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Richard Larsen: Bullying the Boy Scouts

February 26th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It may not be surprising to some that groups and organizations across the country that are so openly opposed to “bullying” are so adept at it. Politically correct groups advancing the same-sex agenda are pervasive in their denunciation of bullying against those who are “different” yet seem to have mastered the practice against those who don’t share their beliefs. The recently announced review of the Boy Scouts of America policies, which reject avowed homosexuals from membership, provides a case study in collective bullying and intimidation of a quality organization dedicated to instilling character in its members.

Bullying, broadly defined, is the “use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. If done by a group, it’s referred to as mobbing.”

Bullying has occurred, and does still occur for various reasons, and should be proscribed as socially unacceptable behavior universally, at all levels. If universally applied, denunciation of the groups engaged in bullying of pro-family organizations should be as vociferous as against individuals who engage in bullying against those who are “different.” But in the hypocritical and duplicitous world of political correctness, bullying is not only condoned, but encouraged against groups that advance traditional values.

To some, bullying is clearly acceptable, as long as it’s politically correct. Significant corporate and non-profit sponsors and supporters of Scouting have withdrawn their support, including financial, in order to bully the BSA into complying with the radical pro-gay agenda. AT&T, Ernst and Young, Intel, Merck & Company, United Way, and others have curtailed or discontinued their support to the tune of millions of dollars. The financial component takes bullying to a whole new level.

It seems an interesting dichotomy that an organization that itself is so committed to anti-bullying within its ranks, would become the target of bullying by those who profess to support the same commitment. All the more inscrutable when we realize that less than 3% of the total U.S. population is homosexual. “Tyranny of the minority” is no longer theoretical. It is a political and social reality as verified by the bullying actions against the Boy Scouts.

A decision on the organization’s ban on gay members was delayed by the 75 member executive board. The delay until May will allow the 1,400-member National Council to decide whether to continue the ban or give in to the bullying tactics, allowing local units to decide for themselves. Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock said, “the proposal to end the ban came about as outside forces put pressure on the Scouts to address its policy on gays.” Even the possibility of reversal of national policy diminishes the perception of the safety and well-being of Scouts as a top priority to the organization.

In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld the BSA, that the constitutional right of association allows a group to exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.” Clearly the agenda of the politically correct crowd is antithetical to Scouting’s core values.

Just last July, the executive board of the BSA had announced their determination to keep the ban in place by saying it was “absolutely the best policy.” But two members of the executive board, James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, have been engaging in their own bullying of other board members to weaken the resolve to maintain the ban.

What’s at stake is the emotional and physical welfare of over 2.7 million young men in the Scouting program. Currently, even with some infractions of leader/Scout contact policy, over 98% of Scouts feel “safe” within the Scouting organization, according to a Harris poll a few years ago. Statistically, that’s probably much higher than how many young people feel safe in their own homes.

Rescission of the ban clearly places those young men at risk. In a peer-reviewed research piece printed in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers Marie E. Tomeo, Donald I. Templer, Susan Anderson, and Debra Kotler, made some striking conclusions. The abstract to their research, Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons, states, “In research with 942 nonclinical adult participants, gay men and lesbian women reported a significantly higher rate of childhood molestation than did heterosexual men and women. Forty-six percent of the homosexual men in contrast to 7% of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation.” The likelihood of significantly increased pederasty involving those 2.7 million young men is virtually assured if the BSA yields to the corporate and politically correct bullying that threatens their core values.

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts have perpetuated a tradition of building moral character and inculcating values that contribute to a conscientious, responsible and moral society. That rich and venerable history is now threatened by the bullying techniques so decried and denounced by the very groups now bullying the Scouts.

Rather than create their own programs based on their own “values,” morally relativistic organizations seek to destroy that which is good; based on solid, everlasting principles. Their success in forcing their conformist political correctness is unraveling the social mores of our cultural fabric, strand by strand.

The need for public support of Scouting has never been greater. The Friends of Scouting drives conducted locally generate 39% of their operating budget. This money stays here locally to support and benefit the local program. When the public cuts back on their FOS donation it has no affect on the National Council it only hurts our local Scouts. The National Council gets its money from corporate donors, and from membership and rechartering fees. Scouting needs our continued moral and financial support to counter the bullying that is attempting to morph it into something it was never intended to be.

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

David Ripley: Obama Delivers Threat to Idaho

February 26th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

President Obama has become a master of manipulation. When confronted with opposition, he enlists the MSM to deliver his version of contorted reality without scrutiny. We saw another stage production just this week when the Idaho media reported on Obama’s message that he will hurt Idaho kids, seniors, travelers, military personnel – unless Congress capitulates again to tax increases.

Under the guise of implementing the “sequester” – Obama says he will cut $3.7 million in federal funds to schools. Particularly hard hit will be those children with disabilities. Funding for Mountain Home Air Base will be cut. Grants for law enforcement, kids’ vaccines, and even a program to help women caught up in domestic violence will suffer because Barack Obama says they must. They must suffer to make Republicans pay and repent of their obsession with fiscal responsibility.

Why do we talk about this?

By our count, Obama is threatening to stop something like $15 million in federal funds from going to Idaho if the sequester happens later this week.
Here’s another idea: The Idaho Senate just approved a plan to implement an insurance exchange as part of Obama’s plan to impose health care “reform” on the people of Idaho. A program no one but Blue Cross wants. Attached to the bill is a $30 million federal grant.

How about we tell Obama to keep his $30 million, and keep the change to pay down the deficit – so long as he promises to leave us alone? So long as he stops using our tax dollars to impose ugly social policies upon the people of this state, so long as he ends his war on our religious freedom?

And why hasn’t Dan Popkey or other media personalities commented on the expansion of federal “aid” to Idaho at a time when Obama is threatening to slash spending in other areas already dependent upon the Santa Claus on Pennsylvania Avenue? For that matter – why haven’t members of the Idaho Legislature taken notice of this tragic irony?

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Idaho Senate Votes to Sanction ObamaCare

February 25th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho Senate has decided to follow Governor Otter’s recommendation that his state government cooperate with the Obama Regime in implementing ObamaCare. The battle to preserve liberty now shifts to the Idaho House, where lobbyists for the insurance industry have been working hard to charm, cajole and corral the large class of freshmen legislators.

It would be easy to use this page to vent. Let’s limit the matter for now to an expression of disappointment in the majority of Republican senators who determined that cooperation with the Obama Administration was our only course.

Instead, let us celebrate and acknowledge the patriots who stood all day on the Senate floor defending the Constitution, the cherished value of limited government and individual liberty. And honor the fight they made to defend the sanctity of human life.

Sen. Monty Pearce read from the Federalist Papers, trying to turn the Senate’s gaze back to a more heroic age, one in which men risked their very lives to resist tyranny.

Sen. Curt McKenzie gave one of the most eloquent and briefest arguments against submitting to the plans of Barack Obama to remake America. He said that he understood the “Affordable Care Act” to be unconstitutional and he could not in good conscience help advance its implantation in Idaho.

He hit upon the very core question before the Legislature: Shall we cooperate with the evil that is ObamaCare?

Sen. Cliff Bayer argued that buried in the fine print of the legislation was language which stated that the Idaho insurance exchange will comply with “all applicable law” – meaning, of course, that Idaho will be bound to implement the regulations and policies of the Obama Administration. Those that exist today, and those yet to be imagined by the likes of Kathleen Sebelius.

Sen. Russ Fulcher, who has been a stalwart leader of the conservative opposition, took his turn on the floor to urge rejection of SB1042:

“Supporters of SB1042 have indicated they want to resist ObamaCare. In my opinion, what that says is we’re going to resist by complying, or we’re going to resist by doing what they tell us to do.”

They were joined by Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, who tested the proposition of resisting ObamaCare by asking the Senate to amend the bill. She wanted our language protecting the religious liberty rights of Idaho citizens and employers embedded into the act creating a state insurance exchange:

“The exchange shall respect the religious and conscience liberties of Idaho citizens, employers, churches and religious organizations. No health benefit plan offered through the exchange shall require the purchase or provision of benefits which include sterilization, contraceptives, abortifacients or drugs or devices which act as abortifacients, emergency contraception or surgical abortions.”

Unfortunately, her attempt to amend the bill was rejected by a majority of Senate Republicans, who stood on procedural grounds to avoid the profound question by the amendment: If Idaho is creating a state exchange in order to “resist” the federal government – then what more basic rights are there but the right to life and the right to freedom of religion?

Republicans Cliff Bayer, Russ Fulcher, Dan Johnson, Curt McKenzie, Dean Mortimer, Bob Nonini, Monty Pearce, Steven Thayn and Steve Vick stood with Sen. Nuxoll and the pro-Life movement to support the amendment. A lone and courageous Democrat, Sen. Branden Durst, joined them.

A number of historically pro-Life members of the Senate voted against the amendment on procedural grounds. During debate of the motion, numerous references were made to support for a “trailer bill” which would incorporate the religious liberty language. We’ll have to see how those promises bear out.

The language of our amendment was overwhelmingly supported last year – when the Legislature passed SJM 104 in response to the Obama Mandate on contraception and abortifacients. But that was largely a feel good measure consisting of sending President Obama a strongly worded letter defending religious freedom.

One is tempted to be discouraged and conclude that for some, pro-Life principles are good for campaigns and fine when it doesn’t really matter. But that is probably the wrong view. There is time yet in this session for getting language in the state exchange bill which would put teeth into those pro-Life principles – language which would prevent the state from using its police powers to enforce Obama’s anti-Life agenda upon Idaho citizens.

Now we turn our attention to the Idaho House. And let us celebrate the vision and courage of those righteous dozen who waged battle on the Senate floor for our children and grandchildren.

And pray that the Lord raises up more such men and women.

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

Richard Larsen: State of the Union 2013 Edition – What It Was and Wasn’t

February 22nd, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It is regrettable that we no longer have a true “State of the Union” speech. Rather than hearing a recapitulation of the condition of the nation and where it’s headed, we get what appears to be little more than another campaign speech replete with a veritable Christmas-list of populist proposals and recommendations. Predictably, there were errors, omissions, and outright prevarications, and very little mention of the problems that have been exacerbated over the past four years.

“As long as I’m commander in chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world,” said the President. Our consulate in Benghazi was denied additional security multiple times, and the former Navy SEALs that rushed to embassy personnel’s rescue last September 11, were told to “stand down.” This can hardly be classified as doing “whatever we must to protect” our citizens serving abroad.

As for the “maintain the best military in the world,” comment, he must truly think all American citizens, not just his star-struck adherents, are cretins. His administration has already recommended reducing military spending from 5% to 3.4% of real GDP, and the sequester, which was the administration’s idea and which he has disingenuously promised “will not happen,” is set to kick in next month. Unless congress kicks the can down the road further, that will trigger another $1 trillion in defense cuts. Plus, the President is intent on reducing our primary deterrent, our nuclear arsenal, by another 40%. Only in a convoluted, twisted illogical world do those factors add up to maintaining the “best military in the world.”

“Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self,” he further told us. Yes, Al Qa’ida is less formidable than before, but what about all of the other Islamic extremist groups that maintain similar heinous objectives of eradicating infidels and wiping Israel off of the map? Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now running Egypt, to whom the administration is selling 200 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and a squadron of F-16 Falcon fighters. It is truly inscrutable how he can boast about the decimation of Al Qa’ida while selling our best implements of war to their ideological brethren.

Another whopper was the, “Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion,” statement. There has been no reduction in the deficit, and our average for the past four years has been $1.44 trillion. In other words, we’re borrowing 43 cents for every dollar that we spend. What he classifies as a “reduction” is accounting smoke and mirrors that are not real. The only thing that has been “cut” has been the rate of projected budgetary spending growth.

“We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas,” the President boasted. Well, not hardly. The CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) standards goal is to double miles-per-gallon efficiency by 2025. Such a forward looking goal is strikingly at odds with the past-tense reference that it has already been accomplished. I’ve heard some pundits attribute that to his “god-complex,” that because he has uttered it, it is so. And the 2025 standard is a goal, kind of like “not adding a dime to the deficit,” although reality has this nasty habit of contradicting the hypothetical.

Then the litany of populist Christmas wish-list items followed, from “green energy” to education. And the administration’s answer to all of their pet projects is to throw more money at them. But he did say, “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.” I guess that’s supposed to assuage our concerns. But if the phrase sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. In 2009, he used the phrase liberally starting with, “I will not sign a bill that adds a dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.” “Health care reform will not add one dime to our deficit.” “I will not sign health insurance reform … if that reform adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade — and I mean what I say.”

In 2010 he said, “That’s also why we’re restoring pay-as-you-go: a simple rule that says Congress can’t spend a dime without cutting a dime elsewhere.” Also from 2010, “This [jobs] legislation is fully paid for and will not add one single dime to our deficit.” And again, “We will not add one dime to our deficit.”
The idiom continued into 2011. “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit.” And again, “I want to lower the corporate rate and eliminate these loopholes to pay for it, so that it doesn’t add a dime to our deficit.” It would appear that the caveat to the statement is “A” dime, for all the while he was making such fine sounding promises, he added nearly 60 trillion dimes to the deficit! Perhaps it’s time to invoke a simple math test for qualification to be President.

The President, in reference to energy costs, said, “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.” Oil and gas production have increased over the past four years by 14%, but all of the increase has come on state and private lands, as federal lease production has dropped by 11%. I’m just curious how he can claim to “keep” doing something that he has yet to do.

The Washington Examiner reported last fall, “In 2008 under President Bush, there were a total of 55,085 oil and gas leases in effect on federal land. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 49,174, a decrease of 11 percent.?In 2008 under Bush, there were 47.2 million acres of federal land under lease. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 38.5 million, a decrease of 19 percent.?In 2008 under Bush, the federal government approved 6,617 oil and gas permits. In 2011 under Obama, the federal government approved just 4,244 permits, a decrease of 36 percent.”

And Reuters recently reported “energy companies will likely see more regulation in Obama’s second term, with less access to federal lands and water even as the administration promotes energy independence. Even tighter rules are expected for oil and gas drilling.” Clearly everything the administration is doing in the energy sector is increasing costs by attempting to limit exploration, drilling, and production.

And on ObamaCare, the President declared, “Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” The cost of implementing ObamaCare has actually increased with each new projection. A recent study released in Health Affairs, said, “actuaries from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expect an annual increase in health care spending from 2010-2019 of 2 percent over estimates made before passage of the PPACA. They also predict spending will reach $4.6 trillion in 2019, for an average annual growth rate of 6.3 percent during that time.” The passage of ObamaCare has accelerated the already high price of health care. Just the opposite of what the President claims.

The real state of the union is disconcerting. Poverty is higher than any time since FDR was President. There are eight million fewer employed Americans than four years ago, which has dropped our participation rate to the lowest level in the nation’s history, at just over 60%. And for those still looking for work, the average duration of joblessness has doubled to over 40 weeks. Long-term unemployment, averaged over the past four years, is at the highest level since the Great Depression.

Millions of Americans will be losing their company-sponsored health insurance due to the strident regulatory demands of Obamacare, which strikingly contrasts with what he promised, “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”

We emerged from the latest recession in the 2nd quarter of 2009, but our “recovery” has been the most tepid in U.S. economic history. Many economists point at the anti-business and anti-private sector policies and regulations of the administration as the most significant contributing factor. According to the Wall Street Journal, the administration added “11,327 regulations to the Federal Register in the first three years of the Obama administration (and that was before the big drivers — Obamacare and Dodd/Frank really got going). As The Economist magazine noted, America “is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation,” including “flaws in the confused, bloated law (Dodd/Frank) passed in the aftermath of America’s financial crisis.”

As columnist Mona Charen recently penned, “This is the Obama economy — a shrinking private sector drowning in regulations, a voracious public sector always in search of new ways to waste money (wind cars! solar stethoscopes!) and the inexorable ticking, louder every passing day, of the debt bomb.”

Tuesday’s big speech was more of a declaration of the state of the President’s ideologically tinged perception of what he thinks reality should be, rather than a recap of the actual condition of the union. And as with all politicians, but especially this one, we must pay closer attention to what he does, not what he says. They’re usually in diametrical opposition. Precious little of what the administration has accomplished has actually ameliorated the state of the union based on the data. The President’s grandiloquence may mask that reality for some, but not for those of us who rely on empirical data.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 18, 2013

February 18th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

This week I have been reminded a great deal about the comic strip “Pogo”, and if there is anything that can date you, remembering Pogo is it. In my younger years I really didn’t think it was that great, but I found some things in there that made my day from time to time. “We have met the enemy and he is us” is probably the most quoted of his lines. It looks a lot like that around here sometimes.

The pace his picked up and the issues are coming at us from all directions. The School Boards Association came to town last week, and there was opportunity to visit about their concerns. One comment I heard around the lunch table was that if the personal property tax repeal were to take place without replacement dollars they would just hand over the keys. Other discussions were about tech in the classroom, No Child Left Behind and seemingly useless reports required by the Department of Education. The ISEE report (I have no idea what that is, but will find out) takes a lot of time and personnel, and is not of any use for the districts. My take-home assignment is to track that down at the Department.

The Mining Association was also in Boise last week. In our group we talked about how vital mining is to our economy and the products that come about because of these resources. For example, there is about one pound of molybdenum in two ton of ore, which is a lot of material to move. Moly is used for lubricants and is one of the necessary ingredients of stainless steel. Imagine all of the things stainless is used for and it becomes clear how important our Idaho resource is. And you can make the same case for our silver mines in the North, and our phosphate and pumice mines in our area.

Another thing that Pogo talked about from time to time was Friday the thirteenth. It may not be a direct quote, but “Friday the thirteenth came on Wednesday this month.” Some around here were feeling that way as some of the Freshman Class got out in front on the Heath Insurance Exchange legislation. You have to admire their initiative in doing so. However, declaring a position on an issue before the details are fleshed out can come back to haunt you.

The Saga goes on in State Affairs and last week we had what one member of the committee termed The Big Four, elections, alcohol, gambling and guns. Another committee member, who is new to the committee this year, remarked that it is never boring to be on State Affairs. And that is pretty much how it is. The variety of things we work on is a good lesson on the inner workings of state government.

I was cornered up by a TV station at home, questioning the integrity of the members of State Affairs. It is my pleasure to defend them. They work hard and I am proud to be associated with them. And as for Walt Kelly, maybe the enemy is us, but sometimes it feels like it is someone else.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Idaho Senate Takes Up Obamacare Bill

February 12th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho Senate will consider SB1042 this week. This legislation will implement ObamaCare in the state through the creation of an insurance exchange.
Idaho Chooses Life opposes this legislation because it will facilitate ObamaCare – which threatens to produce the greatest explosion in abortions since the Roe decision.

Many legislators we have visited with seem rather oblivious to the dire pro-Life implications of cooperating with the Obama Administration in this scheme, arguing that ObamaCare is now the “Law of the Land”. We urge the citizens of Idaho to weigh in on this matter: From the outset, this nation was built on the concept of citizen sovereignty and a little principle called “consent of the governed”.

Polling in Idaho has demonstrated that Idaho citizens are in no mood to consent to what the Insurance Industry is peddling.

And as for the fatalistic argument that we have fought ObamaCare long enough and must now submit to reality: We have been fighting the Insurance Lobby at the Statehouse for the past 3 years on ObamaCare. They are by no means the reluctant patriots their PR campaign would have you and legislators believe. Rather, they are part of the original conspiracy – having been part of the strategy and bill writing back in the days of Nancy Pelosi. Make no mistake: Blue Cross wants ObamaCare because they believe it will be good for their company and profit margin.

There was a day in America when you could hear the expression, “What is good for GM is good for America”.

The atmosphere at the Statehouse these days seems clouded by the notion that what is good for Blue Cross is good for Idaho.

Hopefully your phone calls and emails will help pierce that fog.

And, hopefully we can find enough leaders in the Idaho Senate with vision to understand that we must continue to resist. For the Scripture tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 11, 2013

February 12th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

There are a lot of things that happen in the legislature that don’t make the news much and in spite of that some of them have significance of a sort. Everything we do here is important to someone. One item I found interesting last week was a Concurrent Resolution (one that passes both houses of the legislature) that came out of State Affairs and was passed on the House Floor. It was a resolution commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Power County. When the American Falls Dam was first constructed it necessitated moving the whole town. Not a big deal? It is a lesson for us now in that people then recognized how vital water would be to the future of the whole area. Water is no less important today.

Another proposal this past week that came to the State Affairs Committee was a measure that would have required the media to release the identity of an anonymous blogger when libelous statements would appear on a blog. It was in response to an incident in North Idaho where an individual was falsely accused. The committee worked the presenter over pretty hard and one of the interesting comments made was there really was something that needed to be done but this (bill), as one member of the committee put it, wasn’t soup yet.

Behind the scenes for some of us this week was a meeting of the Catastrophic Health Care Cost Board. The Director of the Department of Health and Welfare made us aware of changes coming to Medicaid that will push more caseload to the CAT fund and the counties. I wonder if that is a way for Washington to “encourage” Medicaid expansion. Remember how last week I mentioned putting a bill together for major changes to our medically indigent law, and that it might cause a stir? Not long after the discussion with the CAT Board, I received a call from the H&W director wanting to talk.

Quite a debate, also a bit behind the scenes, is to know how and if the legislature should include recorded archives of floor and committee debate as part of the official record of the proceedings of the bodies. As it stands now the minutes of the committee meetings and the House and Senate Journals are the official records for use by the courts and the public. We have an intern that is researching how other states are addressing the modern era because almost anyone with an internet connection can record the proceedings of the legislature. It may not be the kind of thing that would seem important, but from time to time it comes up, just what were they thinking?

There are a series of “gun bills” that will soon surface and there are several liquor licensing issues soon to hit as well and some lottery and horseracing items that are being talked about. So it looks like a busy time ahead. And we will deal with them one at a time, and knowing the State Affairs Committee, they will be examined very carefully. Will they be soup yet? We will see, we will see.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 4, 2013

February 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

A man by the name of Joel Salatin, in his Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World said “A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches.”

This reminded me of a conversation I had last week with one of the new members of the House about getting a bill ready. The question he asked was just how the idea would come before the body and so I explained how a bill is drafted and how it is brought before a committee and how the process works. You don’t just pick it off a tree.

A bill on Health Insurance Exchanges has been introduced in the Senate and is one that I would recommend every one read. It is Senate Bill 1042. A couple of the interesting parts of it are that it will set up a brand new bureaucracy, and that it would not be overseen by the legislature. One of the things we do not know is if it will comply with the requirements of the Secretary of HHS. I have an abundance of mail on this one and it is good to get the comments. The Farm Bureau has come out in opposition as well as some other grass roots groups. My plan is to go over it with a fine toothed comb.

A bill has come forward that wants to establish a State Water Plan. While at this time it may not have a lot of impact on the Bear River drainage, it certainly could have impact over time. The larger focus seems to be on the Upper Snake and the issues surrounding aquifer recharge. This is another that will take a lot of review and make sure that the details are addressed.

JFAC is going through the budget hearings and they are going to set some of the budgets that will have to do with last year’s matters. One of those is the so called “Use it or lose it” dollars for the school districts. It would be my best guess that those moneys will be protected. We are hoping to see some technology funding for infrastructure be made available to schools as well.

All is quiet on the Medicaid front for now but that may change as we begin discussing the pros and cons of expansion. I have a bill for that mix that will probably ignite things on that front. More on that later.

Brian Brett is quoted as saying, “Farming is a profession of hope.” And I suppose you could say that about what we do around this place. We hope we get it right, we hope we do no harm, we hope we don’t cause unintended consequences, we hope…

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Redefining America’s Founding Principles

February 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Historically, Presidential Inaugural Addresses have sought to inspire and unite the nation, and provide directional leadership for the next presidential term. Perhaps to some, Monday’s speech did that. But to adherents of American exceptionalism, it was disconcerting. The president’s speech was laced with references to our founding principles, but their meaning twisted, misrepresented, and stripped of their historical and definitional significance.

God was mentioned seven times in the address, which may exceed the number of times the Almighty has been invoked by him over the past four years, which made their invocation seem superficial. The Constitution was mentioned once, at the very beginning, citing his second term as evidence of its “enduring strength,” in spite of the fact that he has stretched and distorted that document’s limitations on the executive branch beyond recognition of the founding fathers so dramatically during his first term.

Even the Declaration of Independence was cited, and those eternal classical-liberal ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that led to the severance of our relationship with Great Britain, and the perceived tyranny of King George. It was no surprise that he was reticent regarding the breadth and scope of our current federal government, which arguably wields immensely more tyranny over the American people than the British crown held over colonial America.

Even free market economics were mentioned, although it was in the context that the omnipotent and omniscient federal government must constrain and control it.

Clearly, through artistry and manipulation, precept-by-precept, the principles upon which the American republic was established were being redefined. Those tenets, which are distinctly and singularly American, which once were the pillars that the nation stood upon, were going through a historical revision right before our eyes. They were being reframed, redefined, and reshaped to fit a new progressive lexicon of American patriotic buzzwords that vitiate their original meanings.

The Constitution seems to have relevance since it returned him to power for another four years. But in terms of governance, it seems that to him it has lost its applicability to 21st century American politics since he can issue Executive and Administrative Orders that circumvent the very document he moments earlier swore he would uphold and defend.

God has no relevance in the godless, morally relativistic, and warped values of the ideology that seeks to make omnipotent government the central component in every American life, replacing an omnipotent deity. As the president’s campaign website so proudly portrays with its “Life of Julia,” the government is to be there at every turn and juncture in the life of the average American; governing, regulating, “helping,” and “supporting.”

And perhaps most invidious of all, a perverted sense of “liberty.” No spurious redefinition of liberty could be more antithetical to the founder’s intent than, “being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.”

In any language and any culture, liberty is synonymous with freedom. Not just a freedom “to,” as in “to do something,” but also a freedom “from,” as in freedom from control, repression, and tyranny. Each time liberty or freedom were mentioned, the words rang increasingly hollow and meaningless. For freedom to, and freedom from, have an inverse relationship to government growth, government power, and government control, which have dramatically increased over the past four years.

With each incremental Executive Order or legislative Act that broadens and expands central governmental authority, and with every dollar taken out of the pockets of Americans to fund the insatiable spending appetite of government, individual liberty and freedom are disproportionately diminished.

As government grows, individual liberty decreases. No wonder, then, that he would frame the concept of individual freedom in the context of “collective action.” The progressive statist agenda is always based on collectivism, not individuality.

It’s difficult to separate the causation, or at least correlation, of the massive expansion of governmental power, and alarming growth of government debt of the past four years, from the perceived elusiveness of the American Dream. Four years ago, over 52% of Americans still believed the “American Dream” was attainable. That has now dropped to less than 40%, according to pollsters at Zogby.

And regrettably the perception seems accurate. Between legislative Act, presidential declarations, and bureaucratic regulatory expansion, Investor’s Business Daily now calculates that the government has direct or indirect control of more than 60% of the entire U.S. economy. Energy production, oil production and distribution, banking and finance, manufacturing, logging, mining, health care, insurance, automobile manufacturing and more, are all now controlled by the central government. A strict political classification of such an economy is clearly fascistic, where government controls, not necessarily owns, the means of production. Individual and collective freedoms are sacrificed when government wields so much power over the entire economy.

Clearly typifying the moral relativism of our dysfunctional culture, the phrase “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle,” perverts the very meaning of principle. After all, a principle is “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” As such a principle is definitionally absolute. When they are no longer absolute, they are no longer principles, they’re simply good ideas. Such facile application of relativism to fundamental tenets like individual freedom and liberty diminishes the principled foundation of our republic.

The implications for the next four years are indeed ominous if this Inaugural Address represents the ideologically tortured state of our founding principles. With fundamental precepts marginalized through redefinition, token relevance accorded the Constitution, and free markets only viable with governmental control of the means of production, we are well on our way to the president’s desired “fundamental transformation of America.”

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

David Ripley: Sarah Palin as Prophetess

February 3rd, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

A news report from the Washington Post reveals that the Obama Administration is having a tough time finding anyone willing to serve on the 15-member “Death Panel” at the heart of Obama’s plan to cut health care costs.
The legislation passed by Pelosi’s Congress gave extraordinary power to this panel, with power to unilaterally cut payments to doctors and hospitals for services. This is tantamount to denying services to patients.

You’ll remember that Sarah Palin has received broad condemnation and ridicule from the main stream media for suggesting that ObamaCare even contained the notion of health care rationing. But the fact that no one wants to serve on this panel strongly confirms her charges. It also points out one of the darker elements of ObamaCare.

How else does one explain that no one seems interesting in taking a $165,000 job with the power to restructure health care in America?

It seems that the advocates of health care rationing would rather write articles in academic journals than actually wield the knife. Apparently it is one thing to talk about cutting off older American from health care than being the person who actually votes to shorten lives.

As you think about it, much the same seems true about the Abortion Industry. A story appeared a few weeks back which claimed that there were just four American “doctors” who performed abortions on late-term babies. Just not that much interest in living with bloody hands and conscience, perhaps.

It is a lot easier to talk about politics and bumper stickers and “rights” and profits than it is to hold the carved up remains of an innocent victim of our national hard-heartedness.

But lest you draw too much encouragement from the dearth of applicants for Obama’s Death Panel, the Washington Post story says that the power of life and death it would wield devolves upon Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. Given her ardent support of the death culture over a long public career, it is clear that the disabled, seniors and others deemed “unworthy” of life still have much to worry about.

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

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