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Richard Larsen: Brexit – A Portent for the EU and Possibly for America

July 9th, 2016 by Halli


by Richard Larsen

Bigger is rarely better. Especially when it comes to governance. The “bigger” government is, the more detached from the governed it becomes; the more onerous its regulations and taxes become, and it becomes more susceptible to the ideologically motivated cause célèbre of the ruling elite. We have seen that verity over the past several years in America, and apparently the United Kingdom (UK) has come to the same conclusion.

Last week UK citizens voted by a narrow majority to withdraw from the European Union (EU), the amalgam of 28 nation states who joined the collective 23 years ago. The EU was to provide member nations more clout and influence by being part of the politico-economic entity that comprised the 2nd largest economy in the world, based on gross-domestic product (GDP).

The result of the vote created a veritable tempest in a teapot for financial markets, as most global stock exchanges dropped by 8-12% over the next two trading sessions. The stock selloff resulted in a predictable flight to safety, as traders moved to treasuries and the metals, spiking bond values and dropping yields. U.S. markets have recovered most of that volatility-induced loss, while most European markets have only somewhat recovered.

The tempest in a teapot metaphor is apropos since it would appear the vote to exit (British Exit, hence, “Brexit,”) was significantly influenced by a planned regulation of the top selling teapots and toasters in the UK. Tea and toast are staples to Britons, as they consume six times the tea their mainland counterparts drink. In April European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker accidentally revealed that there would be new restrictions on the devices based on new “ecodesign” models, over concerns with anthropogenic global warming. The new regulations would have banned eight of the best selling teapots and nine of the best selling toasters in the UK. In short, don’t mess with the Brit’s tea and toast!

They were also planning on banning six of the top 10 selling vacuum cleaners in the UK, including immensely popular British manufactured Dyson models. The move was seen as more “nanny state” meddling in the minutia of daily life. And their proposals were seen by Britons, apparently, to be as inane and idiotic as when the U.S. congress outlawed incandescent light bulbs as one of the first “accomplishments” of Nancy Pelosi’s 110th Congress in 2007. Ideologically driven regulatory meddling – the “nanny state” personified!

Brexit is perhaps the first of a series of antiestablishment votes, protesting the perceived disparaging effects of globalization. British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will resign in October. After a new PM is selected at the Conservative Party conference, the new PM will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will initiate the formalities of divorcing the UK from the EU, which are predicted to take about two years to implement.

MFS, the Boston-based mutual fund company, explained in a research piece this week, “To sum up, it looks as though the UK’s decision to leave the EU could be the beginning of a large, protracted process in which dissatisfaction with the effects of three decades of globalization is being expressed in ever more impactful ways.”

Theodore Bromund, senior research fellow in Anglo-American Relations at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, expresses little concern from the Brexit vote. He argues that the benefits to both the U.S. and the U.K. are much greater than staying with the EU.

“The upside, economically, is that the UK would have the ability to sign genuine free trade agreements with whichever nation or nations that it could negotiate satisfactory agreements. The U.K. has a much wider financial role than just trading with the United States, as important as that is, and the city of London could continue its worldwide financial role, unrestrained by Euro related concerns. So that’s the economic side.”

Marian L. Tupy, senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, thinks the effect on the U.S. will be negligible. “I don’t think that British involvement in Europe will have any consequences for America’s economic growth, not at all.”

Professor Tim Congdon of the University of Buckingham, has highlighted the high costs of regulation from the EU. He maintains that EU membership costs the U.K. over 10 percent of GDP, and that long-term they’ll be much better off.

The Brexit vote could be the beginning of the unravelling of the EU. Other countries considering their own “Brexit” are Czechoslovakia (“Czechout”), Finland, (“Finnish”), Italy (“Italeave”), and Netherlands (“Nexit”). As the anti-globalization sentiment grows, there could be a domino effect, which could see the unraveling of the EU and their currency, the Euro. Since the UK retained their Pound Sterling, at least they won’t have to worry about a currency reversion.

Nigel Farage, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), gave some of the credit for the successful Brexit campaign to President Obama. “Threatening people too much insults their intelligence. A lot of people in Britain said, ‘How dare the American president come here and tell us what to do?’ It backfired. We got an Obama-Brexit bounce, because people do not want foreign leaders telling them how to think and vote.”

Presidential candidate Donald Trump was not surprised. “The world doesn’t listen to him.” Trump said he wholeheartedly backed Britain’s decision to leave the EU and once again forge its own path. “You just have to embrace it,” he said. “It’s the will of the people. What happened should have happened, and they’ll be stronger for it.”

Farage explained further, “People power can beat the establishment if they try hard enough.” It worked for the UK, and may carry over to other EU members with their upcoming votes. The U.S. could join that same anti-globalism and anti-establishment wave with a Trump victory in November. Time will tell.

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

Richard Larsen: No-Fly List Gun Control – Denying Citizens Rights Without Due Process

July 9th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The latest efforts to enact gun-control by Democrats in congress are either strictly symbolic, since they would not have stopped the San Bernadino or the Orlando Islamic extremists, or a Trojan horse to abolish the 2nd Amendment. Their proposal is to deny 2nd Amendment rights to anyone on the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) “no-fly list.”

The murderers in San Bernadino and Orlando were not on the no-fly list, so even if such a law were in place, those acts of domestic terrorism would not have been prevented. So from that standpoint, such legislation would be mostly symbolic, and solve little to nothing.

It is much more likely, however, that the legislation is a Trojan horse to literally abolish 2nd Amendment rights of all, or more likely, select citizens. The no-fly list is created by bureaucrats of the Executive Branch, and is so secretive that people don’t even know their names are on it until they attempt to board a flight. We have no idea exactly how many people are on the no-fly list, but an FBI factsheet uncovered by PolitiFact in 2013 indicated there were 47,000 names on the list at that time.

Not only do citizens not know if they’ve been added to the list, they have no way of preventing themselves from being added, since the government maintains it in secrecy, and has provided no clear criteria or rationale for names being added to it. As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU Nation Security Project has said, “The government puts people on the no-fly list using vague and overbroad standards, and it is wrongly blacklisting innocents without giving them a fair process to correct government error.”

The ACLU has filed suit against the government over their seemingly arbitrary and spurious addition of names. As Shamsi explains, “Our no-fly list lawsuit seeks to establish a meaningful opportunity for our clients to challenge their placement on the list, which is error-prone and has had a devastating impact on their lives.”

And since the list is maintained by the Executive branch, and in secrecy, the potential for abuse is massive. Just look at how the IRS, which is also administered by the Executive branch, has politically targeted purported enemies of the Obama administration, and conservative political activist groups. Such abuse has tyranny and fascism written all over it!

Especially in light of what the Obama administration did just after it came to power in 2009. In an Agency Assessment from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” the “enemies of the state” were clearly identified, and it was entirely based on ideology.

According to the, communiqué the issues qualifying citizens for “enemies of the state” status include opposition to gun control, government infringement on civil liberties, abortion, hate crime legislation, anti-illegal immigration, and opposition to same-sex marriage. In a footnote, the document states, “[Rightwing extremism] may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” In other words, everyone who is not a left-wing radical was identified officially an enemy to the Obama Administration and accused of being a potential domestic terrorist! By their own admission, however, they had no evidence of potential threats, so the assessment was nothing but a political hatchet-job against those who don’t agree with them.

After passage of the Democrat’s bill denying 2nd Amendment rights to those on the no-fly list, all that would need to be done by an unscrupulous and tyrannical president, is put all citizens with political leanings identified by the 2009 Agency Assessment on the no-fly list. From the Democrat’s perspective, problem solved. But for the nation, nothing solved, since leftists perpetrate most mass killings.

Once on the no-fly list, it’s nearly impossible to get off of it. The ACLU has declared, “The government denies watchlisted individuals any meaningful way to correct errors and clear their names.” Eleven term congressman John Lewis (D-GA), has been trying to get his name off of the list for five years.

There is no process by which a citizen can be prevented from being added to the no-fly list, or the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List. Which means, if a citizen were added to one of them, they would be deprived of their constitutional rights without due process, which is guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments. This would be just one step away from the government denying 1st Amendment (freedom of speech, etc.) rights by placement on a government watch list, or “no speak” list, again denying due process, and violating rights assured by our most foundational document. This would be tyrannical and fascistic, and as antithetical to American values as one could get!

This argument was brilliantly illustrated in a House Government Oversight Committee hearing exchange between chairman Trey Gowdy and DHS Deputy Director Kelli Burriesci in December. That two minute video should be watched by every American, and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wrxmaMLXLE.

And while we’re on this subject, why is it that the ire of the anti-gun left is invariably targeted against the National Rifle Association? Founded in 1871, the NRA is the oldest continuously operating civil rights organization in the country. Their objectives are protecting our 2nd Amendment rights and teaching responsible and proper gun use. Blaming them for abuse of those rights is like blaming the ACLU for 1st Amendment abuses, like hate speech! Can’t get much more illogical and inane than that!

Gun control is a key issue for the left, since it can be so easily fomented emotionally. But it does nothing to address the underlying social and cultural issues which are the cause of violence and domestic terrorism. And using vague government controlled lists as the basis to deny fundamental rights is a violation of our constitutional rights, which define what it means to be an American citizen.

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

Richard Larsen: Solution to Domestic Terrorism is NOT More Gun Control

June 29th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

In the face of the horrible terrorist attack in Orlando this week, Senate Democrats filibustered, holding the floor of the Senate hostage in order to enact more gun control legislation. What they seem incapable of acknowledging, is that it’s not further diminution of our 2nd Amendment that needs correction, but rather a complete overhaul of the Obama Administration’s policies that enable and facilitate such heinous attacks on our own soil.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, December 7, 2010. Obama vowed Tuesday to fight to overturn tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in 2012, just a day after reaching a compromise with Republicans to extend the cuts for two years.

In response to the attack, President Obama showed anger and emotion, something rarely seen from him. But his rage was not directed to the homegrown terrorist who perpetrated the massacre in Orlando, rather it was aimed at his political critics, and Donald Trump, for criticizing Obama’s apparent inability to correctly identify and name the jihadist zealotry that has brought Islamic extremism to the homeland.

Obama angrily lashed out, claiming that calling such terrorism “radical Islam” is not a strategy. He is correct, it is not a “strategy.” But it is the basis for creating a strategy. Sun Tzu, the 6th century Chinese general and military strategist, perspicaciously declared, “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” Obviously, from a strategic standpoint, it’s critical to know not only yourself and your strengths and weaknesses, but also those of your enemy. And your strategy is incapacitated and fundamentally flawed if you refuse to even properly or accurately identify your enemy, especially their motivation.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, correctly identified this fundamental flaw of Obama’s this week when he said to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, “Telling the truth about violent Islam is a prerequisite to a strategy – a strategy you [Obama] admitted you don’t have. It is the Commander-in-Chief’s duty to actually identify our enemies and to help the American people understand the challenge of violent Islam.”

ralph-peters1Lt. Col. Ralph Peters echoed that verity in an interview on Fox News this week. “Using the correct terminology, jihad, & radical Islam, they have legal, strategic, military, and no end of important meanings as applied to the strategy.”
He went on to provide examples of how the Obama administration has weakened our ability to address the threat, not just abroad, but even more significantly, here at home. “We’ve censored our law enforcement, the pentagon and the military. They can’t teach certain things. They can’t teach the history of jihad honestly. They can’t use these terms. The FBI is restricted from using certain terms. How does that help us?”

He concluded, “We’ve got to quit saying that this isn’t Islam. It’s part of it. Jews and Christians have no authority to say what is and isn’t Islam. Muslims have that authority, and hundreds of millions of Muslims have declared that this is it. We have to call it what it is, and what they’re telling us it is.”

Then, addressing the political component of this failure to identify the enemy, he pointed out, “The administration has allowed Muslim activists here to block certain lecturers from speaking at military schools or the FBI Academy. We have allowed radical Muslim activists here in the United States to control the curriculum at our law enforcement and military training schools. It is a phenomenal error. If we can’t teach or have an open and honest debate, hear from both sides, about the history of jihad, about radical Islam, about Wahhabism, what have we come to? This is Orwellian doublespeak: peace is war, war is peace. You’ve got to use language precisely. It has legal, military, cultural implications, and it matters to the strategy.”

751bfb15177cf32c640f6a7067003688In the middle of all of this extremist mayhem, and with the worst domestic terrorist attack since 9/11 serving as a backdrop, the Obama administration quietly announced this week that it’s “fast-tracking” the number of Syrian refugees coming into America. According to Avril Haines, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor this week, “We’re speeding up the admissions process. So far, we’ve admitted about 3,500 Syrian refugees – more in the last five weeks than in the past seven months.”

National Intelligence Director James Clapper said just a few months ago, “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that is a huge concern of ours.” And the FBI Director James Comey said just a few months ago in a House hearing, that the government has no way to adequately screen these refugees for jihadist leanings. “We can only query against that which we have collected,” Comey said. “And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.” In other words, there’s no way to adequately vet them.

Chaffetz-428-ThumbnailTo make matters worse, if they could possibly be worse, the Obama administration’s Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) has released over 86,000 illegal immigrant criminals, who committed over 231,000 crimes, just since 2010. This data was made public at a House hearing last month by Rep. Jason Chaffetz. These were aliens who illegally entered the United States, were convicted of crimes here, and then simply released upon the unsuspecting public. We have no breakdown on the nations of origin of those criminals, but considering how porous our southern border is, the odds are great that many could have extremist leanings.

There is ample evidence that Obama’s convoluted and warped ideology carries over to domestic law enforcement. Retired Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agent Philip Haney had been running a special investigation into a worldwide Islamist movement originating from Pakistan known as Tablighi Jamaat. In the course of his investigation, Haney uncovered numerous connections between several mosques and individuals in the U.S. with known terrorists and terrorist organizations, including Al Qaida and Hamas, among others.

In an open letter to Congress just last year he explained how his program was cancelled. “Almost a year into this investigation, it was halted by [Hillary Clinton’s] State Department and the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. They not only stopped us from connecting more dots, the records of our targets were deleted from the shared DHS database. [Which included over 300 suspects.] The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s [the San Bernardino jihadist] attendance at al Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. Instead, Malik was able to avoid serious vetting upon entering the United States on a fiancé visa and more than a dozen Americans are dead as a result.”

He then offered this poignant observation. “The investigation was not stopped because it was ineffective, it was stopped because the Administration told us the civil rights of the foreign nationals we were investigating could be violated.” He then asked this compelling question, “When did foreign nationals gain civil rights in the United States, especially when they are associated with groups we already know are involved in terrorist activity?”

A meme circulating in social media indicates that during Ronald Reagan’s terms, there were 11 mass shootings. Under George H.W. Bush, 12. Under Bill Clinton, 23, and under George W. Bush, 16. But under the accommodating and acquiescent policies of Barack Obama’s administration, there have been 162, most of which they don’t recognize because of their diluted definition of a “mass shooting.”

More gun control is not the answer to these domestic terrorist attacks. The solution is to enforce existing laws against those who conspire to perpetrate terrorist attacks on Americans. Unleash law enforcement to employ profiling and all other effective tools go to the root of the jihadist organizations that have set up shop here at home. Take guns away, and they’ll simply change their weapon of choice, to IEDs or suicide vests. Solve the problem by going to the root, not by thrashing ineffectually at the branches.

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

Richard Larsen: Possible Drama for GOP Convention

April 8th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

This could be the first year in a long time that a major political party convention actually serves the function of producing a nominee, rather than simply being a coronation of a nominee. For many who are emotionally invested in a certain outcome from the conventions this year, the angst and outright anger is nearly palpable. But it’s unwarranted, as borne out by history, and an understanding of the function of conventions.

Until 1972, major party presidential candidates were all chosen by the respective party conventions. The chaotic 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago provided the incentive to move more to a presidential primary system to generate delegates to party conventions. Hubert H. Humphrey became the Democrat nominee even though he had not run in a single presidential primary.

The Republican Party has also reformed its nomination process over the years, yet has left most of the delegate selection process in the power of the state party organizations. Each state has rules for selection of their delegates, and their voting obligations, that may be different from even their neighbor states.

For example, Republicans have never adopted proportionality as a universal rule, which has left some with “winner take all” delegate assignation while others have been allocated on a percentage basis. They have intentionally left many of the delegate rules in control at the state level, rather than imposing a top-down system.

This also applies to how rigidly committed the delegates are to a particular candidate once the convention begins. If any of the candidates garner the requisite 1,237 delegates before the convention, nominee selection is a moot point. He will be the party nominee. But if none of the candidates garner that many delegates, the convention will of necessity be a contested one, not technically an open or brokered one. And there’s nothing ominous or pejorative about that, it just means the votes on the convention floor will actually mean something, rather than being a perfunctory vote for a predetermined nominee.

The RNC is going to great lengths to make the process as transparent and open as possible for the convention scheduled for July 18–21 in Cleveland. They’ve even created a new website where rules, facts, and details can be perused at conventionfacts.gop.
With a contested convention, the eventual nominee is unknown beforehand, since no candidate has garnered the requisite number of delegates to secure the nomination. Under the rules established by the party, since it is their convention and the respective candidates have at least ostensibly pledged allegiance to the party since they’re running under the party’s banner, several rounds of voting may occur before a nominee is selected by a majority vote. A plurality will not suffice. Most state rules only obligate delegates to vote according to the primary results of their respective states for the first ballot. After that, most can vote according to their conscience.

As of this week, Donald Trump has 736 delegates of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention. The number of delegates awarded to non-Trump candidates, including those who have “suspended” their campaigns (meaning they’re no longer seeking the nomination with an active campaign, yet have debts they still need to liquidate) is 834 delegates. That’s 98 delegates more than Trump has at this point. And there are still 902 delegates to be determined by the remaining primaries.
www.usnewsThis week Donald Trump reportedly met with the Republican National Committee to consider a rule change that would assure him the nomination even if he doesn’t reach the necessary threshold to secure the nomination. This seems more than a bit ironic since he’s been alleging that the RNC would change their rules to prevent him from securing the nomination, but he has no compunction in requesting a rule change to assure his victory. Perhaps ironic is insufficient; duplicitous would be much more accurate.

While Trump supporters are vociferous in their assertion that Trump should be the nominee if he has the most delegates, if he fails to secure the required 1,237 delegates, they must acknowledge that those supporting candidates other than Trump actually have more. So technically, the majority belongs with the non-Trump delegates, and a second or third ballot at the convention will likely determine the nominee. If he fails to secure the required number of votes, he loses the nomination, fair and square.

Metaphorically, having the best record in the NFL does not make a team the world champion. They have to win the Super Bowl to earn that title. A team is not merely proclaimed “champion” due to their record. Yet that seems to be what Trump adherents are arguing.

If, after losing a nominating vote on the floor of the convention, Trump opts to break his word and not support the nominee, he’s done nothing more than perhaps prove he is just a common politician after all, as his word means nothing. And if he pursues a third-party nomination, he simply proves he’s in it just for himself, and not for the nation, for he’d certainly hand the general election to either of the socialists running for the other party’s nomination.

For a little historical perspective, it would be good to know that Abraham Lincoln was the nominee who emerged from an open convention in 1860, on the third ballot. He was victorious even though he was not considered a contender heading into the convention.
Another contested GOP convention was in 1952 when retired general Dwight D. Eisenhower was in a close race with Senator Robert A. Taft, a respected party elder making his third try for the office once held by his father, William H. Taft. Eisenhower won on the first ballot after some delegates changed their vote to Ike.

In 1976 Ronald Reagan challenged incumbent president Gerald Ford. Neither had sufficient delegates to ensure the nomination, but the unpledged delegates to the convention pushed Ford over the nomination threshold on the first ballot. The same thing happened with Democrats in 1984, when the race between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart was decided on the first round of balloting after unpledged delegates opted for Mondale.
Reagan_giving_his_acceptance_speech_at_Republican_National_Convention_7-17-80Of the total of 2,472 Republican delegates, 437 of them are unpledged delegates, and 168 of those are members of the Republican National Committee. Any combination of those could well be the deciding factor pushing Trump over the top, even in the first round if he fails to secure 1,237 before the convention. Or they could combine with the non-Trump votes to the nomination of someone else.

Despite cries of inequity and manipulation, the GOP has rules established, and will follow those rules in the selection of their nominee. While many Trump supporters maintain it’s them, not the party per se that should be selecting the nominee, it is, after all, the “Republican Party.” The Party chooses the nominee, not just a plurality of boisterous adherents.

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David Ripley: Killing Our Future

April 2nd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

CNSNews is carrying a story today which clearly shows the impact legalized abortion is having on the fate of humanity. They are reporting that we will soon face a future in which those who are 65 years of age or older will outnumber children under the age of 5. That is a first in all of human history.

Their report is based upon data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the study, “these two age groups will continue to grow in opposite directions. By 2050, the percentage of the (global) population 65 and older will be more than double that of children under the age of 5”.

The globe’s 25 oldest nations begin with Japan and include 22 European nations. The youngest countries are found in the Persian Gulf.

Japan, Germany, Italy and Greece are clearly gentrifying. America is teetering.

The major culprit is declining birth rates resulting from legalized abortion and cultural shifts toward smaller families.

The Census Bureau report raises alarm over the prospect of a dwindling working population supporting an ever-growing elderly population in the decades ahead. We can already see some of that demographic reality hitting the United States in the way ObamaCare was structured to force younger Americans to get expensive coverage in order to subsidize benefits for older folks.

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

Richard Larsen: Mitt Romney has Every Right to Express His Concerns for America

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The vitriol heaped upon former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney this past week is entirely illogical and irrational. It only makes sense in the emotion-driven context prevailing during this election cycle. But alas, due to the prevailing emotional populist sentiment, logic has become the most obvious casualty of the primary election season. No wonder this is often referred to as the “silly season.”

Romney had the temerity to criticize the demeanor, abrasive and crass style, as well as some of the unpropitious statements by current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. “He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss,” Romney declared.

The former Massachusetts governor came short of endorsing one of the other three candidates in the GOP race, but discouraged Republican voters from supporting Trump. In doing so, he echoed the sentiments of many who claim affinity with an ABT approach to the primaries – Anyone But Trump.

Some of the critics of Romney’s interjection into the race have said he has no right to do so. Isn’t it ironic that those so critical of Romney think they can express their disdain, but Romney can’t? Can’t get much more duplicitous than that! Frankly, every citizen has that First Amendment right of free speech. One is not deprived of that right just because they’re a former candidate, or may have lost an election.

Should his opinion carry weight? Logically, as well as a matter of principle, one should think so. He’s carried the party banner, and did so with dignity and class. He’s a man of sound judgment and acumen, and sometimes those who have run and lost have a better grasp of the stakes than those who haven’t. He has a vested interest in the future of the country and the future of the Republican Party. Perhaps his words are ignored at our peril.

Others have criticized Romney saying he was a “horrible” candidate in 2012 running against Barack Obama. This begs the question, what is a good candidate? He had no skeletons in his closet, no moral turpitude, and he acted presidential. He is, in many ways, the antithesis of this year’s frontrunner. Maybe that says more about the party and how it’s changing, than it says about Romney.

That’s not to say he didn’t make faux pas’ as a candidate. His factual observation that 47% of the populace is on some kind of federal assistance didn’t help, and according to some political operatives, his refusal to go negative against Obama sealed his fate. Is that another component to being a “horrible” candidate? Refusing to go negative? If so, it certainly explains why many in the GOP are in full-fledged adulation mode with Trump. With him, it will be a surprise if and when he goes positive.

Perhaps the animosity directed toward Romney is merely transference because of the anti-establishment mentality prevalent during this election cycle. Even this is illogical since Romney was not the preferred “establishment” candidate either in ’08 (when he bowed out early) or in 2012.

As the Washington Post reminded us a year ago, “Romney wasn’t the first choice for many in the establishment. True, a few bigwigs were deeply committed to him from the start. But they hardly represented consensus opinion. That’s why we heard so many entreaties for other candidates to run.”

In an interview earlier this week, Chris Wallace asked Romney about the “establishment” allegation. Romney responded, “Establishment suggests there must be some Wizard of Oz somewhere pulling the strings. That’s not the way it works. I sat there and watched Donald Trump, and I said, look, someone has got to say something. I didn’t talk to anybody and say, ‘I’m going to do a speech, do you have some ideas?’ This is something I did on my own because I care very deeply about the country.”

“I love America. I’m concerned about America and I believe the heart and soul of conservatives and Republicans recognize that the principles that Donald Trump is talking about have nothing to do with conservatism, nothing to do with keeping America strong.”
What the establishment allegation against Romney does is create a whole new definition of the “establishment.” In this iteration, it’s everyone who doesn’t share the gutter-mentality, gutter-speech, and noncommittal ideology of Donald Trump.

Which brings us to arguably the most denunciatory claim made against Romney – that he’s a “loser.” This requires assessment of why he lost in 2012. As Rush Limbaugh explains it, “4.5 million to 5 million Republicans didn’t vote in 2012. This is the conventional wisdom and they didn’t vote because they didn’t like the nominee, he wasn’t conservative enough, or there was a religious component.”

So was he conservative enough? Many in the establishment thought he was too conservative, hence their efforts to recruit and back more “mainstream” candidates. Further, anyone who read his book “No Apology,” knew where his priorities and his values were based. He did not lack in conservative fidelity! But as Rush points out, there likely was a bigotry issue with some who refused to back an LDS (Mormon) candidate. Their ecclesiastical purity trumped their love of country. That is unconscionable! Voting for a president is not an ecclesiastical endorsement!

Those verities translate into Romney’s critics perhaps being the real losers. If they didn’t bother to get behind him and vote four years ago, they’re the losers. Romney, and the nation, simply reaped the fruits of those who condemned us with another four years of “the One” by their imprudence and inaction.

The country missed one of the greatest opportunities for principled, conservative, and classy leadership four years ago. What a shame that he is maligned now for having the audacity to share his valid concerns for the future of the party and the nation!
Romney had every right to share his insights, and we simply prove yet again that we’re losers, as a party and as a nation, if we fail to listen to wisdom and reason, regardless of how much we may like or dislike the source.

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Richard Larsen: Donald Trump’s Cult of Personality

March 9th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The most disturbing aspect to the Donald Trump candidacy is not the empty rhetoric, non-substantive solutions, or even his brash politically-incorrect style. The most disturbing aspect of his candidacy is what it says about so many of our fellow citizens. A veritable personality cult is developing around the GOP frontrunner rivaling that of the Democrat nominee from four and eight years ago. And it’s just as speciously founded.

Some assert that the Trump bandwagon is reshaping the Republican Party. Some go even further and claim that his candidacy is simply bringing out sordid and ignoble characteristics of the party that have been heretofore more latent and simmering under the veneer surface of decency. Such characterizations are erroneous.

Both major parties are grappling with atypical undercurrents that are largely reshaping the face, and perhaps the heart, of each. Regrettably, both are founded in a pejorative form of populism, whether it’s the promise of “free stuff” for adherents of the Democrat Party, or the abject anger aimed at unresponsive and tyrannical government for the Republicans. Such populism is destructive to the political process in a republic, as it appeals to citizens’ selfishness and most base instincts. And it’s culturally destructive as it drags the public dialogue to the lowest common denominator, while appealing to emotion at the expense of logic and reason.

In the last two presidential election cycles there was a veritable cult following for “The One” that venerated and idolized him regardless of what he said or did. He could do no wrong. His speech was lofty; language grandiloquent; substance lacking; and promises vapid.
low-infosThis year the leading GOP candidate has a similar cult following. It doesn’t seem to matter that “Make America great again,” and “we’re going to win…” constitute 50% of his specious speeches, with the other 50% reiterating his greatness. With little substance accompanying his bold statements, it’s hardly distinguishable from the empty “Hope and Change” mantra of Obama’s cult following.

But unlike Obama’s elevating elocution, Donald Trump’s speech is degrading, debasing, and uncivil. As Mitt Romney aptly delineated this week, Trump is one who “mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s question to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.” But to the cult of Trump, civility, class, and decorum don’t matter.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that the president of the United States is the face of the nation. For all of Obama’s policy and ideology failures, at least he was not always an embarrassment in terms of his conduct and decorum. He has typically filled his role as face of America to the world with class. He has acted presidential.

Trump has no illusion of what it means to act presidential, and is redefining it to the depths of depravity with his tactlessness and inexorable ad hominem attacks on anyone who crosses him. But to the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

Following Barack Obama’s Super Tuesday victories in 2008, he revealed his “messiah complex” by claiming, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Millions of Americans seemed to agree whilst gullibly falling for his grandiloquent, yet vapid speech. He could do no wrong in the eyes of his cult-like followers.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, the leading narcissist of the 2016 presidential race, claims that, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Such is the power of the cult of personality and its hold on the sycophants who suspend reason in order to wholly buy into a campaign idiom of populist appeal. To the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

When Obama preyed upon the emotions of low information voters, many on the right were critical not just of Obama and his insubstantial campaigns, but of the uninformed, ill-informed, and misinformed voters who flocked to him in ignorance. Ironically, many of those critics are now devout members of the cult of Trump.

Compromise is a bad word and anathema to the political purist. Yet in the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter, because compromise is rebranded as “the art of the deal” and the great dealmaker is adored and praised.

Just as sound-thinking Democrats would likely prefer to not have their party seen as the party of economic illiteracy, abdication of personal responsibility, and freeloaders, so also most Republicans don’t appreciate Trump’s redrawing the face of their party to reflect the crassness, rudeness, callousness, debasement, and moral turpitude of their leading presidential candidate. Such regression in both parties does not portend well for the republic.

In that context, both major political parties are being redefined, and it’s to the detriment of the nation and the freedoms and liberties we hold sacrosanct. Let’s hope there are enough sane and sensible people to save us from the populists in both parties!

Today for the Republican party, the choice is remarkably similar to the ’08 and ’12 choices for the Democrats, and it comes down to the classic Platonic dichotomy of form versus substance. Regrettably for the GOP this time around, not only is the substance lacking, but even the form is not appealing, as it culturally spirals down to the lowest common denominator and our most base instincts.

When reason and logic are employed in the candidate and presidential selection process, policy matters, character matters, and substance matters. When a cult of personality rules the process, none of it matters. And there can be little doubt of how the Trump zealots are amassing behind his persona. And he knows it. He can say or do anything, even “shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue,” and his adherents remain faithful. That’s when you know all reason has been suspended.

Anger and frustration with Washington is totally understandable. But the solution is not a classless self-adulator who spews venomous aspersions as fact, and whose platform is based in rage. Appealing to emotion is the low-information approach to leadership, and requires a cult-like fealty to succeed, much like the last two election cycles. The Trump cult, regrettably, seems filled with faux conservatives who care less about principles, character, or truth, and are willing to march to the beat of another narcissistic, egocentric political drum based on vapid memes and platitudes. Trump has become a Pied Piper of populistic political porn.

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

Conservative Cyborg: The Real Dangers of Donald Trump

February 15th, 2016 by Halli

by Conservative Cyborg

Credit where credit is due: Donald Trump is a masterful showman and self-promoter. He has the timing of a top-notch comedian, and the singleminded persistence of a pit bull. He has honed these skills over a lifetime of scrapping his way to the top of a very rough neighborhood.

There is no way, however, that skills of such dubious value in the national political arena can account for Trump’s rocket to the top of the GOP presidential field. To explain that adequately, one must examine the volatile mixture of a consummate showman and a populace desperate to fight back against the leftist movement that has made such strides in its war on traditional American values—largely unimpeded by the party that was given landslide victories with the expectation that it would assiduously represent the people in combatting the leftist-statist onslaught.

When Barack Obama rose from being a relative unknown in the Democratic Party, a man whose chief claim to fame was as a rabble-rousing Alinskyite community organizer, he did so by being all liberal things to all liberal people: Obama’s lack of a verifiable past allowed his supporters to overlay on him every hope they had ever had for a liberal presidential candidate. Obama’s vague bromides of “Hope and Change,” with little or no substance that could be analyzed for merit, left people free to pin their hopes for change—whatever the specifics of that change might be—on him, propelling him into the White House. That was quite an accomplishment.

Obama bettered that accomplishment four years later by riding that same vagueness to reelection, in spite of a first term that had failed America and the American people in every measurable way. Unspecified, nebulous, but wonderful change was still tantalizingly achievable, we had just not hoped enough yet. We obviously needed four more years of hope.

If Obama accomplished political marvels, Trump is on his way to making Obama look like a piker. Where Obama’s sketchy past held nothing to disqualify him among his liberal base, Trump’s extremely public life is chock full of things that should, at the very least, throw up big red flags to Republican—especially conservative Republican—voters. That Trump can with impunity brush off such a seriously disqualifying history is a tribute to both his emotional sway and his supporters’ desperation for someone, anyone who will channel their legitimate anger and champion their righteous cause—even when they can have no expectation based in fact that Trump is the one best suited to fight for them.

Trump follower after Trump follower will gleefully explain how he or she is happy to sacrifice his or her most sacred values and issues because “Trump is the only one who will fight for me,” even though Trump has given no solid indication of what values he will actually represent when the time comes to fight.

No one is allowed to question Trump’s past, character, abilities, knowledge, wisdom, demeanor, or motives; he is the guy who will get things done. What things? Irrelevant! He will get them done.

Herein is found the freakishly cultish nature of Trump’s following: they have no care about his real plans; they have blind faith that he will do whatever it is they most desire. In their blind faith, they resemble Obama supporters of elections past; but the credulity and outright gullibility of Trump’s followers outstrips that of Obama’s supporters by far: Obama has never espoused values and beliefs that were so anathema to his base as Trump has to his. In the lexicon of Eric Hoffer, each of them is a True Believer.

This is the secret of the “Trump Coalition”: individuals’ values are quickly laid aside and forgotten in deference to the One who says He will fix everything and Make America Great Again. People of many disparate and even competing, mutually exclusive beliefs are united in one thing: their utter belief that Trump is the only one who will do what they want, even though it is impossible for Him to do what everyone wants.

With regard to Trump’s personal motives, in place of a desire to serve the public and do what is best for America, Trump exudes the air of a bored snob and political dilettante who flipped a coin in order to decide whether to add climbing Mount Everest or running for US President to his bucket list. Tails… US President it is.

To his followers, Trump may be a narcissistic, liberal-leaning, Constitution-ignoring, megalomaniacal strongman, but he is THEIR narcissistic, liberal-leaning, Constitution-ignoring, megalomaniacal strongman. What could go wrong? Go Trump!

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David Ripley: Democrats Side with Planned Parenthood

February 3rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held true to his word, and brought a veto override motion to the House floor last night. Republicans attempted to override President Obama’s veto of the Planned Parenthood defunding measure. Unfortunately, the effort fell short of the two-thirds’ majority required.

The motion to override on HR 3762 received 241 votes, while 186 members voted with Planned Parenthood and Obama.

Only 1 Democrat (Colin Peterson of Minnesota) voted to override the veto.

Idaho’s Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador voted again to defund Planned Parenthood.

The effort to sever our partnership with America’s largest abortion chain must now await the election of a new president.

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

David Ripley: Vicious Spirit of Death Roams the Earth

December 16th, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

This week brought news that ISIS – the barbarian tribe spreading death and mayhem across the Middle East, Europe and the United States – has launched a new kind of “cleansing”.

Breitbart reports that ISIS has now launched something of a jihad against disabled children within the boundaries of their nascent state. A “fatwa” has been issued which authorizes the killing of children and babies with Downs Syndrome and other congenital disabilities – all in the name of “Allah”.

For some months now, we have been treated to nearly daily news of atrocities and barbarities against Christians, women, homosexuals and others deemed to have offended some mad sensibility or another. Beheadings for internet ratings.

But now, a Facebook posting by the barbarians claims that some children have already been killed in towns controlled by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. An underground organization, Mosul Eye, claims to have confirmed 38 slayings of newborns already accomplished either by suffocation or lethal injection.

Nothing compared to the barbarity of Planned Parenthood – but still noteworthy because these evil actors at ISIS are just getting warmed up, while Western leaders fete each other over glasses of champagne for fixing the global climate.

What is to be said about this escalation of evil? Quite a bit, actually.

In the face of such mad barbarity, we note the continued apologetics of the American Left – beginning with our own president, Barack Hussein Obama. He continues to play at stopping ISIS while passionately seeking an accord to fix the climate and destroy the liberties of American citizens.

Liberals like Hillary Clinton continue to defend open borders and the importation of persons about whom we intentionally know very little.

The truth is, we have not seen such naked evil since the days of Nazi Germany. (Recall Hitler’s program against their own disabled citizens – which amounted to a practice run at the Holocaust). It is truly challenging to comprehend the scale and darkness of such evil. Most of us will want to recoil from the horror, hoping in the quiet of our hearts that it won’t find us or our families. We pray the San Bernardino slaughter is some odd aberration. We hope that somehow our national leaders – despite their obvious disabilities – will find a way to protect us.

The temptation is strong to slide into denial, some more Christmas shopping. Minimization of the threat is a natural response. Looking for historical perspective, we can now see that the failure to recognize the depth of the Nazi threat resulted in millions being destroyed who might otherwise have been saved.

As we watch the inept and limp response of our national leaders to this growing horror, it is hard not to feel a kind of supernatural judgment descending upon our nation. We are presently plagued by “leaders” who wander about in a stupor so irrational that it defies easy explanation.

It seems clear that we must be in earnest prayer for our nation and civilization itself. America must seriously consider a path of repentance if we can reasonably hope that God will raise up a new generation of leaders capable of meeting the ominous darkness emerging. That repentance must begin by confronting the unabated slaughter of innocents which has daily continued since the tyrannical arrogance of our Supreme Court imposed its own “fatwa” upon the nation in 1973.

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

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