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David Ripley: Must Read – David Kupelian

September 18th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

A dysfunctional federal government; a Republican Legislature cooperating with the Obama Administration in imposing ObamaCare upon the citizens of Idaho; a culture in which abortion, pot smoking and homosexuality have been “mainstreamed” by a relentless media and corrupt political class.

Every sit back and wonder if you are the crazy one?

David Kupelian has a provocative column running on WorldNetDaily which is well worth your time:

“How America Morphed Into Bizarro World”.

Regular prayer is in order during these days of profound moral confusion. Despair and silence are not.

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

David Ripley: The Closer We Get, The Worse It Seems

September 17th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We’re now about two weeks from the official launch of Obama’s health care revolution. It is anyone’s guess as to what will actually transpire when the enrollment period begins. But the last couple of weeks have not been pretty.

A review of the headlines shows that public opposition is growing, while the nation’s political class – particularly Republicans – continues to fiddle. Organized Labor has risen up to raise serious objections to ObamaCare and the devastation it will wreak upon existing health insurance plans they fought so hard to secure. But their friends in the White House have rejected pleas for an extra-legal fix of the problems caused by Obama and Democrats in Congress.

Instead, Obama has spent his time figuring out how to help members of Congress and their staffs get special exemption from the provisions of the very law they are imposing upon the American people. The greed and self-seeking of our national political class is simply disgusting.

Meanwhile, we learn that health care rationing is being implemented as an essential part of ObamaCare. The state of California, which seems to have a more advanced system in place to implement this “obamanation” than other states, has announced a package of plans to be available on its insurance exchange. Insurance companies are severely restricting the doctors and hospitals they will cover as part of their “networks”.

One doesn’t have to be rocket scientist to figure out that pushing more people to fewer health care providers will increase wait times and discourage people from seeking health care until problems become acute.

And then there is the news that Sebelius will order doctors and hospitals to collect “behavioral and social” data on patients. This data will become part of our permanent “Electronic Health Record” , stored and maintained by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Such data records will be linked to public health departments. In addition to data on gun ownership, this database will seek to track sexual patterns.

The more we learn about this scheme, the worse it gets. In fact, it seems a kind of madness has gripped has gripped our political class. The corruption of our Constitution and the ensuing threat to our privacy and personal liberty is so very painful to witness.
It would seem that the only clear option for the average American is to resist ObamaCare by refusing to participate in Obama’s exchanges. Perhaps Idahoans can “vote with their feet” next month when Governor Otter reveals his version of ObamaCare. If few people cooperate, maybe we can force an admission by the ruling class that Americans will not be hogtied.

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

Richard Larsen: Constitution Week – It’s Never Been More Needed!

September 17th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week. If ever there was a time in our nation’s history when we needed to be reminded of our duties as citizens, and be refreshed, or newly instructed in our understanding of our Constitution, it is now. The spirit of apathy, and ignorance of our founding documents including the Constitution, plagues too many of our fellow citizens. This is a rectifiable weight around the neck of American democracy.

By joint Congressional Resolution, and the signature of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 17th was declared Citizenship Day, and September 17-23 of each year would be designated Constitution Week. That was reaffirmed in 2002 by then President George W. Bush. September 17, 1787 marks the historic signing of the Constitution for the United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson obviously knew of mankind’s inclination toward apathy and ignorance, when he said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

Over the course of the past few years, the abuses of Constitutional power have increased exponentially. There has never been a time in our history when remedial education of citizenship and the Constitution have been more requisite.

That is the objective of Constitution week, to 1) emphasize our responsibility of protecting and defending the Constitution to preserve it, and our freedoms, for posterity; 2) to understand the unique and binding nature of the Constitution in our heritage as Americans; and 3) to study and more fully comprehend the historical events surrounding the founding of our country.

Almost as a word of warning, Jefferson said, “I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries, as long as they are agricultural. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become as corrupt as in Europe.” Our government has reached that point much sooner than Jefferson envisioned.

Abraham Lincoln said of the Constitution, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” As soon as some of the rights or government limitations advanced by the Constitution are questioned, all of them are subjected to similar scrutiny and selective application, eventually. Each right curtailed or impinged upon, opens the door for similar abuses of any and all of the others enumerated in the Bill of Rights, comprising the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.

Albert Einstein, an immigrant to America, recognized the need for all citizens to be informed, educated, and resolute in preserving our rights, which include limitation of the powers of the state. Said he, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” With so many of our fellow citizens more concerned about getting their share of government largesse at the expense of their taxpaying neighbors, the determination to defend and support the Constitution and our liberties is commensurately diminished.
With all of the recent expansion of federal government infringing on our constitutional rights, we as citizens must take note of what Lincoln said of those who seek to trample our liberties. He said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

It’s difficult for us as a citizenry, to stand collectively and individually against those who seek to subvert our liberties if we suffer from abject ignorance of what those rights are, and what our government was constructed to do, and not to do. It is readily apparent from blogs and social media that great numbers of our fellow citizens suffer from acute ignorance of our founding documents, as they opine based on assumptions rather than what the Constitution authorizes.

Hence, the primary objective of Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, to increase our understanding and knowledge of our founding documents and the rights and privileges assured thereby. Ignorance, apathy, and selfishness are pitiful excuses for citizens in a constitutional republic that was founded upon principles of individual liberty and limited governmental power!

Whether there are public observances or opportunities for constitutional edification or not, let us each avail ourselves the opportunity this week to become more informed, more educated, and more proactive citizens by reading our Constitution and studying the history surrounding its ratification. I’m convinced most of those who are critical of our Constitution will be amazed at what is in it, but perhaps even more, what is not.

As Benjamin Franklin portended after the signing of the Constitution, we have a republic, if we can keep it. And for any quasi-objective observer of our contemporary political environment, we’re not keeping it, but letting it slip away, one constitutional precept at a time. Now is the time to remedy our constitutional illiteracy, and to uphold those who take their oath to support the Constitution seriously.

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

David Ripley: Rush Limbaugh Bemoans America’s Chemical War Against Children

September 17th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Dean of the Conservative Movement in America took time on his show this morning to challenge the prevailing humanitarian superiority of Obama’s Administration following the presidential address last night to the nation. President Obama rightly called upon America’s attention to the outrage of a government using chemical weapons against civilians – including children.

But Limbaugh pointed to Obama’s stark hypocrisy on the use of chemical weapons by recalling the permanent American war against babies in the womb, largely financed by unwilling taxpayers. Millions of America babies are killed each year through the use of chemical weapons in the form of RU-486 and the “Morning After Pill”; yet few voices of outrage are raised in alarm.

(Where is Senator Huff & Puff – a.k.a., John McCain – on this issue of huge moral import?)

Perhaps the difference is that we don’t have handy pictures of those American babies, bundled in piles for the world to see.

It is too easy to turn away from the American slaughter of the innocent. They pass silently and privately into death, shrouded by a conspiracy so that we don’t have to confront our own holocaust.

Please read Limbaugh’s powerful commentary for yourself.

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

David Ripley: Machinery Grinds On

September 11th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

As the world watches Obama succumb to the superior diplomatic skills of Vladmir Putin, the federal and state bureaucracies grind on with their blind mission to animate the monster of ObamaCare. Over 10,000 pages of new regulations, in addition to the hills of paper being created by Idaho’s own health insurance exchange bureaucracy.

We now learn that virtually every company in America is being forced to help Obama implement his mad scheme: A company with even a single employee must notify – in writing – each employee about the health insurance exchange and the availability of federal subsidies. Failure to do so could result in a $100 per day fine. So, at the point of a bayonet, private employers will join the ranks of Hollywood and the NFL in a high-stakes propaganda effort in selling the Obama Exchanges as they launch early next month.

Welcome to the new America.

Even as more bricks fall upon the private sector, Republican leaders in Congress continue to shy away from a direct confrontation with Obama over the menace of his health care scheme. Rather than use the power of the purse to shut down ObamaCare, Speaker Boehner and his cohorts intend to finance ObamaCare through a continuing resolution. But to appease their conservative base, Republicans in Congress will pass yet another piece of legislation to repeal ObamaCare – safe in the knowledge that such legislation will not become law, will not interfere with the grinding forward motion of the federal government’s plan to consume the nation’s health care system.

One is tempted to pronounce such GOP stratagems pure cynicism.

The last line of defense against ObamaCare will be the American people themselves. Long before the next election, the public will get its best shot at derailing the president’s scheme by avoiding the insurance exchanges altogether. In about a month, we will begin to see whether the public is participating in the exchanges in large enough numbers to make ObamaCare anything close to functional.

A wholesale avoidance of the Obama exchanges might be enough to embolden the House Republicans to use the power they have under the Constitution to defend our birthright of liberty.

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

Richard Larsen: Illogic of U.S. Involvement in Syria

September 11th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

With growing evidence of state-sponsored use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, the usual response would be some reprisal to discourage such usage again. That is certainly the hope of the administration. But that is hardly a “slam dunk” proposition when the country is embroiled in a bloody civil war, and our enemies are battling our enemies.

It’s morally unconscionable to back either side in this conflict. On the one hand is the despotic regime of Bashar al-Assad, who is also the Secretary for the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. The regime is closely aligned with Russia, and shares political and financial support of Hezbollah, the terrorist group, with Iran. Syria’s support of Hezbollah landed the country on the vilified State Sponsors of Terrorism list in 1979. Hezbollah has played a significant role during the civil war battling insurgents alongside the official Syrian military.

On the other hand are the insurgents, those fighting to topple Assad. Early on in the civil war, the largest revolutionary group was the Free Syrian Army, a group of army defectors that was non-sectarian. However, they have lost their leadership role to the Syrian Liberation Front, Hamas, and especially to Jabhat al-Nusra, all of which espouse an Islamist ideology. The latter group is comprised mostly of fighters from Iraq’s post-war insurgency and have pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Until the political correctness of the Obama administration started redefining Islamic extremist groups, these were all terrorists.

If Assad is deposed, Syria will likely follow the pattern of Libya and Egypt, with Islamic fundamentalists assuming control, which plays directly into the Islamic extremist determination to establish an Islamic Caliphate that encompasses the entire Middle-Eastern region, paving the way for the return of the Twelfth Imam.

The current U.S. players in the Syrian diplomatic minefield have significant baggage with regard to the Assad regime. John Kerry, current Secretary of State, has had several visits with Assad, where he’s referred to him as a “very generous man,” and a “friend.” Nancy Pelosi led a friendly congressional delegation to Syria in 2007 despite, or because of, the opposition expressed by the Bush administration, and then botched her message of peace with Israel. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has heaped praise on Assad for being a “reformer.” These socialistic bedfellows are no longer on cordial terms.

The Obama team has made it clear that they want to encourage Assad to not use chemical weapons again. That’s the intent behind their plan to fire a few tomahawk missiles at non-strategic locations within Syria. Assad is not to be targeted, nor are his chemical stockpiles, or any of his military installations. Obama clarified last week in a PBS interview that he envisioned the strike being a “shot across the bow,” a warning to not use chemical weapons again. In other words, it’s symbolic, and serves no tactical purpose.

The Obama strike would be comparable to when President Clinton ordered 23 tomahawk missiles shot into Iraq in June of 1993 for the attempted assassination of former President George H. W. Bush. Those strikes accomplished little, as alluded to by George W. Bush after the attacks of 911, when he vowed he wouldn’t make that same kind of mistake. Bush reportedly said, “I’m gonna be patient about this thing, and not go firing a 2 million dollar missile at a 10 dollar tent just to hit a camel in the butt.”

Hezbollah has been saber rattling ever since Obama’s announcement to bomb Syria. They have threatened retaliation against American interests overseas, especially in the Middle East, and retaliation against Israel. Israel has been consequently beefing up defense shields preparing for an attack from Iranian and Syrian based Hezbollah forces. And we shouldn’t be so naïve as to suppose Russia or China, close friends to the Assad regime, would sit idly by while their ally is attacked. Our diplomatic relationship with Russia is already the worst it’s been since the cold war. This will make it undeniably worse.

If you get the feeling that a tepid and mostly symbolic bombing of non-strategic targets in Syria can set off a full-scale regional conflict including the Islamic extremist desire to wipe Israel off the map, you’re not alone!

The U.S. has no national security interest in Syria, other than limiting the use of chemical weapons, which a limited bomb-strike will in no way assure. The country is engulfed in a bloody civil war where our enemies are fighting our enemies. Let them have at it. The consequences of our involvement are potentially much, much greater than can possibly justify the illusory intended results of a limited strike.

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

Richard Larsen: Selective Application of Tolerance

September 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Tolerance is a virtue. But to be a positive force in a nation, or a community, it must be applied universally, not selectively.

Definitionally, it denotes not only forbearance of behavior, but of opinions that are disagreed with. Yet the degree of intolerance shown to people like Ralph and Rochelle Lillig is immensely disturbing, especially coming from those who are such ardent advocates of toleration.

The Lilligs have been subjected to threats, obscene anonymous phone calls, character assassination, and disturbing mischaracterizations in social media for having the courage to express their opinions.

And what is the heinous injustice the Lilligs are guilty of? They have the chutzpah to suggest the citizens of Pocatello exercise their right to vote on whether to accept the proposed “anti-discrimination” ordinance. Encouraging democratic involvement is fundamental to the American tradition. They should be lauded for advancing the notion that we should actually have a direct voice in the laws we’re beholden to, rather than just leaving it in the hands of elected officials, some of whom have proven susceptible to coercive pressure from a small yet vocal minority.

The local 2Great4Hate group is exercising their freedom of speech to advance their agenda. I don’t see them vilified for doing so. So why show such intolerance to the Lilligs for exercising their freedom of speech? It would appear that the left’s version of tolerance is very selective and exclusive. I was unceremoniously ostracized from their Facebook group because I failed to comport with their selective concept of “tolerance.” Apparently it’s not enough to simply oppose any form of discrimination, but one must accept the entirety of their narrow, codified version of it, regardless of the unintended consequences.

The left’s version of tolerance obviously excludes social conservatives who have the temerity to support the nuclear family, and broad exercise of freedom of speech. This was made painfully clear by their reaction to Chik-Fil-A last year when the company CEO revealed they were supportive of the traditional nuclear family. The left’s reaction evidenced a selective tolerance disorder, where it’s not enough to merely advocate treating others the way you want to be treated, but you have to buy into their precise agenda of forced acceptance of aberrance, deviancy, and codified enforcement.

As a principle, and a characteristic to be aspired, tolerance is antithetical to ideological conformity. If tolerance is publicly demanded of behavioral and ideological aberrance, it should likewise be extended toward people of contrarian values. Freedom of speech and expression should be absolutes for all citizens and groups, not proscribed for those who believe differently. Applying a common aphorism, if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.

It’s disconcerting when the primary means of advancing a particular agenda is verbal guerilla warfare of intimidation and personal attacks against those who have the audacity to disagree with them. It smacks of a fascistic tyranny of the minority by attempted intimidation of nonconformists.

I was critical of Attorney General Eric Holder when he claimed that we’re a “nation of cowards” for not addressing racial issues to his liking. But it’s no wonder we’re becoming a nation of cowards, since whenever someone has the courage to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech and it doesn’t conform with the left, they get vilified and publicly excoriated. That doesn’t seem very “tolerant” to me.

Christopher Hitchens, the secularist and author of “God is not Great” said in a New York Post interview, “More and more I find that those people are the real enemy intellectually. There’s no dishonesty like liberal dishonesty, just like there’s no intolerance like liberal intolerance. There’s nothing they won’t excuse and no excuse they won’t deploy. Their piety is a big aspect of that.”

The ultimate hypocrisy is to claim adherence to a standard of behavior yet fail to hold oneself accountable to that standard. If tolerance is a noble virtue to which our society must aspire, it must be applied universally, not just demanded of those who believe differently by those who have so little to spare. The bigotry and churlish behavior exhibited by the left on these kinds of issues should be sufficient to give any sentient person cause to spurn not only their conduct, but their agenda.

Tolerance is “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” It doesn’t mean we have to agree, but it does require civility and mutual respect, in spite of perceived differences. It’s a worthy virtue to aspire to collectively as a society. But to have any collective efficacy, it must be applied universally, not selectively.

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

Richard Larsen: Hypocrisy and Discrimination at the MLK Commemoration

September 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned for America 50 years ago this week has mostly been achieved. But regrettably, those who attempted to honor him on the anniversary of his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, rather than honoring him, tarnished his memory with a new kind of segregation and discrimination, based on ideology.

Dr. King declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” With a black president, and several black congressmen and civic leaders in attendance, clearly the racial glass ceiling is shattered. And while there may be still a few pockets of actual racism around the country, electoral evidence on its own clearly signals the demise of racial discrimination in any systemic form.

But what was in evidence this week in Washington was a new version of discrimination, based on ideology. Where were the only black U.S. Senator, and the only black Supreme Court Justice? They were unceremoniously not invited. It clearly is not based on race, but based on ideology. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is a Republican, and is the only black senator, and is one of only eight in history. Clarence Thomas is a conservative jurist, was appointed by a Republican president, and is only the second in history to hold that position. The only conceivable explanation for their exclusion is based on ideological alignment.

So let’s see if we understand this correctly. It’s not enough to be a minority and stand as evidence, based on station in life, that skin color no longer has relevance in today’s society. Rather, what’s most important is that one subscribes to liberalism, pay homage to their Party, and then skin color no longer matters. In other words, what the organizers of this week’s event honoring Rev. King did, was engage in exactly the kind of conduct King himself denounced. They discriminated.

In fact, of the three dozen speakers at the event, not one was a Republican, a conservative, or anything but a died-in-the-wool Democrat. Clearly we witnessed a gross and blatant example of discrimination. Why would they intentionally discriminate against the party of Lincoln, the party and ideology that pushed through the 13th and 14th Amendments ending slavery, and the party that pushed through the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964? None of those would’ve been possible without Republican support, and in most cases, ardently advocating for them.

It would appear that issues regarding race in the 21st century, are not about race at all, but about using race as a political tool for liberalism and advancing the cause of their party. How else could one possibly justify that the party of Strom Thurmond, Robert Byrd, and Jim Crow Laws, would be the arbiters of all arguments alleging racism? The hypocrisy and duplicity are unsurpassed! Especially when we realize that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was himself a Republican.

Confirming this observation, King’s speech 50 years ago cited the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Amendments to the Constitution referring to our individual liberties as citizens. Yet the administration of the first black president, proving in part by his position that King’s dream has been realized, officially classifies the types of persons who quote those documents as terrorists, potential terrorists, or right-wing extremists. Based on that alone, Obama would’ve had to recognize in King a threat to national security. How’s that for an ideological conundrum?

It becomes painfully more clear all the time that the left’s concept of diversity, in a racial context, really has nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with an ideological homogeneity, exclusivity and purity. The line of demarcation is purely ideological. If you’re a conservative or a Republican, expect no tolerance, no inclusion, no attempts at understanding, and no seat at the table of acceptable political speech. Such should be rather segregated from the mainstream of societal discourse, branded as possible terrorists, and classified as extremists.

Some of the idiocy that passed for lofty elocution at the rally this week confirms this observation further. Martin Luther King III claimed that some still use race as a “license to profile, to arrest and even to murder,” obviously referencing the Trayvon Martin case. Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, claimed the Supreme Court had “eviscerated” the voting Rights Act by making it possible for states to pass voter ID laws. Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, apparently referencing the same Supreme Court decision, claimed that even though Klansmen in white sheets are no longer a menace, that judges in black robes pose as great a threat.

And then President Obama, in his inexorable role as salesman for his unpopular Obamacare, made a failed attempt at convincing us that MLK would’ve approved of it. Apparently the President has not read anything that MLK wrote or spoke of, since everything he said was based on the principle of freedom, which is sacrificed at the altar of the Affordable Care Act.

The Party that sponsored this week’s rally is ideologically and politically the least qualified to heap accolades on Rev. King. They have, after all, replaced their Jim Crow laws, forced segregation, and slavery, with government handouts and party loyalty that have made minorities slaves to new masters: the government, and the Party that controls it.

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

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