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Idaho Chooses Life: Boomers Too “Special” to Die Naturally?

August 29th, 2013 by Halli

By Wesley J. Smith
Idaho Chooses Life

Oh good grief. We Baby Boomers are such a pain. It’s always about us: Me. Me. Me.

And now, according to Time, we are supposedly going to change “how we die.” (“A Good Death: How Boomers Will Change the World a Final Time.”)

For eons, folks grew old, endured the symptoms, and died when it was their time-according to God’s will, some would say, even if it involved fighting through lingering illness, pain and suffering, or years of mental or physical incapacitation. A “good” death was about having lived long enough to see grandchildren, put one’s affairs in order, and pass away surrounded by a loving family.

Well, that’s because earlier times did not have the medical means to do otherwise. But supposedly, now we are different:
Boomers don’t see it that way. To them, a good death is more about a good life. When they can’t have that any longer, it’s time to pull the plug. This will be the first generation to broadly eschew painful life-extending procedures and make the most of palliative care to live better in fewer days, and then die with dignity.

But that’s not true. Hospice, which allowed for this approach, has been with us for more than forty years. My dad died in 1984 under hospice care, eschewing life-extending treatment and dying pain free from metastatic colon cancer. We Boomers aren’t pioneering this approach in the least!

But here is where things could get dangerous. Apparently to “die with dignity” is to kill ourselves: Boomers are supposedly going to lead the way into assisted suicide:

Suffering people have long sought an early end, of course, and many have done so quietly-or not so quietly in the case of patients of euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian. But we are now seeing the beginnings of a broad movement that will change the game for good. “People are starting to think about aid-in-dying as the next civil rights movement,” says Goldstein. “Death with dignity is the final frontier of human rights and freedom of expression.”

So what was once a taboo subject-how to die-is now in open discourse. The “death café” movement encourages people to meet and discuss the concept of a good death. This dialogue is being fed in part by less rigid adherence to organized religion, which has strong views surrounding death and dying, and advances in medicine and technology that make it easier to feel you can control pain and symptoms and the way you die.

Okay. I get it. Nothing new here. Just tired advocacy for assisted suicide masking itself as the newest news about the Boomers.
Boomers are not a great generation. To the contrary, we did shamefully little considering how much we were given.Too busy patting ourselves on the back, perhaps, and breaking the china.

Frankly, I think we are going to leave quite a mess. And if we do open the spigots to assisted suicide, it will be to our everlasting shame.

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

Richard Larsen: Wow! Wisdom from Hollywood

August 27th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

When something substantive emanates from Hollywood, it’s worth taking note of. While so much of the celebrity world, and the pop-culture media, is egocentric, self-aggrandizing, and self-absorbed, infrequently does someone from that environment offer something visionary, insightful, inspiring, and non-hypocritical. Yet Ashton Kutcher did just that as he proffered some wisdom and hope to a youthful crowd this week.

Sunday evening at the Teen Choice Awards, Kutcher was presented the Ultimate Choice Award. His take on the significance of the award may have been implied by his joke about it, as he referenced it being the “old guy award.”

He then said that he wanted to share three things that he thought important for his young audience. And frankly, in retrospect, they’re three important concepts for people of any age.

His first point was, “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work.” He described the various jobs that he’d had before he succeeded in acting, including helping his dad carry shingles for roofing jobs; a dishwasher at a restaurant; working in a deli at a grocery store, and sweeping the floors of a factory. He continued, “I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job.”

There are so many of all ages today who believe that certain jobs are beneath their dignity, so they choose to not work at all, refuse to accept responsibility for their own lives, and subsist in a state of dependency. But especially with those of Generation Y there seems to be the pervasive expectation of entitlement. They feel entitled to all the comforts their parents worked for years to acquire, but they want it now, and are convinced they’re entitled. Those of Generation Y, especially, must come to realize the self-worth and satisfaction that comes from hard work, and what it does to build character as well as provide for needs and wants, and that there is no job that is “beneath” them, and no perks to which they are entitled.

They’re not even entitled to opportunity, which, as Kutcher explained, looks a lot like “work.” They have to assume responsibility, exhibit discipline, and be trustworthy to earn a shot at a job. Each job, regardless of pay or station, is an opportunity to improve skills, improve character, become more responsible and accountable, thereby preparing for the next opportunity.

Kutcher’s next point appears cavalier, but it conveys much more depth than evident at first blush. He said, “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”

How refreshing! To have someone from the Hollywood in-crowd promoting character and intelligence as “sexy, as opposed to the superficial and physical attributes touted by his entertainment contemporaries! He’s right; everything else is “crap;” the hairdos, the tattoos, the plastic-surgery-enhanced body parts, etc. ad nauseam.

Kutcher’s final point was obviously inspired by his most recent acting role of portraying the inimitable Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, in the just-released movie “Jobs.” He said, “Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. Maybe get an education, get a job, make some money, and have a family. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing: everything around us that we call life was made up of people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own things and you can build your own life that other people can live in.”

While not all of us may have the ability to technologically build our world or our life as Jobs did, we can all build our lives, and do more than simply subsist. We build our lives each day by the decisions we make, the volition we exercise, the character we infuse, the judgment we exercise, and the people we serve.

The fact that Kutcher would use his elevated pop-culture status, and such a venue, to promulgate such verities is encouraging. But perhaps even more significant is the fact that video clips of his comments are going viral on the internet. That such positive, elevating, and ennobling rhetoric would resonate with so many around the country is not just a good sign, it’s an indication that there may be room to hope that the heart and soul of our society have not been terminally infected with the debilitating notion of entitlement.

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

Richard Larsen: Spying on Americans – The Systematic Dismantling of Liberty

August 18th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

With the accelerated expansion of governmental power that we’ve observed over the past few years, America only slightly resembles the “land of the free and home of the brave” that the nation was founded as, and intended to be. Governmental encroachment on the liberties and privacy of law-abiding citizens has reached totalitarian levels that would make Stalin, Mao, and Hitler envious.

We know now that our emails, internet posts, and online activity are being heavily monitored. We know that our phone call data is being collected, our snail-mail covers are being tracked, and the federal government will be tracking and storing all of our healthcare information.

And we learned this week from Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is collecting and monitoring citizens’ personal financial accounts. Crapo, in a press release this week, indicated that “credit card, debit card, checking, mortgage, loan and other financial accounts” are all subject to monitoring by the CFPB.

Crapo has been pressing for specifics on “what data is being collected, how many accounts the Bureau is monitoring, how the information is being used, and what safeguards are in place to protect this sensitive information.” This is an independent government agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act that is not accountable to congress, and operates under the Federal Reserve.

Despite assurances from the administration that the private information government agencies are harvesting by spying on us will only be used with a court order, our civil liberties and privacy have been abrogated by such surveillance, and are subject to abuse by a Machiavellian administration that arbitrarily decides which laws it will enforce and which it will not. In short, we are the most heavily monitored and spied-on Americans in history, and likely the most spied-on society in the world today. There is no aspect of our lives that is not subject to governmental scrutiny, and a potential open-book to the government. And the potential for abuse is staggering.

Many will innocently acquiesce to the government spying on us since, as they assert, they have nothing to hide. But current government surveillance goes well beyond that. We’ve always had the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. With the current modus operandi of the federal government we’re assumed guilty of something, and if necessary, they will scour their records and databases for the evidence they need for, if nothing else, political targeting, just as the administration has abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was designed to specifically proscribe such wanton gathering of evidence before a crime has even been committed. All searches and seizures of evidence are to be done based on probable cause by warrant, and the right to such protection “shall not be violated.” These spying programs constitute the most egregious violation of a constitutional right perhaps in American history.

We are witnessing firsthand, on a daily basis, the dismantling of the American ideal. Long gone is free-market capitalism, which was replaced by the cozy crony-capitalistic system that now runs our economy. Also referred to as corporatism, or economic statism, crony capitalism is a merging of government and corporate interests with legislation and tax code written to the benefit of corporate political supporters, and those beneficiaries of government largesse in turn supporting the politicians with campaign contributions.

Now, not only is our economic system fundamentally transformed, but the ideals of individual freedom and liberty as proclaimed in our founding documents are being systematically and methodically erased. Each new piece of legislation that creates new regulation, which authorizes the government to spy on, and monitor the most basic activities of the citizenry, undermines and extirpates the freedoms and liberty ostensibly assured by the Constitution.

The massive overreach of governmental power is symptomatic of a government that has become too large, too unwieldy, and too pervasive into every aspect of our lives. And we have the debt to prove it, with $17 trillion in on-the-books debt, and at least $85 trillion in unfunded liabilities. The reported debt figure translates to $53,000 per citizen, and over $148,000 per taxpayer.

The trampling of our civil liberties by the government spying on us is being perpetrated in the name of security. Over 230 years ago, a very perspicacious and sagacious Benjamin Franklin, wisely observed, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary security, deserve neither Liberty nor security.” Apparently we’re getting what we deserve, which arguably is neither.

The freedom promised by our founding documents, which we’re losing in accelerated fashion, is not not only freedom to do, as long as other’s rights are not impinged upon, but a freedom from government, coercion, and tyranny. We once cast off the bounds of a tyrannical King George who attempted to force his governmental will against the colonists. As rapidly as we are advancing toward totalitarian control of America, one cannot help but wonder if there’s a day in the future when another such revolution against our own tyrannical government may ensue.

Thomas Jefferson fully understood the tendency of government to infringe on individual rights and to impose totalitarian control, when he said, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” He went so far as to declare, “Periodic revolution, was a medicine necessary for the sound health of government,” and “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

The political pendulum has swung way too far to the left for the good of a country founded on individual freedom and liberty. The revolution Jefferson said was periodically necessary must be a revolution manifested at the ballot box, and in the selection of statesmen who will return us to constitutional governance rather than politicians who vote according to political expediency to ensure their reelection. It must be a groundswell at the grassroots level by the majority of the populace who decides they’ve had enough government intrusion, and vote for real change; the kind that returns the nation to its foundation of liberty.

We surely face a greater tyranny from Washington today than the colonists faced under King George. What remains to be seen, is when Americans decide they’ve had enough, and if they will electorally reverse the present collision course to absolute tyranny. Or have we become such a supine and compliant people that we will simply acquiesce and surrender all of our freedoms to our omniscient and omnipotent government?

Only time will tell.

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

Richard Larsen: Detroit’s Collapse is a Portent for America

August 12th, 2013 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

In his 2012 campaign for re-election, President Obama claimed saving Detroit as one of his success stories from his first term. He said, “We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.” The auto industry was “saved” in skeletal fashion, and is working its way back, but Detroit proper became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy last month. And what should be alarming to all Americans is that the policies and politics that controlled the city for the past 60 years are the same that are leading the nation today.

Let’s just lay out a few facts on where Detroit was six decades ago, and where it is today. In 1960 the city of Detroit boasted the highest per-capita income in America. There were nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs. The city was the fourth largest in the country with nearly two million residents. In many ways, it was the golden-boy of free-market America.

Today, it’s a broken and dilapidated city with nearly $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities, and no way to pay for them. The city has lost 63% of its population, has lost over 90% of its manufacturing jobs, over 48% of them lost in the last decade alone. The city is more reliant on casinos for city revenue, about $11 million per month, than on automaker tax revenue.

About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is vacant or dilapidated, and there are over 78,000 abandoned homes. Two-thirds of the parks were permanently closed over the past five years. Only about a third of the city’s ambulances are functional, and the average response time to a 911 call is 58 minutes.

As disheartening as that is, the human toll is even greater. The murder rate is 11 times higher than New York City’s, and the violent crime rate is five times higher than the national average. Less than half of Detroit’s residents over the age of 16 have jobs, and over 60% of the children live in poverty. An astonishing 47% of Detroit’s citizens are functionally illiterate.

So what happened to this once proud symbol of America’s manufacturing successes? In short, they proved the validity of “Stein’s Law.” Herbert Stein was an economist and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisor’s under President Nixon. To him is attributed the succinct yet obvious economic truth, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Or, as he later restated, “Trends that can’t continue, won’t.” It’s ironic that Stein, father of author and actor Ben Stein, claimed Detroit as his hometown.

The trends that could not continue for Detroit were: steadily increasing city spending as tax revenue steadily declined, continued expansion in the size and scope of city government, and increasingly unrealistic benefit and wage concessions to municipal unions.
The latter is what syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer referred to as “legal corruption.” He described it this way. “The legal corruption was the cozy symbiosis of Democratic politicians and powerful unions, especially the public-sector unions that gave money to elect the politicians who negotiated their contracts — with wildly unsustainable health and pension benefits. . . .The market ultimately forced the car companies into reform, restructuring, and eventual recovery. The city of Detroit, however, lacking market constraints, just kept overspending — $100 million annually since 2008. The city now has about $19 billion in obligations it has no chance of meeting. So much city revenue has had to be diverted to creditors and pensioners that there is practically nothing left to run the city.”

If something can’t go on forever, it will stop. A family, city, state, or nation, simply cannot continue to spend more than it collects in revenue. It will eventually stop, as it did for Detroit with their Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing last month, and as countless families learn too late when they’re headed to their own bankruptcy court.

Many other municipalities that have made the same egregious spending mistakes will undoubtedly learn the lesson Detroit has; the hard way. But will the nation follow suit?

Presidents cannot continue to propose spending for every idea that sounds good. Congress cannot continue to kick the can down the road for future generations to deal with, by perfunctorily raising the spending limit, and spending beyond our means. And the size and scope of government cannot continue to expand inexorably, providing services and programs that we cannot afford. And the habit of perennial increases in benefits and pensions to public employees must be broken.

Remember, trends that cannot continue, will not. Detroit is now facing their day of reckoning. Will the nation, as well, or will we finally learn to demand fiscal accountability of our elected officials before it’s too late?

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

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