because their life is “no longer worth living”. And it changes the status of food and hydration as some kind of extraordinary medical treatment on a plane with mechanical breathing aids.

The bill also removes the ability of medical staff to impose their own philosophical beliefs upon a patient. Using federal language, SB1348 prohibits discrimination against the disabled in providing care and requires that doctors use a more objective standard in determining which treatments to provide to disabled or elderly patients. The language of this proposed law could be of critical importance should the Obama Administration’s goal of rationed medicine be realized.

We have sought for some time to fix current law, which allows a doctor to deny medical treatment to a patient when they determine it is “medically inappropriate” or “futile”. Since those terms are presently undefined, medical staff with a bent toward “duty to die” ethics have a fairly wide latitude to impose their philosophy on patients unable to protect themselves.

All Senate Democrats voted against the legislation. They were joined by three Republicans: Joyce Broadsword (Sagle), Dan Johnson (Lewiston) and Tim Corder (Mountain Home).

SB1348 now goes to the House, where efforts will be led by Rep. Erik Simpson.

Our sincere thanks to Sen. Nuxoll, Senate Leadership and Sen. Curt McKenzie for facilitating the movement of this important pro-Life bill.

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

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Fights Ultrasound Bill

March 15th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The hearing room was filled with an odd combination of Planned Parenthood operatives and Occupy Boise activists, working together to intimidate members of the Senate into killing SB 1387. Despite very heated rhetoric and boorish behavior by opponents, the State Affairs Committee approved the Ultrasound bill on a 7-2 vote.

Only Democrats Edgar Malepeai and Michelle Stennett voted against the bill.

SB 1387 would require an ultrasound prior to performance of an abortion. It would also require that the woman sign a form indicating that she had been given an opportunity to view the image.

One of the more powerful moments of the hearing came at the end. A doctor had argued during testimony that the committee should set aside its “misguided” concern for the unborn and focus on the discomfort women might experience in undergoing an ultrasound. Sen. Brent Hill moved the bill, saying that he was doing so precisely because of his concern for preborn children.

There is no doubt that this legislation, if enacted, will save babies. It will also ensure that many women will be saved from a lifetime of regret because they will gain access to critical information.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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

David Ripley: Obama Cuts Adoption Program

March 10th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In yet another display of his war on preborn children, President Obama has eliminated federal support for a program which helps to facilitate the adoption of unwanted embryos created in the nation’s fertility clinics.

Rep. Chris Smith, a leading force behind the creation of the “Snowflake baby” program during the Bush years to create public awareness that clinics hold thousands of frozen embryos available for adoption, blasted the decision as “dehumanizing”.

By the cold logic of the Obama Administration, it is better that these human beings are destroyed as waste or material for medical research.
The $2 million dollar program may be the only federal program eliminated during the Obama years. Meanwhile, his Administration pumps $1 million each day into the empire that is Planned Parenthood.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 5

March 5th, 2012 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

There’s a little convenience store in Ammon where I was visiting with the owner about various and sundry matters. Whenever I stop by there, he always engages me in a conversation about one thing or another having to do with government. He was waiting on another customer and forgot to give her one of the items that she had purchased. When she came back to the store for her item he was very apologetic. After she had gone, he turned to me and said that he wasn’t enjoying getting older very much because he kept forgetting things. I agreed immediately with him about those prospects but I told him that the only way out of these kinds of problems is through them.

We are starting to clean off some of the committee calendars at present, which means a heavier workload on the House floor. Some days we get a lot done there and other days not so much. Whenever there is a long and protracted debate about a piece of legislation, it slows the process down but that’s a good thing. We make big mistakes when we go too fast. There was a little bit of comic relief the other day when representative, Ken Andrus from Lava Hot Springs, presented a bill about wool growers. He was asked a lot of questions about the bill that is located in the section of the law about sheep and goats. There was concern about the goat grower’s not being able to participate with the wool growers because most goats don’t have wool. Angora goats were mentioned as a possibility to solve that dilemma. One Representative asked, “Could a goat grower buy just one Angora goat?” His answer, “It’s a free country.”

There was a lot of discussion on the floor involving an income tax cut bill which in essence makes the Idaho income tax into an almost flat tax. This is a proposal that has been pushed by Governor Otter in what he and others see as an economic development tool. Another selling point of the legislation was to take some money off the table in future years. The bill passed the House quite handily but it may have problems in the Senate.

Another interesting piece of legislation in the state affairs committee this last week, was a cigarette rolling machine that some of the tobacco shops have been using to provide for a variety of different tobaccos. It has been discovered that some of these machines have been used to roll pipe tobacco into cigarettes, thereby avoiding the higher taxes associated with other types of tobacco. We hear a lot about level playing fields around this place and this was probably the biggest reason it was forwarded to the whole House was to make sure everybody pays the same tax.

Representative Gibbs and I were involved in discussions between high-ranking people from Monsanto and Rocky Mountain Power. Legislation has been introduced in the house that provides for advanced knowledge of capital projects of the investor owned utilities. I think we opened the door for productive discussions to take place, and we hope that we have been able to get something constructive done. I’m not sure any of these parties really want to air out their differences in public by way of a full-blown committee hearing. I wish it were simpler than it is to decide what to do in this matter. The rate setting process, which involves the Public Utilities Commission, is a very complicated one. But then I suppose the only way out of this may be through it.

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

David Ripley: Liberals Know Best

March 4th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

ICL Executive Director David Ripley public issued a response to yesterday’s press release from Democratic leaders attacking several pro-Life bills pending in the legislature.

“The press release from the Democratic Party purports to speak for all Democrats,” Ripley said. “I hope that’s not true. In fact, I believe it is not.”

“They claim that legislation which would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion threatens a woman’s health,” Ripley continued. “That is not only ridiculous, it is logically contradicted by the language of the bill. Ultrasounds pose no health threat, and, in fact, are important to protecting the health of women. Abortionists regularly use them to learn the baby’s gestational age. That helps ensure a safer abortion procedure.”

“SB 1349 will strengthen the Informed Consent Law by making sure that women and girls have the information they need to make a careful decision before undergoing a life-altering procedure. ”

“The Democrat attack on this legislation also betrays a certain paternalism toward women,” Ripley said. “Women and their babies are best served by having access to complete medical information before they undergo an abortion. This bill does nothing to deprive women or girls of their present authority to make that decision.”

“That same ‘liberals-know-best’ attitude is demonstrated by their attack on another bill – SB1348. The Democrat press release claims that this end-of-life protection constitutes an ‘attack’ on the rights of patients and their families. Again, this turns logic on its head and is refuted by the plain wording of the bill.”

“SB 1348 actually protects the rights of patients and their families,” Ripley continued. “We are working to ensure that only a patient or her legal surrogate can decide whether to forego food and water. No one else should be able to deny a patient these most basic needs.”

“It is especially important to construct these kinds of legal safeguards for patient rights with the threat of ObamaCare hanging over our heads,” Ripley concluded. “Rationing of services by nameless bureaucrats is a near certainty if the federal take-over of health care is realized. We must act to protect health care providers and hospitals, as well as patients, from that threat.”

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

David Ripley: The Relentless Logic of Death

March 4th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Two European moral philosophers have caused a stir by arguing that babies should be vulnerable to “post-birth abortion” (otherwise known as murder) because they have not yet become a person. In their article, After-birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?, Dr. Francesca Minerva and Alberto Giubilini take the position that it should be legal to kill newborns for the same reasons it is acceptable to kill them in the womb. If they are imperfect, too much of a burden – or simply unwanted – then it is moral for a woman to dispose of them.

Apparently Minerva acknowledges that babies are human, but believes that they don’t acquire personhood until two years after birth.
Many in Europe have offered public condemnation of the two academics and their paper.

The London-based Daily Mail quotes Lord Alton, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Pro-Life as saying, “It is profoundly disturbing, indeed shocking, to see the way in which opinion-formers within the medical profession have ditched the professional belief of the healer to uphold the sanctity of human life for this impoverished and inhumane defense of child destruction.”

Of course Minerva’s views are shocking. But that is not the important point.

In a perverse way, she is doing a public service. She is extending the arbitrary logic of abortion to those of us who have survived the womb. Given her assumptions, it is difficult to logically argue with her conclusions. But given the evil which she embraces – we know something is dangerously wrong with her assumptions, indeed, the assumptions underpinning the whole abortion culture.

The heart of the problem is the willful belief that all human beings are not persons. Certainly Dr. Minerva did not invent that particular horror – she is just playing with it. Many cultures declared blacks to be non-persons; Hitler did the same with Jews. Feminists have done it to children in the womb, and some in the medical profession would so treat the disabled or elderly.

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

Richard Larsen: Obama “Showing Up” to Take Credit

March 2nd, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

I recall vividly an experience growing up on a farm years ago when I claimed credit for doing something one of my brothers did. It was a task assigned to me, which I failed to carry out. But my brother completed it before I could. My father, in his wisdom, upon learning of my unearned credit, sardonically asked me, “Don’t you know how dishonest that is?”

I did know it was dishonest, but that experience piqued my attention to claims of credit unearned. And now that presidential politics are into full swing, the claims of unearned credit are being self-proclaimed nearly every day.

A visit to the official presidential reelection campaign website reads like a bad fiction novel. Improvements in various sectors of the economy and our collective financial viability as a country are claimed as “accomplishments” of the president.

Obama claiming credit for an economic rebound is like an old girlfriend of mine in high school who claimed credit for every time our Snake River High School football team won. She claimed that whenever she went to a game, we won. Just “showing up” caused the win. Correlation is not to be mistaken for causation.
Certainly if he’s to be given credit for an improving economy, we should be able to identify and quantify, to at least some extent, what he has done to ameliorate our moribund economy. Any policy of his, any legislative accomplishments, any executive orders that he has issued or implemented should provide the evidence to validate his claims.
His three most significant legislative exploits provide no evidence of causation for improving the economy. Obamacare certainly doesn’t stimulate the economy, for it is laden with new taxes and fees imposed on individuals and employers to be implemented over the next few years. And actually when those new taxes hit, the adverse impact on the economy will be considerable. For as Christina Romer, former chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, revealed last year, “Tax changes have very large effects: an exogenous tax increase of 1 percent of GDP lowers real GDP by roughly 2 to 3 percent.”

How about the FinReg, Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform? As with Obamacare, there is nothing stimulative in it either. It only solidifies the crony capitalistic relationship between Wall Street, the major banks, and Washington by assuring further government intervention with institutions deemed “too big to fail.” The costs of implementation at the private sector level will likely result in higher fees, charges, and interest rates for financial institutions to recoup the implementation costs. That’s definitely not stimulative!

The claims for improving the economy must be in the president’s “stimulus” package. According to the Wall Street Journal, over half of the $850 billion ($1.1 trillion, including interest) “stimulus” bill could be more correctly classified as discretionary spending. The Congressional Budget Office “scoring” of the stimulus package indicated that only 12 cents of every dollar would have a stimulative affect on the economy within the first 18 months. The scoring process clearly indicated the impotence of the “Stimulus” for creating positive economic activity.

Then there must be some evidence in his executive orders then, a total of 111 that he’s issued to date. Of those, most deal with regulation, government agencies, commissions, and appointments. Perusing all the executive orders I didn’t see one that was designed to augment the economy, improve job prospects for out of work Americans, or stimulate economic growth.

In three years at the helm, in real world economics, there is only one thing that I can recall that he did that had any potential to stimulate the economy, and that was extension of the payroll tax holiday. And for the average American that is fortunate enough to have a job, that amounts to $40 per month.
Even his unprecedented increase in government spending cannot be considered as stimulative. There are some academic die-hards, many of whom are currently serving in the administration, who still adhere to that aspect of Keynesian economic theory. And it’s hard to understand why, unless it’s just “bitter clinging” to an archaic ideology, for it’s failed every time it’s been attempted, by any administration, including FDR’s.

The great Nobel Laureate for economics, Milton Friedman, declared a couple of years ago, “unbridled government spending is the single greatest deterrent to faster economic growth in the United States today.” He’s probably rolling over in his grave as he observes the unparalleled spending spree the federal government is engaging in.

Sorry, Mr. President, you have no grounds to claim credit for the modicum of improvement we’ve seen since the recession officially ended. Any improvement is in spite of your policies, not because of them. Just “showing up” does not a win make. And as my father taught me years ago, claiming credit where none is warranted, is dishonest.

AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

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