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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 9

March 10th, 2014 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Ronald Reagan said, “Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.” With some of the things we do I think that we are not really solving much but rather we are trying to correct what we have done or not done in the past. One of those items this week is what we call the annual “Codifiers bill” that corrects small errors in the law that have crept in over time, misspelled words, incorrect references, and stuff like that. What is most interesting is that there is someone whose job it is to read and re-read the law books looking for these things.

Along the lines of trying to solve a problem, I had a little tax bill in the Revenue and Taxation Committee to correct an oversight having to do with the renewable energy producers’ tax exemption. In spite of the Tax Commission having the bill to review for a couple of weeks, thirty seconds before the presentation they explained a problem that needed to be addressed. I guess I should be grateful it happened before the meeting, rather than my being rearranged in front of the committee.

At long last we have begun the process of setting the 2015 budget. It seems like it happens every year in the same way, the smaller budgets first, then the budgets that spend very little General Fund Revenue, and last of all come the big items. One budgetary item of interest to our smaller school districts, at least, is what is called “use it or lose it” money. It is just what it sounds like, if a district could not use the funds for the purpose it was designated, we have provided the flexibility for them to use the money in other ways. That flexibility has been extended for another year with a gradual phase-out in the future. It’s not a real problem solver but a rearrangement that gives some time to adjust.

A bill that would have helped reduce the expenditures for the county medically indigent program and the Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program passed the House easily and then met with an ignominious death in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. It provided that individuals would become responsible for their own medical care by their use of the Idaho Health Exchange and federal subsidies. Here again, it really didn’t solve much but did rearrange who pays in the end. If we do nothing, our local taxpayers will have a much larger share of funding medical care into the future.

And then there is daylight savings time. A House member from Boise introduced a bill that would have kept Idaho on daylight savings time year round. That created quite a firestorm of comments from all over the state. Some want regular time, some want daylight savings time, and the rest don’t see a need to change. It is like cutting a foot from one end of a blanket and sewing it on the opposite end and saying you have a longer blanket. The sponsor asked me to hold the bill. I think President Reagan was right. It is now 10:30 PM. Oh! Wait a minute, its 11:30. My life has just been rearranged, by government of course.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, January 20

January 21st, 2014 by Halli

Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

This time of session is a good time to begin drafting legislation. Sometimes it takes several tries to get a draft in shape for introducing in a committee. A lot of ideas are bouncing around right now to see if there is enough support before testing them in front of a committee. One example was an email I received from someone in Boise this past week wanting to introduce a bill naming the salamander the state reptile. Since they came to the House last year I suggested that they start in the Senate this time around.

Rules review continues and as usual there are some with a bit of controversy attached. We had received word that a Racing Commission rule was allowing for betting machines in Historic Racing that were not talked about last year, and being one who likes to see firsthand what is happening, a few of us went down to see what it looked like. It was interesting to see the machines operate. Time is always the judge of some of the things we do here and if this is to help live horse racing it will become apparent soon.

You may have read what the CEC (state employee raises) committee did this week and the recommendation is now being reviewed by the budget committee. The caution, that is expressed every year, is to make sure that one time money is not used for ongoing wage increases. My conversations with budget folks, so far at least, is that the one and one approach (one percent pay line move and one percent merit pay increase) is a number that can be achieved with the revenue projection that been made. None of this discussion has been about teachers but we are fully aware how the state employee raise issue influences the final outcome for teachers. I would expect we will see increases from the state for teachers as well.

The CAT (Catastrophic Healthcare Cost Program) presentation was made in the Budget Committee on Thursday. No conversation about healthcare is complete these days without bringing up the ACA (Obamacare) and how that figures into this budget. While there are a lot of unknowns because of the absence of solid numbers going forward, the other thing that cannot be easily overlooked is Medicaid Expansion or Redesign. Again as I talked to Budget people after the meeting, the resistance is still strong but may be weakening a bit. I cut my weekend short and traveled back to Boise to speak to a group, advocating for expansion. I have spoken to other groups as well these past few months and the title of my presentation is “Medicaid Expansion vs. Status Quo or Be Careful What You Ask For.” These were interesting conversations.

Throughout the discussion about the ACA is the cry for fresh ideas, and there are some that are forthcoming. One of those is community based clinics with a totally private solution, not involving government at all. Bring me the bill, I want to read it.

Helen Keller said, “College is not the place to go for ideas.” And what also proves accurate is that neither is the Legislature. Most of the real good ideas that come to this place come from our constituents. Ideas come and go but I would like to think that only the best ones make the cut.

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

Richard Larsen: Should Our Children Belong to the “Collective”?

April 16th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Just when we think the secular assaults against the nuclear family unit can’t get any worse, we disturbingly learn that they can. Now a host on a minor cable news network claims that we have to get over the idea that our children are ours, and accept the fact that they belong “collectively” to all of us.

Melissa Harris-Perry, a host for a weekend show on scarcely watched MSNBC, was taped in a “lean forward” (euphemism for “lean more left”) promo for the network, said that children don’t belong to their families they belong to the collective.

The host declared, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

The context seems innocuous enough; continue to engage in insanity (doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) by throwing more money toward education. The answer to our educational inadequacies and failings is always more funding, to some. Heaven forbid that we should consider using what resources we have more efficiently and effectively, and focus on teaching content that increases academic performance, instead of all the social engineering, and politically correct indoctrination that is so pervasively “taught” in our public schools.

Some don’t even think her terminology, referring to collective ownership of our kids, in the promo is controversial. The New York Times, and other media and extremist organizations have leapt to her defense. What should not be lost on us is that such entities are ideological compatriots to the host, and are firmly predisposed to the collectivist ideals of the left.

I’m sure the folks over at NAMBLA would rejoice over such a concept of collectivist ownership of our kids! And what about all those unborn children that are never given a chance to take their first breath? Should that not likewise be a grave concern to the collective?

In free societies, as America was originally founded to be, private property ownership is sacrosanct. The second line in our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Lockean Creed, upon which that statement is based, equates private property with pursuit of happiness.

While children are not considered property, and are not “owned,” the responsibility for rearing, teaching, and nurturing them is a private one, owned by the parents who brought them into the world. For those who lack the temporal means to support those children, there are safety nets that allow for community support of such disadvantaged children. Even that, however, does not diminish or transfer the very personal and private responsibility of rearing children to the state, or to the collective.

If all of this sounds familiar, it should. Last year in the midst of the presidential campaign Team Obama posted a slide show on the campaign website, with much fanfare, about the Life of Julia. It revealed the Obama Team dream of governmental (in this context, euphemism for “the collective”) involvement at every stage of life, from birth to death, and how the government would be the nurturing parental surrogate through each stage.

Karl Marx said, “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” Ms. Harris-Perry mirrors this sentiment: the children are not ours, they belong to the collective, and we need to abolish the notion that they are ours. Marx also said, “Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.” The MSNBC host would make Marx proud.

Who has the right to dictate how a child is to be reared? Certainly not the “collective,” and certainly not the government. It’s a private parental, and familial matter. Or at least it should be. The more government encroaches into health care management, social-engineering dictates, and redefinition of fundamental roles in society, the less control parents have over something as fundamental as the rearing of their children.

It is not just the economic aspects of socialistic and fascistic collectivism that must be resisted and repulsed, but perhaps even more significantly, the social and cultural collectivist agenda must be rejected. We have to recognize this steady encroachment for what it is, and that it is clearly antithetical to a free America.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – April 8

April 8th, 2013 by Halli

Rep. Tom Loertsher, R-Bone

Every year we have what we call the “Going Home Bill.” Some years it is about how to balance the budget and this year it was the Education budget. While there were a few other bills that remained to be done in the final few days, this was the one that drew the most attention. This was the week that it took to do about a half of a day’s business due to the slow-down in the Senate the previous week.

History will be a better judge of how well we did this year than trying to evaluate the session at this time. But then why not try anyway? So here is a little run-down of what we did and some of the effects of all of these new laws.

The biggest and most controversial issue by far was the Health Insurance Exchange bill. It consumed the discussion for several weeks and may be the matter on which history will judge us the most critically. You may be asking just what the effects of this process will be? The only honest answer is that we just don’t know yet and won’t know until there are more answers from Washington, D.C. There are so many variables at this point and we are hearing new little unpleasant details almost daily, or so it seems.

Personal Property Tax has to be the number two big deal worked on, again over a several week time frame. At one time it looked like the issue would die altogether and then there was suddenly a bill that came forward from the counties. The process in the bill is cumbersome but should have a positive effect on small businesses.

One noteworthy outcome for the education budget this year is that the general fund increase this year was in excess of eleven percent, which is not bad for a year that general revenues are predicted to come in at an increase of under three percent. Even the minority party supported the budget.
Time will also tell if we should have looked more carefully at Medicaid redesign and the counties’ medically indigent responsibility and the Catastrophic fund. It is sure to be the most talked about issue over the interim.

There is a long list of other things that did not get the attention of the press much or even mentioned for that matter. Federal land management, horse racing purse enhancement, tribal liquor licenses, election law clarifications, and changes to Idaho road law just to mention a few.

It has been a session to remember and now that it has come to a close, the criticism and/or praise is about to commence. And as for me, I had a funny feeling Sunday afternoon in finding myself at home going through the cattle instead of heading back to Boise. I could tell that the Duramax had the same pangs because I had to chain it to the shed to keep it from taking off on its own.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

David Ripley: ICL Testimony Against Obama Exchange

March 9th, 2013 by Halli

By David Ripley

The following testimony was delivered by David Ripley on behalf of Idaho Chooses Life before the House Health & Welfare Committee on March 7th:

MR. CHAIRMAN … MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE…
I RISE TO OPPOSE HB 248.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WITH THE LEGISLATION IS THAT IT IMPLEMENTS OBAMACARE.

THE SO-CALLED “AFFORDABLE CARE ACT” HAS ALREADY BUILT A PILE OF BROKEN PROMISES, GUARANTEED TO GET LARGER AS THE ENTIRE LAW TAKES ROOT. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS HERE WHO CAN ADDRESS MANY OF THOSE ISSUES, PARTICULARLY THE HORRENDOUS FINANCIAL BURDENS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ATTEMPT TO REVAMP AMERICAN SOCIETY AND ITS ECONOMY.

I WILL CONCENTRATE ON THE GRAVE THREAT THIS FEDERAL LEGISLATION POSES TO THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, I WILL JUST SUMMARIZE THE POINTS MADE BY THE BOARD OF IDAHO CHOOSES LIFE IN THE RESOLUTION JUST DISTRIBUTED:
A STATE INSURANCE EXCHANGE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK OF OBAMACARE.

BURIED WITHIN THE FEDERAL LEGISLATION IS A RIVER OF TAX MONEY TO SUBSIDIZE THE ABORTION INDUSTRY, AS WELL AS ABORTIONS THEMSELVES.

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ALSO CONTAINS PROVISIONS FOR A 15 MEMBER PANEL WITH ENORMOUS POWERS TO RATION HEALTH CARE FOR THE DISABLED, SENIORS AND THOSE DEEMED AN UNWORTHY SOCIAL BURDEN.

THE FEDERALIZATION OF HEALTH CARE POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO CONSCIENCE RIGHTS OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS – AS WELL AS TAXPAYERS, EMPLOYERS AND CHURCHES.THAT BECAME EVIDENT FROM THE OBAMA MANDATE TO PROVIDE “FREE” ABORTIFACIENTS.

WE FEAR IT IS BUT THE BEGINNING OF A WIDE ASSAULT ON THE 1ST AMENDMENT.

WE ALSO SEE AN UNPRECEDENTED THREAT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY BY THE COLLECTION OF MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PERSONAL AND INTIMATE FAMILY DATA. NEITHER THE ACA NOR THE BILL BEFORE YOU PROVIDES ANY REASONABLE SAFEGUARDS TO PROTECT THE RELIGIOUS AND PERSONAL LIBERTIES OF THOSE WHO USE AN EXCHANGE TO PURCHASE INSURANCE — WHETHER BY ENTICEMENT OR UNDER COERCION.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO CLAIM THAT THE ACA IS NOW THE “LAW OF THE LAND” AND THAT WE MUST SUBMIT. IF WE ARE COMPLIANT, PERHAPS OUR NEW FEDERAL MASTERS WILL ALLOW US TO MAKE HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS FROM TIME TO TIME. CURB ONE EXCESS OR ANOTHER.

TO THAT I WOULD ANSWER THAT THE EXISTING MEDICAID PROGRAM OFFERS US ALL THE EVIDENCE WE NEED OF WHAT WE CAN REASONABLY EXPECT AS WILLING SUPPLICANTS IN A “PARTNERSHIP” WITH AN OVERBEARING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

I WOULD ALSO SUBMIT THAT THE ACA IS NOT YET THE LAW OF THE LAND. NOT THIS LAND, ANYWAY. IT WILL NOT BECOME THE LAW OF IDAHO UNTIL AND UNLESS THE IDAHO LEGISLATURE SANCTIONS IT AND LEGITIMIZES IT.

OF COURSE YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF OBAMACARE. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THIS LEGISLATION. YOUR VOTE FOR HB 248 ENABLES IT TO BECOME THE LAW OF IDAHO. YOU WILL THEREBY BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FEDERAL RULES AS THEY EXIST TODAY … AND WHATEVER OUTRAGEOUS THINGS SECRETARY SEBELIUS DECIDES TO IMPOSE UPON IDAHO CITIZENS IN THE MONTHS AND YEARS TO COME.

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, WE ASK THAT YOU REJECT THIS BILL.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, 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: Students or Special Interests? What’s Our Top Priority?

October 29th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Insanity is often defined as the process of doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. While sanity may not be in question, logic certainly is as it relates to opposition to the education reform Propositions on the ballot in November.

In the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, the U.S. came in with an international ranking of 49. Compared against international scores, Massachusetts would be #17, and Idaho would be #71. Education Secretary Arne Duncan exclaimed after seeing the results, “For me, it’s a massive wake-up call.”

And considering how Idaho fared against the rest of the world, or even the other states, our wake-up call should be even greater. In light of this data, maintaining the status quo, just doing the same thing we’ve been doing, is perhaps insanity. What’s frightening is the fact that it’s our children’s educational future and their potential as productive members of society that weighs in the balance.

As a state we’re doing well with a 92% graduation rate from high school. But less than half of those are matriculating to college, and only 38% of those students return for their second year of college. That means of 100 Idaho high school graduates, only 16 are in college just a year after graduation. Of those that do go to college, 41% require remediation. This is woeful preparation for our young people, and research shows we are essentially relegating them to lower income jobs in perpetuity. This is unacceptable.

Idahoans can start addressing this unsatisfactory status quo by voting “Yes” on all three education reform Propositions. The Wall Street Journal called Students Come First “the nation’s most sweeping education reform.”

In 1983 I served on the Commission for Excellence in Public Education. We thought, as a commission, that augmenting core curriculum, increasing credit requirements in core subjects, raising the grading requirements, and setting attendance mandates, that we were paving the way for significant improvement in Idaho. Those changes made a difference, but came nowhere near what the benefits will be if these three Propositions are approved, as I detailed in my column last week.

Most inscrutable was the action taken by our Pocatello School Board this week. Not only did they unanimously refuse to endorse the Propositions, but they offered as justification that Students Come First “does nothing to address cost increases local districts would be forced to absorb…erodes the decision-making duties of locally-elected boards and puts these into the hands of the state’s Department of Education,” and it removes the ability for local school boards to “allocate their resources.” This rationale is fallacious and not supportable by fact.

By contrast, Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA), representing over 560 locally elected school board members and over 250 charter school board members, fully supports and endorses Proposition 1. Their reasons are in direct opposition to those cited by our local school board. The ISBA explains that, “The changes in the education reform law affected by Proposition 1 have restored those local school board responsibilities back where they belong. Idaho school boards are better because of these education reform laws, and we can’t imagine going backwards. Help us do our job effectively. We encourage Idahoans to vote for local governance and vote YES.”

It should be noted as well that the Idaho Education Alliance has endorsed Proposition 2, which is the pay-for-performance component of Students Come First. Proposition 3 reads like it could be straight out of the Secretary of Education’s “Digital Transformation” program.

The Pocatello School Board also claimed the propositions are unfunded from the state. This is factually erroneous. Rep. Mack Shirley, Vice-Chairman of the House Education Committee, who is himself a former teacher, principal, and instructor at the college level points out, “Claims from the opposition that these propositions are unfunded mandates and will raise taxes are false. These laws are in state statutes; the funding sources are already provided without any increased burden upon the taxpayer. The charges that technology will replace teachers are not true. Computers will assist teachers, not replace them. Teachers will remain in the classroom with more instructional tools and improved compensational opportunities over the present system. Voting these propositions down would, in my opinion, be a serious setback.”

Our local school board is intended to represent the interests of the citizens and taxpayers they serve. It would appear, based on the hard facts, that they have rather become a mouthpiece for the special interests opposing the measures, abdicating their primary function of representing district patrons.

The Pocatello School District obviously sees the merits of Proposition 3, for they were one of the first to apply for the mobile technology for students. And if they truly believe they’re giving up local control, they ought to read the actual propositions, rather than the talking points provided by the special interest groups opposing them. With Students Come First, they get more local control than ever before.

Taxpayers have nothing to fear, for the Propositions are fully funded by statute. Good teachers have nothing to fear for the entire educational apparatus is dependent on their talents and dedication, and they will be better compensated for their excellence. School boards have nothing to fear for they are afforded immense new flexibility and control at the local level. And students have everything to gain. The only losers are the unions that are bankrolling the anti-Students Come First propaganda, and they lose power and leverage, which is itself conducive to improved flexibility and educational excellence.

If we put students first, ahead of all other special and self-interests, we defy the status quo, and our vote on the Propositions will be Yes, Yes, and Yes.

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Inside the Gate

June 8th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Larsen: Enduring Wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

So many things have changed since Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tragic and premature death. The country that was divided mostly along racial lines that he sought to heal and palliate is now divided more by ideology. His cardinal wisdom and teachings endure, can be universally applied, and appertain as much today as then.

King was a highly principled man, driven by self-evident truths and fundamental values. He referred often to those values. “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” Some of those values were the very principles upon which the nation was founded, that he found lacking in their application to all Americans equally. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

He was an ardent advocate of freedom and individual liberty. While his teachings were framed in a culture of racism and racial discord, they apply universally to all Americans in the quest for individual liberty. As he said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Certainly those are wise words of encouragement to those of us who object to the usurpation of individual freedom by a government seeking to micromanage its citizens.

He continued, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” Individual and universal freedom was fundamental to him, without regard to ethnicity, and he advocated freedom, as opposed to government programs that diminish it.

On another occasion he said, “I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.”

He taught, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” He worked hard, understood how hard work develops character, and likely would not be a proponent of our welfare state, which in effect relinquishes personal responsibility and accountability to the state.

He likely would have consternation for those who engage in identity politics that are so pervasive today, where politicians sell out to special interests for votes, rather than doing what’s best for the nation. For as he said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” And as if to underscore this notion, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Edmund Burke, considered the father to conservatism, said, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” King echoed that sentiment, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

I think Martin Luther King would have concurred with Morgan Freeman, who was interviewed a few years ago in a “60 Minutes” segment with Mike Wallace. Wallace started out, “Black History Month, you find…”, Freeman interjected, “Ridiculous.”

WALLACE: Why?
FREEMAN: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?
WALLACE: Come on.
FREEMAN: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me.
WALLACE: I’m Jewish.
FREEMAN: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?
WALLACE: There isn’t one.
FREEMAN: Why not? Do you want one?
WALLACE: No, no.
FREEMAN: I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.
WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until…?
FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, ‘I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ Hear what I’m saying?”

Freeman, in that brief exchange, echoed MLK’s conviction, that his children would “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.” For your enduring wisdom, we honor you, Martin Luther King, and your work. May we embody and perpetuate the truths you taught.

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

Bob Webster: Creation vs. Evolution, Chapter 10

April 18th, 2011 by Halli

This is the final chapter of Bob Webster’s manuscript, Creation vs. Evolution.

Chapter 9

CHAPTER 10 LDS CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS TESTIFY

From THE CREATION, by Frank B. Salisbury, we glean the valuable information paraphrased here in Chapter 10.

P. 160 Only a small portion of the Geologic Time table exists at any one. location. All methods of age dating apply the principle of uniformitarianism.

P. 162 Sediments cannot be directly dated by the radioactive clock.

P. 175 No one in science has bothered to look for the evidence of cataclysms on a worldwide scale.

P. 180 – There is no way of demonstrating from the fossils alone that any one life form evolved into another.

P, 207 Darwin’s scheme of evolution depends completely upon some source of variety. Variety is the Achilles Heel of the entire evolutionary concept. Evolutionary theory requires mutations to provide variety: yet most mutations are either harmful or fatal.

P. 219 God hasn’t told the whole story, and science hasn’t collected all the data. The facts simply are not all in. Both sides require faith.

P. 221 The stratigraphic fossil record has always been evolution’s most attractive evidence.

P. 223 After 200 years of careful study, there is no fossil record of gradual evolution of phyla and divisions of living creatures! There are no intermediate stages! Complex forms appear suddenly in the record. The transitional forms simply are not there. No major group has obvious fossil predecessors!

P.225 – It is impossible to find rigorous p roof that any one fossil was the descendant of any other. The evolutionary sequences are merely implied!

P. 226 In many locations all over the earth, the cataclysmic origin of fossils is clearly indicated.

P. 227 There is no place on earth where all of the strata of the of the Geologic Time Table lie one on top of the other. The GTT was constructed on the pre-assumption that evolution occurred, and that organisms began simple and became increasingly more complex through time. This is merely self supporting “circular logic,” which is illogical and unscientific!

P. 228 – Numerous examples are known in which simple (supposedly older) life forms occur on top of more complex (younger) forms, with normal contacts between the sedimentary strata. This reality defies evolutionary theory. *** If even one strata or one fossil form is out sequence, then the entire evolutionary theory held by geologists is wrong! No compromise position is possible!

P. 231- Trinil Ape Man, alias Java Man (Pithicanthropuss erectus), is a proven hoax! Peking Man, once considered one of the strongest links in man’s alleged evolution, is even more tenuous than Java Man.

P. 233 THE STORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF MAN IS THE PRODUCT OF BASICALLY BAD SCIENCE!

P. 234 The scientific community has been totally convinced about an idea that has turned out wrong.

P. 235 The fossil record is the evolutionists’ strongest argument; yet it does not prove, nor even strongly support the theory of evolution.

P. 239 Scientific classification of living organisms, showing the complexity of their anatomy provides some of the strongest evidences against evolution. Evolution predicts a continuous sequence of organisms from the simplest to the most complex. But science shows that discontinuity is the over whelming rule in the geologic record.

P. 240- In natural selection, it is unlikely that a particular feature (such as the eye) would appear more than once during evolution. Yet many types of eyes exist in nature. The whole idea of evolution is completely disproven if evolution insists upon exact application of natural selection.

*** The reverence which men used to reserve for God is now bestowed upon assumed chance directed processes of nature, based on unprovable, atheistic assumptions.

P. 245 – In nature, homologous structures need not be controlled by identical or even related genes, and characters that are controlled by identical genes need not be homologous. These observations destroy the very foundation of the theory of evolution!

P. 247 – At one point, evolutionists proudly listed 180 “vestigial organs” which they claimed linked man with the “lower” forms of life. True science has shrunk that list to almost zero, as the true functions of these supposed “vestigial organs” are understood.

P. 251 – Molecular biology supports intelligent Creation.

P. 252 Minor creature adaptations are a far cry from producing new phyla, orders, families, and genera from some common ancestor. So called proof of evolution is in reality reduced to a few micro scale adaptations.

P. 253 It is enormously invalid to believe that the micro cases of adaptation prove the macro stale adaptations claimed.

P. 251 It is in the genes that evolutionary changes are alleged to originate. Yet, even the common genetic molecule called cytochrome C is too complex to be accounted for mathematically by the theory of evolution. Not even within the farthest limits of the conceivable expanses of Space is it mathematically possible!

P. 261- The evolutionist must rely on faith, much as the Creationist does. But evolutionary theory has no director. It is purely opportunistic and fortuitous.

P. 262 The evolutionary process faces impossible odds at each step, where the environment demanded the evolution of some new enzyme. Each time, the chances become vanishingly small. Consider all the coordinated body parts and intricate chemical react ions that would have to evolve separately, yet simultaneously.

P. 263 – Molecular biology has given us a deeper appreciation for the complexity and intricacy of life. Natural selection is inadequate to explain it. It is incapable of providing it. Variety would not appear often enough. Complexity is not accounted for by evolution’s purely mechanistic, chance directed, atheistic assumptions. Living cells must divide, multiply, and specialize at precisely the right times and places.

P. 265 Shakespeare was not written by letting monkeys randomly pound typewriters. Neither can
intricate enzymes be generated by chance All things testify of an intelligent and purposeful Creator.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

SCIENCE AND MORMONISM, by Melvin A. Cook and M. Garfield Cook is possibly the best LDS source of information on “LDS viewpoints.” The Cooks present, quote and compare the positions of all the “big names” among LDS scientists and theologians.

It becomes obvious that one can “prove” his own preferred position by quoting those LDS “big names” who favor that viewpoint. Just as in the rest of society, there are “big names” among LDS who favor literal Creation, others who favor evolution, and many in between. In other words, being LDS does not automatically mean you are anti evolution. Mormons appear to be just as diverse in their opinions on this subject as are members of any other religious group. But, Church Presidents have always supported Creation.

This reality makes it all the more important for the LDS individual to exercise his free agency and discover the truth for himself. As stated in the Foreword of this book, of all people on earth. members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints have the greatest advantage, and opportunity, to settle the science vs- religion controversy in their own minds. No other people have access to such a wealth of information on this subject as do the Latter day Saints.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The rough draft for this publication, CREATION-VS-EVOLUTION, was begun in 1975. In late 1999, as I was preparing it at last for printing, I saw a new book of articles by LDS authors with impressive credentials, both scientific and ecclesiastic. But I rejected it for detailed study after reading in the Introduction that the compiler felt that in the case of any conflict between science and religion, he would favor science. Soon after, I noticed another new book, EARTH IN THE BEGINNING, by Dr. Eric N. Skousen (ES). There are many, many books on this topic, each with its own interpretations and conclusions, of course, like mine. ES discredits organic evolution as the source of living organisms, yet identifies a possible way in which the ancient fossil records could be as old as claimed, yet not conflict with Creation and The Fall of Adam theology. ES’s book seriously challenged my paradigm. I am thankful to have found it before finishing my own effort. It is a valuable addition to this section.

EARTH IN THE BEGINNING, by Eric N. Skousen, PHD, 1997, Verity Publishing

ES agrees with the “true science” evidences already presented herein that mortal death began after The Fall of Adam, that radiogenic dating methods cannot give accurate dates of anything older than the Fall – about 6000 years ago, that Adam was the first man on earth and the first mortal “flesh,” and that the earth’s mortal/temporal existence is programmed to last only about 6000 years (6 God-days) until the 7th God-day, the Lord’s millennium, that catastrophism (not uniformity) is the main geologic force.

Where ES opens “eyes to see” is his detailed and systematic interpretations of the scriptural stages of Creation, supported at key points by LDS General Authority (GA) statements. His sequence, in brief is:
1. Organization of intelligence and matter by Gods.
2. Birth of living spirits (spirit creation), including the living earth, creatures and God’s own children – all near Kolob.
3. Three Creation Epochs:
1. Placing spirit lives on the spirit earth for experience (Moses 2) near Kolob.
2. Transplanting of physically-born lives onto the physically-born earth in a lengthy, preparatory period (Moses 3; Abra. 3-5) near Kolob.
3a. Sanctification of prepared earth (extinction/removal of all preparatory life) at the 6th-7th Day/Time.
3b. Transplanting modern, immortal, physical life forms onto the “prepared and sanctified” earth on the 7th Day/Time – near Kolob.
3c. Fall of Adam, and the fall of earth from Kolob into solar orbit; initiating mortality (7th Day/Time).

ES feels that earth strata containing “ancient fossils” are from the preparatory period (#3.2 above). In other words, ES says there was death and aging during the preparatory period before the Fall. Then, once earth was cleansed and sanctified of all preparatory life (by extinction or removal), the “modern” physical life forms for which God originally intended to occupy earth during mortality were transplanted here as immortal/Terrestrial beings, with no death until the Fall.
This is how ES accommodates the abundance of scientific evidences of ancient life forms found in earth’s rock record. None of these ancient, preparatory forms, however, are ancestors of the “modern” forms. In fact, all life forms are individual creations, incapable of replicating outside the orderly, genetic limits of their own kind. All were transplanted to earth from sources on other planets.

According to ES, EVOLUTION IS FALSE, because:
1. Science doesn’t support it; there is no geologic record of any ancestral origin or transition stages from ancient forms to modern forms, nor within any ancient or modern forms. No “missing link” or transition forms exist in the scientific, geologic evidence.

2. All life is created/born/organized by intelligent God-Creators. Development of life by accumulative accident is irrational, illogical and unscientific. All scientific evidence displays order, control and similarities.

3. Earth and the “inorganic” elements are all living intelligences. Earths, planets, stars, moons and all physical objects in all galaxies of space are NOT merely the result of accidental, natural forces of the universe. Intelligent and purposeful Gods control and use the natural laws to organize/create all matter, for the ultimate purpose of developing and perfecting Gods’ offspring into Gods, like their parents. It is a sophisticated, intelligent and stringent process.

4. ?”Time” is irrelevant and unmeasurable in the geologic evidence. ES’s Geologic Column (formerly called the Geologic Time Table) classifies rock strata from oldest to youngest, but does not assign any ages. Age dating anything older than the Fall (6000 years) is not scientifically possible with available technology, because of all the unknowns of the geologic process.

ES’s book expands one’s paradigm of Gods’ creation sequence, and also accommodates the known fossil evidence. Since the fossil record is obviously real, it must be explained somehow, and ES feels the answer is in the preparatory period described above. His interpretation also explains the doctrinal problem of “no death until after the Fall,” and reaffirms that modern life did not descend from those ancient forms. Those preparatory forms lived, and then either died out (extinction), or were removed before the earth was sanctified for modern forms, including Adam and Eve. Consequently, there were no “pre-Adam men,” only a rare few preparatory hominids.

1. In spite of ES’s careful discussion points, I still struggle with the seeming inconsistency in whether the physical earth of ES’s 2nd Creation Epoch was placed promptly into solar orbit after its birth, or kept near Kolob. ES says earth wasn’t put into solar orbit until after the Fall. My problem with this view is that our earth needed a day-night environment, and Kolob’s neighborhood is in the galactic center where there is constant light and no night. Our solar system, however, is an experienced “jig” designed to process probationary earths like ours, and has all of the day/night, warmth, tide-pull conditions necessary for the scheduled preparatory life period ES describes. I grant God the ability to make necessary adjustments in solar orbits to supply the slightly warmer and brighter conditions, which ES says were present during the preparatory period, and then to “fine tune” it again for the modern life period – first paradisiacal, and then mortal earth.

2. ES also discounts the concept of a rainbow-free thick vapor atmosphere prior to Noah’s Flood. It still seems plausible to me, as described elsewhere in this text, although I agree that the moisture-rich atmosphere was not the major source of the deluge waters. The lack of UV light screened out by a thick atmosphere could well explain the longevity question of Adam and his pre-diluvian posterity. Having a moisture-dense atmosphere does not imply that there was no sunlight or night/day conditions.

3. My third area of struggle is with ES’s view that the earth’s original, single land mass of “Pangaea” was “divided” by the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic Ocean. After such detailed documentation on other points in his text, this undocumented opinion shocks me. The subsequently “divided” Western Hemisphere obviously matches Europe and Africa on the Atlantic side. This is the least acceptable of all of ES’s points.

My major paradigm shock is accepting the preparatory period at all, with its death and decay, and “millions of years” dating. If time and decay were operational during a preparatory period, but irrelevant then, how can those ages from that period now be somehow “counted” by modern dating to be in the millions of years? Yet, ES’s quote (p.313) from LDS GA’s is stunning – that concepts of “no death before the Fall” is not an official doctrine of the Church ),J.E. Talmadge 4-7-1931.This is what opens the door of possibility for ES’s preparatory period scenario, to fill the geologic rock records as modern scientists now identify them.

In brief, ES’s position changes the doctrinal viewpoint from one of “No death before the Fall” to “No death during the Garden of Eden period, until after the Fall.” That is a significant difference. The rock record is there. It has to fit somehow, and ES’ view fills that awkward and disputed void.

If evolution’s detestable “millions of years” ages can now be tolerably explained and accepted as having occurred in a preparatory period, as ES proposes (before the Fall only), then those fossil ages don’t conflict with either the scriptural doctrine of “6000 years of earth’s mortal existence (since the Fall)” or the “No death until after the Fall” doctrine. By satisfying both of those two major conflicts, ES relieves most of the perpetual stress between science and religion, and at the same time maintains two other sacred positions –
1. That modern life (especially man) is NOT descended from any ancient forms (certainly not lower forms), and
2. That evolution theory is still verifiably as scientifically bankrupt and atheistic as religion has always claimed it is.

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