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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 8

February 8th, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

The other day, after the House had adjourned, a few of my colleagues gathered around my desk and our conversation was reminiscent of the way we used to talk to each other before the capital was renovated. In our civil discourse workshop we had during the first week of the session, one of the things that we learned was that we need to talk to each other and get to know each other a little better. I’ve been making an effort to do that and have found interesting stories about some of my colleagues.

One said that she did not want to run for office at all, but was told by people in her district that she needed to do so. She told them no! They got the paperwork together and persuaded her to file. There are several here who are no stranger to hardships in their lives and those stories are very interesting and sometimes heart wrenching.

This past week was the week that County commissioners and other County elected officials found their way to Boise for what they call their Midwinter Conference. It gives them a chance to visit with everyone from the Governor to their legislators. One of the topics of discussion was the proposal that the Governor has made for the state to create a new public defender program. The biggest concern that our counties have is that they would lose control and possibly end up paying for services that they would not receive or have no use for. For the most part, the counties of district 32 just want to be left alone, and they are telling us that they are doing just fine. When it comes to government that is how a lot of people feel.

I was approached by one of the press corps asking about my feelings on how frequently Idaho seems to amend its constitution. Right now there are several proposals that are being looked at, one of which is referred to as the Blaine amendment. Because there is a prohibition in the Constitution about using state funds on religious schools, and the fact that we have established what is known as the Opportunity Scholarship, there is concern that such a scholarship could not be used at any of the religiously sponsored colleges in the state. What the amendment would do would be to clarify the language to make it possible for scholarships of that kind to be used in that setting. A couple of examples of those colleges are Northwest Nazarene College in the Treasure Valley and BYU Idaho a little closer to our area of the state. The email stream on that has picked up substantially and it looks like we will be having a hearing on that in State Affairs in the coming week.

The budget committee is still working diligently on putting a budget together, or at least hearing from all of the agencies along with their wish lists. We are still on track to keep our commitments to education that we began last year. Educators at home still want to make sure that they have discretionary funds, aka, money without strings attached.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee took up the subject of Medicaid expansion and the result was about the same as poking a five hundred pound gorilla. They called it informational, with very little testimony taken. Dr. Krell from Idaho Falls blamed the Legislature for the death of a thousand people for not doing expansion. That did not sit well and it also unleashed blistering editorials around the state on both sides of the issue. While it is easy to play the blame game, there is as with most things more to the story. For me, I just wish my colleagues would do their homework and decide what is best for Idaho.

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

David Ripley: Death Lobby Descends on Utah

February 4th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Utah Democrat state representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck introduced legislation today that would create a right to physician-assisted suicide in the state of Utah.

HB 264 is called the “End of Life Options Act”, and would allow a physician to prescribe deadly drugs for a patient diagnosed with a condition that could reasonably be expected to cause natural death within six months.

There are various clap-traps in the bill – including a requirement that the attending physician determine that the patient is acting voluntarily, and encouraging the patient to share his or her determination to die prematurely with family members. But the primary purpose of the legislation is to implement the agenda of the Death Lobby. Under the rhetorical cloud of “compassion”, Ms. Houck and others seek to end the lives of elderly and sick citizens prematurely. This saves money and trouble for many.

A similar effort was threatened in Idaho several years ago. Fortunately, through the leadership of this organization and people like Russ Fulcher, Cliff Bayer and Governor Otter, Idaho instead implemented an outright Ban on Assisted Suicide.

We pray that the Utah Legislature takes a similar tack: The only way to be rid of the Death Lobby is to take decisive action in positively rejecting their message and agenda.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 1

February 1st, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

The pace of the session has picked up and we now find several bills coming forward. We just hit a deadline last Friday which was the time for the filing of personal bills. A personal bill is one that is taken directly to the Chief Clerk of the House and is introduced to the whole without having gone through a committee first. On Friday a large number of personal bills were read across the desk, more than in recent years. Subject matter ranged from permitless concealed weapons carry legislation to constitutional amendments.

A rarely used maneuver on the house floor occurred on Friday as well, and that was the motion to lay on the table. It takes a simple majority of the body to lay it on the table which means that it cannot be considered unless two thirds of the body agrees to take it off the table. In effect it kills a bill. The motion was not successful and one of our age-old customs of the crow flying occurred. It is a little statuette in the form of a crow that passes around the body from time to time when a member makes a motion that does not get at least 20 votes in support. The effort made didn’t even come close, and the crow flew.

There’re a lot of background things going on right now, one of which is discussions on water. The governor has called for money to be used for recharge. We of course are very hopeful and there seems to be more snow around at the moment than we’ve seen for a couple of years. If that is any indication we might actually have water available for recharging our aquifers.

It might be of interest that this past week there were personal bills introduced in the Senate for the expansion of Medicaid. The chairman of the health and welfare in the Senate has agreed to hold hearings on the bill. It’s a pretty heavy subject for a committee to consider in the short time available, and it will be interesting to see how it is handled there. I had a chance to visit with some folks this week about the governor’s proposal of primary care and at this point it looks a little bit like it might have a tough sell among some legislators. Most of the discussion centers around how the program would be funded and is felt that if it is to get anywhere it will have to be modified some.

It was good to get home over the weekend and to take care of a couple of pressing matters there. The good news is, at least a portion of them got completed in time for my speedy return back to the capital city. It started to snow almost the moment I got home on Friday, snowed some more on Saturday, and it was snowing when I left home. And I only got stuck once. Together it accounted for approximately 10 inches of new snow. The little grandkids had a ball playing in the fluffy white stuff but not so much in the heavy wet snow that fell on Friday. Some places I traveled over the weekend, I noticed the fences starting to disappear little by little. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe this is one of those one year in ten recharge years. One of my friends commented that he didn’t care for the snow a whole lot and then admitted,” We sure do need it, so we’ll take it.” My sentiments exactly.

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

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Goes in for Hillary

February 1st, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood announced that it would be spending “six-figures” on media to help protect Hillary Clinton in Iowa from the insurgency campaign of socialist Bernie Sanders over this closing weekend.

The head of Planned Parenthood’s PAC argued in a press release, “There’s too much at stake for us to take a back seat in this election. Every single leading Republican candidate would strip health care from millions across the country – blocking patients from seeking services at Planned Parenthood, banning safe, legal abortion and even ending insurance coverage for birth control”.

She went on to burn her brand into the Abortion Industry champion:

“At the end of the day, [Hillary’s] the one we trust to go head-to-head with the extreme anti-abortion politicians hell-bent on rolling back the progress we’ve made….”

We’ll see if their endorsement can save Clinton from the quixotic campaign of Sen. Sanders. If she does, it will be up to us to make sure that Americans are confronted with the specter of Planned Parenthood’s hand-picked agent occupying the world’s most powerful office.

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

Richard Larsen: What Conservatives Can Learn from Liberals

January 28th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

There are tactics and characteristics of the American left that conservatives would be well advised to emulate. Until these lessons are learned, conservatives will likely continue to struggle at the ballot box, and liberty will be but a noble afterthought.

Perhaps the most critical lesson to learn is that politics, and governance in general, is incremental. The ebb and flow of the political environment and the mechanics of governance move incrementally, either toward liberty and constitutional principles, or toward centralized planning and governmental hegemony. Every piece of legislation, policy statement, regulation, executive order, election, and every judicial decision moves the nation, a state, or a community slightly one direction or the other. It rarely moves all the way to one extreme or the other.

Many conservatives tend to look at each of the above events as an all-or-nothing proposition. If they can’t have absolute 2nd Amendment rights, it’s all wrong. If they can’t have completely free markets, the system is corrupt and it’s no good. If a candidate doesn’t agree completely with their perspective, they’re evil and cannot be supported, and they’re simply the “lesser of two evils.”

The long-term perspective significantly shapes incremental adaptation. Liberals seem to have a more long-term view of the process, and realize that each political victory is a rung on the progressive ladder. Too many conservatives suffer from severe myopia, mistakenly believing that if they can’t jump to the top of a ladder in one jump, they’ve failed, or that other conservatives have failed them if they can’t, or don’t, make the jump to the top minus the intervening steps.

This tendency places some conservatives in the unenviable position of never being satisfied with anything. Since they can’t have things just precisely the way they want them to be, they will forever be unsatisfied, and politically unfilled. Liberals, generally, seem to relish each minor victory and recognize any politically incremental movement for what it is – one step in the process.

When we realize that every election and every other political activity takes us incrementally toward liberty, we begin realizing that each minor move to constitutionality and liberty is a victory, however small. And rather than bemoaning the failure to leap to the top of the ladder, relish the small victory, and gear up for the next battle for the next incremental triumph.

Closely related is persistence. When liberals don’t get what they want, they keep pressing ahead, until at last they persevere. When HillaryCare failed in the 90’s, the issue was placed on the back burner until they could muster the political clout to pull it off with the 2010 edition – ObamaCare. The old aphorism, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” should be the mantra of conservatives. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and if we fail, then try again until we succeed.

Liberals are masters of the compromise. In foreign affairs, they’re willing to concede large swaths of political ground for minor gains. For example, they assure a nuclearized Iran in 10 years, for little more than the appearance of having achieved a great deal for the U.S. But when it comes to domestic affairs, it’s just reversed. They will concede hardly anything in exchange for massive concessions from Republicans. This art is obviously a learned trait, and one that has thus far eluded conservatives. Until they can learn to at least meet halfway on issues of principle, conservatives will forever be the political doormats in American politics. Acquiescing and caving totally to the left not only emboldens the left, but it alienates conservatives from their political base and ideological constituency.

Granted, part of the lefts success in this regard is due to the fact that they have the media to advance their narrative. When congress presents a budget and the president threatens to veto it, liberals and the media all blame congress if the government is shut down for not presenting a budget the president can sign. If it’s vetoed, the president shut government down, not congress! Conservatives must learn to control the narrative, and shape the story in a way that ascribes blame where it belongs. President Reagan was able to do this, even without the alternative media that’s available today.

The left is organized, mobilized and energized at the grassroots level in such a way as to capitalize on technology and social media. Conservatives have come closer to creating a genuine grassroots organization with the emergence of the Tea Party. But even that is fragmented, sometimes regionalized, and parochial in nature. Until conservatives learn to master grassroots organization and mobilization, we’ll always be playing second fiddle.

Conservatives tend to be more defensive and reactionary, rather than aggressively proactive. We have constitutional principles – American principles – as our ideological foundation. Rather than sitting back and defensively trying to protect and preserve them, we’ve got to learn to be proactively advancing and bolstering them. Just as in sports, defense alone can’t win a game. There’s got to be an offense scoring points in order to win.

Liberals don’t seem to care how liberal their fellow ideologues are. They just care if they claim to be liberals, and if they subscribe to their broad dogma. Conservatives are often too consumed with whether one is “conservative enough,” or a “true conservative.” Consequently, we spend more time fighting amongst ourselves, pointing fingers, making accusations, and casting aspersions than we do in fighting the real enemies of liberty. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and as long as conservatives engage in this internal civil war, we will remain our own worst enemies. We can only succeed when we’re united.

George Washington claimed, “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” America’s plant is withering, and if we’re to save it, we need to start working proactively together as freedom’s stewards.

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

David Ripley: The Chicago Way

January 26th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life
Along with most Americans, we were shocked to hear that Planned Parenthood of Houston has been “exonerated” by the Houston DA – while the investigators will face criminal charges. Is this not a perfect example of the corrosive effect of legalized abortion upon our legal system?

We are a long way from Houston, and do not know the Houston D.A., Devon Anderson. We don’t know her politics or position on abortion. But we do know that she has an attorney working in her office who also serves on the Board of Planned Parenthood – Houston, the very organization Anderson set out to “investigate”.

The pressure Planned Parenthood is bringing to bear on the noble souls who exposed their butchery-for-profit scheme is unbelievable. It demonstrates the Mafioso-like ethics which animate Planned Parenthood: Just a week or so ago, they brought suit in San Francisco against David Daleiden, leader of the Center for Medical Progress. It is the second lawsuit filed by the Abortion Industry to silence Daleiden, and to prevent America from being confronted with the ugly truth about legalized abortion.

In response to the criminal actions by the Houston D.A., Mr. Daleiden issued the following statement:

“The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws…. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”

That is a fairly careful, if pointed statement. No doubt, Mr. Daleiden’s response was drafted with help from his attorney since he must now mount a criminal defense.

We prefer the statement issued by Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN):

“It is a sad day in America when those who harvest the body parts of aborted babies escape consequences for their actions, while the courageous truth-tellers who expose their misdeeds are handed-down a politically-motivated indictment instead.”

Amen.

We are going to have to hold Mr. Daleiden in prayer, and we are going to have rise, as a community, to help support him as he works his way through the legal harassment Planned Parenthood has laid for him.

In the meantime, we must also not lose heart: Gov. Abbott (R-TX) is vigorously pressing a state-led investigation into Planned Parenthood’s activities, which may go a long way toward correcting this blatant injustice at the hands of Ms. Anderson. He said today that the antics in Harris County will have no impact on the state’s determined investigation into Planned Parenthood.

And we can also take heart by remembering the words of the prophet Isaiah, who faced incredible levels of social corruption in his day:

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent … for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord’s anger burns ….” (Isaiah 6:20 -25).

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

Richard Larsen: Martin Luther King and His Far-reaching Impact

January 21st, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Some people take umbrage at the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. has a holiday dedicated to his remembrance, while none of our founders, or even presidents, do. I am not among them. In many ways, MLK epitomizes the founding principles the nation was based on, for they, along with his theological convictions, comprised his core belief system.

As we celebrate the 87th anniversary of his birth, acknowledgement of his contributions to civil rights and peaceful demonstration for just causes is just a portion of what the man represented. His insights on freedom, work, selflessness, and morality apply equally to all Americans, regardless of political orientation, race, or creed.

Perhaps that was the key to his enduring legacy – not just that he advanced civil rights, but that he taught and expounded precepts that transcended the great social divide of his time. Perhaps there is as much for us to learn from those teachings in transcending and bridging the divisions of our time.

To him, everything revolved around freedom. “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.” This may seem ostensibly a self-evident truth, but the concept is increasingly foreign to too many of us as we look continually to government for solutions, at the expense of individual liberty to choose and to act.

He also stated, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” When we realize that much of what’s done in the name of government is oppressive to freedom, it’s increasingly evident that as an electorate we must needs rise up in opposition to freedom-inhibiting laws and regulations, and demand redress.

“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,” he declared on another occasion. Individual and universal freedom was everything to him, without regard to ethnicity or other contradistinction. He advocated freedom, as opposed to government programs that diminish the freedom to build, achieve, to be rewarded for those achievements, and to succeed.

He often talked about how critical it was for all Americans to have a job. To him, a good job was ennobling, and built character. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” A working society was a free society, for without work, one becomes the ward of the state and loses their individual freedom to become and do.

He was so critical of those whose entire focus was on themselves and their own self-interests. And he made no distinction between the personal and the private; the political and the individual. Said he, “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.” Clearly those who engage in identity politics for their personal aggrandizement are not looking at the greater good for society and America.

He always emphasized doing, and acting on principles. It wasn’t enough to echo the refrains of freedom, one had to work for them. And at times he seemed to echo the sentiments of Edmund Burke, the English philosopher who said “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” King’s version was, “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.” How can one claim ownership of great precepts, and not be willing to act on them?
“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.” Clearly, to King, all lives matter!

The Reverend was a highly principled man, driven by 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 foundational principles upon which the nation was founded, that he found lacking in their application to all American equally.

He was not a perfect man. None are. Yet he advanced a commitment to “moral foundations” and “spiritual control” which he saw as critical for society as a whole, and can only be accomplished by each of us dong our part.

I think he would concur with General Douglas MacArthur, a great student of history, who declared, “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

Although an icon of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was not single-dimensional. He called upon all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religious convictions, or socio-economic status, to do their part for the benefit of society and the country. It’s wholly fitting to have a holiday dedicated to his memory and teachings. And the nation would be better off if more effort were expended in adherence to his precepts.

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

Richard Larsen: Independent Voters, America Needs YOU!

January 15th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The final word to escape the lips of William Wallace of “Braveheart” fame was “Freedom!” The scene still today sends chills down my spine, and arouses a profound sense of gratitude for the freedoms we have in America, even with their gradual erosion that we’ve witnessed over the past 240 years. Even as William Wallace was willing to give his all for freedom, so likewise Republicans in America are generally committed to the ideological foundation of our republic: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We implore independent voters to side with the cause of liberty and individual freedom.

With that said, the Republican Party is no more monolithic than the Democrat Party is. There are elements within both parties that are more or less conservative or progressive. Those of us who are more conservative align ourselves ideologically with the classical liberals of the 18th century who founded this nation, again based on the Lockean Creed and embedded in our founding documents. These are the principles that have made America unique, and it is our conviction that this legacy must be perpetuated for the republic and American exceptionalism to survive.

As classical liberals, we acknowledge that the more government grows and encroaches into our individual lives, the more our individual freedom and liberty is diminished. It was this principle that Benjamin Franklin referred to when he stated, “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.”

While we acknowledge the need for some security as a safety net for some in society, we believe that freedom is ennobling and the ability to achieve or fail develops character and is good for all, individually as well as collectively as a society. Consequently, we resist expansion of government power and incursion into, and control over, our lives.

We believe that in a representative republic we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and that our elected officials are beholden to the will of the people to act in our collective best interests, rather than catering or pandering to select groups or special interests. Thomas Jefferson is often quoted saying, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” While the attribution may be in question, the logic isn’t.

We maintain that the Constitution purposefully delineates the limited powers of government in order to maximize individual freedom and liberty. Consequently, we are supportive of the constitutional functions of government, and logical and progressive levels of taxation in order to support them. We support logical, protective regulation, but reject centralized planning and government intrusion into every aspect of our lives at the expense of our liberty.

We are supportive of rational levels of taxation to pay for the services we demand of government, but acknowledge the factual consequences of diminished return the higher taxes are. And as the former Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Christina Romer has proven, for every $1 collected in taxes, there is a diminution of GDP (Gross Domestic Production) output of $3. Taxes, then, should be kept as low as possible to maximize growth of the economy and provide us individually with maximum financial freedom.

We want the economy to grow, not just for the improvement of our station in life, but because we need more than 120,000 new jobs created each month just to keep pace with population expansion. And more than that is needed to start picking up the gap of those who are underemployed, who, based on the Department of Labor’s U6 report, currently stands at 10%.

This kind of job expansion can only occur with a healthy, thriving private sector, that rather than being demonized by Washington and inflicted with senseless regulation and micromanagement by government bureaucrats, is fostered and facilitated by prudent policy and regulation. Ronald Reagan said, “The best welfare program is a job,” to which we would qualify further, a “good job.”

We adhere to fundamental fiscal principles, that the government should be beholden to the same financial restraints that we as individuals are, and that we shouldn’t spend what we don’t have. We maintain that it’s illogical to presume that spending two times more than you receive in income or revenue is sustainable and that believe that unrestrained spending threatens to bankrupt the nation and raze the republic.
We believe in free market economies, not only because they work, but because they afford the most freedom to hard-working Americans. Government can serve a legitimate role in protection of citizens and their property, but should not have power to micromanage our health care, our energy use, or our commercial activities.

Thomas Jefferson succinctly stated, “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” We hold that to be a self-evident truth.

Right now we have a federal government that is neither wise nor frugal, but to that end we strive for a reversal at the national level, and an improvement in state and local government as well. To effect such change, it is imperative that independents consider not just the personalities of presidential and congressional candidates, but the broad principles at the base of their ideologies.

If the republic is to survive as intended, it will be because a majority of the 39% of independent voters decide that it’s worth saving, and vote accordingly. We would invite a thorough examination of the issues and the candidates, and a resolve to make logical, cogent decisions on how to vote that will facilitate a return to common sense governance, and a resurgence of commitment to the principles upon which the nation was founded. America’s founding principles made her great; she can be so again!

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

Richard Larsen: ISIS, ISIL and Daesh – What’s in a Name?

January 15th, 2016 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

This week President Obama addressed the nation in a rare Oval Office speech. The intent was to assuage concerns that the government isn’t doing enough to protect us from radicalized jihadists, like the couple in San Bernardino last week. But the speech may have raised more questions and apprehensions than provided answers or assurances. And perhaps the largest is in the language used to describe the threat.

The speech made reference to ISIL sixteen times. This is itself significant. ISIL is one of the retired acronyms the organization that prefers to be referred to as the Islamic State has used. The original acronym they employed was ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL, however, has much more broad regional significance, for it stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Levant includes some historically significant territory, including not just Syria, but the region referred to in Biblical times as Palestine. So ISIL includes the entire Fertile Crescent from the Persian Gulf through southern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and northern Egypt. In other words, the entire region from the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea on the west, the Tigris-Euphrates river system on the East.

Secretary of State uses a different term to identify the group. Since late last year Secretary John Kerry habitually has referred to them as Daesh. Perhaps just as incendiary as the president’s insistence on using the ISIL acronym, Daesh refers to the Arabic name of the group, ad-Dawlah al-Isl?miyah f? ‘l-?Ir?q wa-sh-Sh?m. The Arabic version implies that the Islamic State is a worldwide caliphate, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph. As a caliphate, it claims “religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide, and that the legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the khil?fah’s [caliphate’s] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas,” according to Washington Post foreign affairs writer, Ishaan Tharoor.

The significance of the terms the administration chooses to employ in referencing the group cannot be overstated. With Secretary Kerry’s Daesh (or Da’ish) he may presume to be ideologically neutral, since it doesn’t have the name “Islamic” in it, (at least an English transliteration). He may also use the term in part due to his French allegiance. France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said, “This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats’.” Perhaps they’re both being either obtuse or naïve, thinking they’re avoiding “Islamic” with the Daesh designation. But use of this term grants the group universal pertinence as a global caliphate.

The President’s insistence on using ISIL could well betray his perpetual downplaying of the influence, scope, motives, and successes of the terrorist group. After the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, the military vacuum in the country began to be filled by ISIS forces in Northern Iraq. The President called them “jayvee” terrorists at the time they initially encroached into Iraq. And even while repeatedly saying they were “contained,” they have expanded to include 20% of the 169,234 square mile country. To put that in context, California, the third largest state in the U.S., is 163,694 square miles, and the area of ISIS control in Iraq is equivalent to the size of the state of South Carolina.

Obama has been unrelenting in his denunciation of Israel, and unremitting in his criticism of its leadership. In the earliest days of his presidency, he made his now infamous “Cairo Speech,” where he referenced Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian lands, and the “daily humiliation” and “intolerable” condition of the Palestinians. And it’s only gotten worse since then.

Several times over the past five years, Obama administration officials have leaked classified Israeli information regarding defensive measures and offensive plans related to Iran. The effect has been an unmistakable chilling of the relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, as Washington’s objectives seem clearly at odds with the protection and preservation of the state of Israel.

Even the heralded Iran Nuclear deal was done over Israel’s objections, since it assures Iran will be nuclearized by year ten of the agreement, and Iran has vowed to “blow Israel off of the map.”

So is it coincidental that Obama uses the ISIL name intentionally to include the Levant, which includes Israel? Indubitably not. Even by his chosen appellation for the terrorist group, the President continues his denunciation, disavowal, and rejection of the state of Israel. And rather than graduating to the more geographically broad “Islamic State” name the group applies to itself, he has chosen to stick with their earlier iteration which conspicuously includes the land of Israel.

Not only does our president consistently understate our enemies, and fail to accurately identify them, but he has severe problems recognizing our primary ally in the region, and providing the support key allies should expect from one another. If we’re to ever succeed in vanquishing ISIS, it’s not going to be by alienating our allies and placing them increasingly at risk.

Words matter. And in foreign affairs, the symbolism employed by policy-makers through their word choice, are of immense significance, not just to our allies but to our enemies as well. Our enemies should not be emboldened, and our allies alienated by the language they use.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | 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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