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Richard Larsen: Understanding Constitutionality

June 29th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

There clearly is some misunderstanding about what is deemed constitutional and what is not. Even if one has the most stringent, literal interpretation of the governmental powers and rights enumerated in our founding legal document, the Constitution, there are a lot of changes that have been made to the literal meaning of the document over the past 223 years.

Those changes are not just in the form of Amendments, of which we have 27. They also come in the form of legislative statute and Supreme Court precedent, which have largely redefined the relationship of the average citizen to the federal government. The result is that very little that is in the Constitution is literally applied today, much to the consternation of those of us who believe in freedom and limited governmental power over the individual.

The issue emerged just this last week in an editorialized news piece by the online news source, New American, which took exception to a comment that presidential candidate Mitt Romney made to Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s Face the Nation. Romney said, “I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.”

Actually the Constitution says precious little about the Declaration of War. Article One, Section Eight only specifies that “Congress shall have power to…declare War.” But clarifying and applying greater specificity to the wording in the Constitution, Congress passed The War Powers Act of 1973, which clarified what a “declaration of war,” is and when it’s necessary.

The War Powers Act specifies that the president must notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action, and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with an additional 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization by Congress. So Romney is correct, that he would have 90 days to be engaged militarily (a quick strike of nuclear facilities could take one night). And he would be completely within his constitutional authority as president, as elucidated by legislative statute.

To illustrate how judicial precedent affects constitutionality of statute based on constitutionally enumerated powers, a 2001 Supreme Court ruling clarified that Congress doesn’t have to pass a literal “Declaration of War,” to authorize the president to engage in military action. The court ruled that any resolution of support, or congressional funding of the military action, is equivalent to a Declaration of War.

While the Constitution is our foundational legal document, we must remember that we’ve got nearly 223 years of legislative statute and judicial precedence that have clarified and refined the original text, whether we like it or not.

The same has happened with nearly every aspect of the Constitution. Each legislative statute and each judicial ruling, refines, redefines or reinterprets aspects of our foundational legal document. If an Act of congress passes and is signed into law, it builds upon the body of law interpreting the powers granted to them by our most cherished parchment. If such an Act is challenged through the judicial system, and is either validated or invalidated by judicial ruling, the highest jurisdictional ruling on the Act stands, thereby defining anew some aspect of our relationship with the Constitution.

We will learn this week, in all likelihood, another aspect of that relationship. The Supreme Court will release its ruling on whether the government can mandate whether citizens are required to buy certain products and services, with their ruling on Obamacare. If they rule it is constitutional for the government to force us to buy health insurance, governmental control over our lives will be fundamentally, and perhaps, irreversibly altered.

Aside from policies, personality, and whether our respective presidential candidates are “in touch with Americans,” this is the most compelling distinction between Romney and President Obama. Romney has committed to appoint justices with “strict constructionist, judicial philosophy,” and has praised Justices Roberts and Alito as characteristic of the kind of justices he would nominate. President Obama, to the contrary, has appointed two justices whose judicial disposition is antithetical to strict constitutional interpretation.
For those of us who believe the founding fathers knew precisely what they were doing in limiting governmental power in the Constitution, maintaining the slight constructionist edge on the Supreme Court is perhaps the most compelling reason to vote for Romney in November. If you believe in freedom and liberty, it is, in fact, the most compelling reason to elect, at all levels, leaders who believe we must return to the original intent of our founding documents.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Stunning Development

June 29th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The initial reaction to the Roberts decision yesterday was, we dare say, universal shock. Not just for the content of the ruling on ObamaCare, but the way the five votes were pieced together. It just seemed impossible that Chief Justice Roberts could be the “swing” vote, banding with uber-leftists like Kagan and Ginsburg to uphold the biggest social engineering project since … well, maybe ever in American history.
Please say it ain’t so, John.

Our bet is that the shock extended to the White House and Democrat congressional offices. All the spin from the architects of ObamaCare was signaling that they anticipated a beat-down by the nation’s high court.

With some 200 pages of legal writings being produced by the Court, it will take some time to digest the nuances and fuller ramifications.

But, as George Will and others have already noted, there are some important elements of the majority ruling from which to draw encouragement:

First, a majority of the Court apparently found that there was some kind of practical limit to the Congress’ abuse of the Commerce Clause to justify their profligate spending and social experimentations. Long term, that is a good thing. Potentially a very good thing.

But in the immediate picture, one can see some real value in the Court’s ruling. Conservatives should not be overly dependent upon an institution like the federal courts to save the nation. Perhaps this went through Roberts’ mind as he set his course. The fallout from the decision is that the average citizen will now have the power and responsibility for determining America’s future course. Will we accept the promises and delusions of the Obama Revolution? Or will we rise up this November to reject his vision and stage a counter-revolt?

Romney is not the ideal candidate under this scenario, but he is offering America a clear commitment to repeal ObamaCare while defending our historic constitutional republic. The president’s re-election, on the other hand, would seal our fate as a social democracy.

There is reason to be hopeful. Dick Morris, for example, observed that Obama may have won the battle (over ObamaCare), but is destined to lose the war (for re-election). Another pundit commented that the Left reacted to the Roberts decision with a sigh of relief, while the Right has been breathing fire.

We will need that passion to defend America in coming months.

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

Richard Larsen: No Ideological Schism in Local GOP

June 20th, 2012 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

Intra-party struggles are nothing new. In a two-party system as we have, there are always party members who feel theirs is either too liberal, or too conservative. What we have experienced this past year in local, state, and national party structures is nothing new, as ideologies are parsed, and attempts are made by individuals or groups of individuals to swing party allegiance one way or the other.

Typically internal party challenges are ideologically oriented. That’s what the primary election process is all about; selecting candidates for each of the two major parties that are felt by party voters to best represent their respective parties.

The intra-party struggle for self-identity can be characterized aptly by the Asian yin and yang, the symbol closely identified to Taoism. The light and dark teardrop shapes are constantly in a state of flux or self-identification, and yet share the majority of their border with the other. This connection indicates how perceived contrarian forces are truly interconnected as well as interdependent.

Likewise, the forces of party self-definition, seeking their ideological identity, are constantly in a state of flux, where current economic and political climate, candidates, and ascending ideologies affect the overall composition of the party. One is not good while the other bad, but they’re both critical to the overall composition of the party as the forces vie for ascendency in every election cycle.

Political labels are unavoidable, as political parties, candidates, pollsters, and media all incorporate them for purposes of identification and classification. Some, however, are used pejoratively, as in the classification of “RINOs,” (Republicans in Name Only), and the “Old Guard, which are sometimes used interchangeably, though incorrectly.

The “Old Guard” in most cases constitutes the long-time, sometimes life-long, party leaders who have been in the trenches fighting the good fight for conservatism all along. They are, by definition, not synonymous with “RINOs,” as they have been the standard bearers shaping the party platform over the years, where RINOs clearly reject many if not all, of the conservative planks.

Headlines in the Journal of late have indicated a schism within the ranks of the Bannock County Republican Party apparatus. The headlines are based falsely, in my estimation, on a difference in ideology. Having been on board from the earliest stages of the Tea Party movement locally, I know what the movement is based upon. The ten planks of the Tea Party movement are: eliminate excessive taxes, eliminate the national debt, eliminate deficit spending, protect free markets, abide by the Constitution of the United States, promote civic responsibility, reduce the overall size of government, believe in the people, avoid the pitfalls of politics, and maintain local independence.

This past week I had the opportunity to visit extensively on ideology, campaigning, organization, and electioneering with those classified as the “Old Guard” of the Republican Party in Bannock County. With each one, I reviewed the core principles of the Tea Party movement, as listed above. And without exception, each one agreed in toto.

Having known these men for years, I would’ve been surprised by any response to the contrary, for they are honorable, civic-conscious conservatives who uphold and defend the Constitution and have spent the majority of their adult lives advancing conservative principles.

This presents a conundrum for the relative newcomers to the party, the Tea Partiers and Ron Paul supporters, for if there is no ideological chasm that exists between them and the “Old Guard,” what is the source of animus?

It seems to me that the original source of the schism seems to be an artificial one created by a neophyte who appeared locally on the scene a few years ago and then left just as suddenly, who somehow convinced the newcomers that the Old Guard was the “enemy.” And without an ideological basis upon which to make such an assertion, the “Old Guard” became disparaged and demonized.

In the absence of ideological differences, all that remains is more superficial stylistic distinctions of leadership style, organization, and management, none of which are sufficiently substantive to warrant the degree of acrimony recently observed.

This brings us to the Tea Partiers and the Ron Paul libertarians. The Tea Party movement found traction in the perception that President Obama and his facilitating congress were racing the country to a constitutional and fiscal precipice, at which the republic would be cast to ruin. Ron Paul, as a libertarian Republican, capitalized on much of the Tea Party momentum with his no-nonsense approach to reducing spending, basing federal governance on constitutional principles, and denouncing the devaluation of the dollar by the Federal Reserve. Notice I said much of the Tea Party momentum. One can be a Tea Party conservative and not be a Ron Paul supporter, as I have illustrated in earlier columns, and which fact I stand in evidence of.

Tea Party conservatives are opposed to the direction the country is headed, and strive for a return to the constitutional precepts, economic system, and classical-liberal ideals that made America great, and can make her great once again. Ron Paul supporters, for the most part, believe similarly, but with the proviso that inextricably connects a single persona with those principles. As a result, they fall subject to the same errant “messiah” complex that Obama sycophants connected with him as the standard bearer of “hope and change.” A messiah complex is creepy enough on it’s own, but in politics, is both disturbing and illogical.

It is a mistake to embrace one person as the embodiment of correct principles, unless one is speaking eschatologically of The Messiah, for there’s only one of Him.
One of the dogmatic and idyllic characteristics of these groups is the rejection of compromise, for that’s a “sin” in their lexicon. If compromise is seen as abdication and acquiescence, I totally agree, it should be a “sin.” But true compromise on legislation and political issues is the way to get things done, and can be done without sacrificing one’s principles. For the reality is, nothing in politics happens without some compromise; each side giving up a little in order to facilitate governance.

If we approach politics as we do our personal religious convictions, we will forever live in disillusionment over the political process, lose our zeal and motivation, and never have a positive impact on the process, for we can never have things entirely our way. But compromise to bring reality closer to our ideality, is not only requisite, it’s fundamental to having an incrementally positive impact on our political system.

There’s a simple three-step process for the local GOP to function cohesively and in unison for this election cycle and the future: For all factions and persons involved in the perceived schism to realize that there is no ideological divide! We’re all essential spokes in the same wheel. Follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican,” and discontinue the divisive and demonizing speech and inferences. And finally, get to work, together, for united we stand, but divided we fall. If we’re not part of the solution to create such cohesiveness, we’re part of the problem of divisiveness and failure.

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

David Ripley: Reflections on Romney’s Pro-life Position

June 20th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

LifeNews is carrying an interesting guest opinion by Dr. Jack Willkie, the current president of Life Issues Institute. He acknowledges a certain skepticism about Mitt Romney’s pro-Life commitment and goes on to relate his experience with George Bush, Sr. following his installation as Reagan’s Vice-President.

Dr. Willkie writes about a lengthy meeting he held with Bush in 1980, during which he explained the scientific evidence demonstrating the humanity of preborn children from the moment of conception. He claims that this conversation resulted in a conversion by Bush, Sr. to a pro-Life position. In fact, Dr. Willkie claims that Bush ended the meeting with a commitment to support a state-by-state right to protect preborn children from the scourge of abortion.

He also describes a similar meeting between Mitt Romney and Dr. William Hurlbut when Governor Romney struggled with the issue embryonic stem cell research.
The article is well worth the read. Here is a link.

At the same time, one must confess that the issue of Romney’s sincerity on pro-Life issues is now largely moot. No person of conscience could possibly support Barack Obama’s re-election after considering the hateful and destructive record he has enthusiastically built over three-and-a-half years.

Still, the article by Willkie helps move pro-Lifers from a position of opposing Obama to one of supporting the de facto Republican nominee.

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

Richard Larsen: Adjustment to the Entitlement Mentality

June 18th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

When John F. Kennedy made the now seminal statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” a responsive chord was struck with Americans of all political persuasions. It rang true with us. For we have always been a nation of givers, helpers, producers, and doers. But the aphorism seems of less relevance now, as increasingly we’re a nation of takers; getting as much as we can personally from our neighbors who are producers, through government redistribution tactics, without regard to fiscal soundness or the inevitable ultimate consequences.

Whether it’s those on the growing poverty rolls voting for candidates who they think will give them more, or ideologically aligned groups of voters seeking aggrandizement and benefits beyond what the average American enjoys, the trend seems to be increasingly, “Ask not what you can do for your country, but ask what your country (or politician) can do for you.”

It’s certainly too soon to tell with certitude, but this could possibly be one component to the retention of Scott Walker as Wisconsin governor. Because it wasn’t an isolated case, as the cities of San Jose and San Diego had historic elections this week granting city leaders more flexibility in reducing presumed entitlements of their unionized employees.

Ben Franklin is attributed the quote, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” A certain class of politicians has preyed on income disparity, victimhood, and class envy as a means of eliciting support from those constituents on the premise that they are their champions, that the “victims” were entitled to more of what the producers in our society had, and that they, the politicians, would rectify the “unfairness.”

Public employee unions have perfected the mechanics of that process. They provide essential services that we all benefit from and need. Their union dues buy political influence by supporting and electing public officials of like mind. Yet those bought-and-paid-for public officials, when sitting in on contract negotiations, end up representing those who bought their position for them, rather than the taxpayer who funds it. Consequently, as was the case in Wisconsin, public employees were earning salaries and benefits up to 50% higher than similar private sector jobs, with little personal contribution to pension and health care benefits.

As the brilliant economist Thomas Sowell has illustrated, “A ‘safety net’ can easily become a hammock. ‘Social justice’ can easily become class warfare that polarizes a nation, while leading those at the bottom into the blind alley of resentments, no matter how many broad avenues of achievement may be available to them.” While the unions’ safety net differs markedly, the principle is the same. In some places, it has become a hammock.

Long gone, in places like Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose, is the concept of being a civil servant. The levels of expectation and entitlement have lavished salaries and benefits on the sector that dwarf private industry. The votes this week serve, at least as a temporary reminder, that government employees work for us, the citizens and taxpayers, not the other way around. As long as we pay their salaries, fund their pensions, and pay their health care costs, they’re our employees.

The National Review said of the Wisconsin recall election, “Walker won because he represented the taxpayer, while his opponent represented the groups whose livelihoods depend on bilking the taxpayer. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett served as less of an alternative than a vessel for Big Labor’s unmoored wrath. … And, most of all, Scott Walker saved his job by being the adult in the room.”

The tactics employed by those who adhere to the entitlement mentality are unremarkably the same, whether utilized by the Occupy Wall Street folks or the public service unions. The Wall Street Journal reminded us this week of what those in Wisconsin did. “They occupied the state capital for weeks. They harassed GOP lawmakers and their families, tried to recall state Senators and defeat a conservative Supreme Court judge, while Democrat lawmakers abdicated their legislative duty by fleeing the state.”

The politics of victimhood and self-interest preys upon the most fundamental of emotions. Regrettably when such is the preoccupation with the political process, other logical priorities, like feasibility and sustainability, are relegated to subordinated status. The future viability of a community, a state, and a nation, are thereby jeopardized, while “kicking the can” down the road to future generations to pay the costs.

The lessons for voters, elected officials, and public employees are many from this week’s historically significant elections. Let’s hope the country is now prepared to follow Wisconsin’s lead with a taxpayer renaissance, with sustainability and feasibility as top-tier priorities, supplanting self-interest and personal aggrandizement.

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

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Inside the Gate

June 8th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In a preview of Obama’s plan for every public school in the country, the Los Angeles School District announced that it was moving past a “partnership” with Planned Parenthood. It is apparently too inconvenient to transport kids to the Abortion, Inc. offices. Now they will operate a sex clinic right inside Roosevelt High School.

The LA Times reports that the new arrangement will begin in the fall. Planned Parenthood will offer “counseling”, test for STDs, and provide free birth control. The story doesn’t indicate whether kids can get free abortions in between geometry and social studies, but it is fair to assume that such services will be made available one way or another.

Some of our more liberal friends may be disturbed that we are laying this at the feet of Barack Obama.

Such complaints would involve nothing more than deception. The health care take-over planned by Obama and Nancy Pelosi has many elements of evil – and one that has received precious little attention is their plan to extend Planned Parenthood’s reach into public schools by establishing school-based clinics. The moral, emotional and physical destruction of America’s youth which will certainly follow such a development is difficult to exaggerate.

The insane liberals running the schools in Los Angeles are merely jumping the gun on Obama’s big plans for the entire nation.

Defeat of Obama’s scheme to impose a new social order on America must happen. Hopefully we receive good news from the Supreme Court later this month. If not, conservatives of all stripes must unite this fall to ensure that Obama is turned out of the Oval Office.

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

David Ripley: The Poisonous Fruit of Abortion for Profit

June 6th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Drudge is carrying a link to a series of stories on Planned Parenthood’s support of sex-selection abortions. Perhaps it will serve to awaken some people to the depravity of abortion-for-profit. Perhaps it will help people understand what can go wrong when we allow a government-sponsored corporation to market death.

But only if we have the moral strength to ponder this ugliness.

Sadly, many will continue to motor down the road, distracting themselves with an inane text message until the discomfort passes.

Planned Parenthood has built a powerful conglomerate around the idea of enabling a “woman’s choice”, regardless of how morally corrupt or depraved that “choice” might be. It is even willing to destroy other women (in the form of preborn baby girls and in the form of their mothers who must live with the consequences of this desperate decision).

Surely even some pro-abortion folks around the nation will find it ironic that the feminist movement has matured into a machine for the destruction of baby girls simply because they are … inconveniently female.

History tells us that when compelling ideas produce poisonous fruit, it is past time to re-examine the assumptions underlying those grand ideas. There is something fundamentally wrong. Can the feminist movement find the moral courage to engage in such a soul search?

We in the pro-Life movement must so pray.

Here is a link to the story.

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Thomas Grier: Ignore the Spin, Wisconsin was a Disaster for Democrats and Obama

June 6th, 2012 by Halli

By Thomas Grier

If you pause and listen carefully, you might be able to hear the despair coming from Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist and communications director, as the meaning of Wisconsin’s recall election becomes clear.

In the final hours before Governor Scott Walker’s victory, with the writing on the wall, President Obama and his campaign could only muster a tweet and a last-minute video for challenger Tom Barrett. But do not let that tepid support fool you: Democrats and their union allies spent an astronomical amount on a judicial election, four state legislative recalls and the recall of Governor Walker, only to lose.

The spin has already begun. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Wisconsin recall election “probably won’t tell us much about a future race.” Regardless of what you hear, the results are a colossal failure for Democrats and President Obama’s re-election efforts. Even former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell, speaking on MSNBC last week, said the recall election was a “mistake.”

Democrats, Big Labor and Team Obama initially put all their chips on the table, organizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort to unseat Walker. The day before the recall, Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute illustrated just how much money Big Labor has spent: more than $21 million. Earlier in the month, the MacIver Institute put up a matrix to “put an end to any stories that Big Labor, the Democratic Party and other left-wing organizations aren’t going all out to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.” The spin aside, Team Obama, Big Labor and Democrats were heavily invested and suffered a huge loss in Wisconsin.

The recall sums up a season of abject failure for Democrats in Wisconsin. Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Walker has pushed for audacious spending cuts, comprehensive improvements to public-employee union benefits and the most agitating reform to the union monolith: lasting changes to Wisconsin’s collective bargaining laws.

Democratic legislators responded by childishly fleeing the state in order to prevent a quorum in the State Senate, while the Republican majority assured passage of Walker’s budget. After weeks of wringing their hands over their absent colleagues, the Republicans found a way to pass Walker’s budget.

In response, the left tried to invalidate Walker’s reforms by attempting to alter the composition of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Liberals organized a “record setting” challenge to incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. Prosser’s challenger, ultra-progressive JoAnne Kloppenburg, was the left’s answer to all their union reform problems. The total cost of the race between Prosser and Kloppenburg topped $3 million. In the end, Prosser won re-election and Walker’s reforms were upheld.

The Democrats’ war on Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans continued, with groups organizing the recall of four state senators in an attempt to recapture the Wisconsin Senate and block Walker’s reforms. In their attempt to take back the Wisconsin Senate, Democrats and their backers spent $23.4 million, with outside groups spending $18.6 million against Republicans. But the attempt failed and Republicans triumphed.

Now, Democrats have lost yet another high-profile Wisconsin race. With this string of events taking place in a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984 and is considered the birthplace of modern progressivism, Republicans must be starting to like their chances in November. Once considered an unassailable Democratic stronghold, Wisconsin is moving into the almost unthinkable swing-state territory.

As if the wind was not blowing hard enough against Democrats and Team Obama, Governor Walker’s reforms have been a resounding success. Walker cut a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes or curtailing state services, and he is expected to create a $150 million budget surplus by the end of the year.

While Barack Obama won Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008, it’s important to remember that George W. Bush came close to winning the state in 2000 and 2004, missing by 0.22 and 0.4 percent respectively. The efforts by Democrats this season have forced Republicans to build a grassroots machine. Their actions have proven to be very successful, pushing the estimated voter turnout to a whopping 60 to 65 percent of all adults. This machine will no doubt be in full operation in November, causing Axelrod’s and Messina’s hearts to flutter.

President Obama and Democrats are in trouble and no amount of Washington spin will change the facts in Wisconsin. Unions had their way for decades, but times change. And this time, it is not just the future of organized labor that is in peril, it is the political future of one of their biggest supporters: President Obama.

Thomas Grier writes on constitutional law, campaigns and elections, and pro-growth policy. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Arizona State University. He lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and two amazing children.

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

Richard Larsen: Memorial Day Significance Greater than Just One Day

June 6th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The significance and emotions associated with Memorial Day should be pervasive, and not limited to a single day each year. A personal experience this past week made my reflection on that significance even more poignant this year, and delayed my commentary by a week.

It has always been with a sense of awe that I have regarded those who have either voluntarily or involuntarily, assumed the role of guardians of life and liberty, by taking an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic. I’m deeply moved by our military men and women who don the uniform of our various military branches, who may enlist for many different reasons, yet are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. They know all too well that they can, and most likely will, be called upon to place their lives in harm’s way for our sake, and untold millions around the world.

But my respect and gratitude for them reached a new apotheosis after observing the solemn, yet exhilarating Basic Training graduation of nearly 200 new soldiers in the Army 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment “Guardians” at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, this past week. My emotions were multiplied by the fact that my youngest son, Jonathan, was among those graduates.

All Americans should be humbled by our soldiers’ willingness to assume the formidable task of confronting the belligerent and hostile forces around the globe that threaten peace, individual liberty, and physical safety. Yet as a parent of one such brave and noble soldier, emotions are bifurcated; on the one hand, a sense of pride and gratitude, while on the other, apprehension and fear of the unknown.

Jonathan’s attitude is likely similar to many of today’s military recruits. As he expressed to me, “My primary motivation in signing up was to acquire more skills, discipline, and maturity to fulfill my role as a husband and a future father. Joining the Army has opened a whole new horizon of possibilities for my family that were nonexistent just a few months ago.”

He continued, “But as a beneficiary of the efforts and courage of untold millions who have worn the uniform before me, I’m proud and honored to follow in their footsteps of safeguarding our liberties and our national interests. I’ll be forever grateful for parents, grandparents, and teachers who have instilled in me a love of America and the ideals this great nation was built upon. I know that I may be called upon to place my life at risk for others’ sake, and for the defense of our country, and have willingly and dutifully taken an oath to do so. I will be equal to the task, answer the call to duty, and will honorably and faithfully execute my mission, whatever it may be.”

For those of my generation who have witnessed the erosion of character and substance in today’s youth, such evidence of honor and moral fiber fosters hope that the rising generation is not comprised wholly of recalcitrant, narcissistic, and egocentric delinquents. Visiting with one of Jonathan’s Drill Sergeants, it was evident that our military leaders struggle to supplant the pervasive contemporary attitudes of self-absorption with the esprit de corps requisite to form the moral backbone of today’s military.

Ronald Reagan uttered a truism that captured the singular importance of that moral fiber and depth of character. He said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Such character is essential not only for our military men and women, but our elected leaders, as well as for us, the citizens of the nation. When personal comforts and aggrandizement threaten to displace our sense of propriety for the nation as a whole, the very fabric of a democratic society is jeopardized.

We, as Americans, should collectively rise up in valor equal to the conviction of those who have hallowed many lands with their blood, and stand against foes, foreign and domestic, who seek to curtail and abridge our freedom. The mottos of our armed forces are at once inspirational, as well as motivational. This time of year is fitting to reflect on their collective wisdom and our need to embody them in perpetuity. For the Army, “This We’ll Defend,” as well as that of the Marines, “Semper Fidelis,” (Forever Faithful) and the Navy traditional motto, “Not for self, but for country,” and the Air Force core values, “Integrity First,?Service Before Self,?Excellence in All We Do.”

Reagan further characterized the need for all of us to strengthen our resolve, when he importuned, “Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”

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Larry Lyon: A Time for Inclusion

June 4th, 2012 by Halli

By Larry Lyon

As the US races to over 16 trillion dollars in debt with tens of trillions more in unfunded obligations to Federal entitlement programs, unity among liberty loving people everywhere has never been more important.

This is certainly no time for Republicans to be excluding people.

Over the last two years the BCRP has truly been a “big tent” party. Welcoming liberty-loving people from across the political spectrum who believe in the founding principles of America. Tea-Partiers, Conservatives, Libertarians, Glenn Beck fans or anyone who is committed to the Constitution and the Founding Father’s formula for a free society has been welcome.

Unfortunately there are some in the BCRP who seem to want to exclude anyone who doesn’t meet their own narrow definition of a “Party Republican.”
George Washington warned against this attitude when he said, “ The spirit [of party]…sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension…has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, [and] is itself a frightful despotism.”

Washington also said, “A difference of opinion on political points is not to be imputed to freemen as a fault, since it is to be presumed that they are all actuated by… a sacred regard for the liberties of their country.”

Ronald Reagan is reported to have said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”

In a move that exemplified the highest degree of statesmanship, Don Schanz; immediately after being elected as County Party Chairman two years ago, invited the winners of the various precinct races to consider nominating their defeated opponents as assistant precinct committeemen.

In so doing he exemplified the words of Abraham Lincoln from his second inaugural address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, … let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the [BCRP’s] wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the [campaign] … to do all which may achieve … peace among ourselves…”

Under Chairman Schanz leadership, the culture of the BCRP has never been more diverse and inclusive. Patriots from across the Liberty spectrum have joined the Republican Party.

Will the BCRP devolve into a fragmented haven for social climbers and popularity seekers? Will this election have revealed the “big tent” claim to be nothing more than a cheap disguise covering the spirit of vengeance that Washington warned of?

There is no reason why every patriot cannot be included in the BCRP. Will newly elected Chairman Doyle Beck reach out to the former leadership in the spirit of Reagan and Lincoln, or will he view them as “20 percent traitors?” Only time will tell.

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