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November 14th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It’s hard to think of any other way to characterize the off-year elections results across the nation, than that the rejection of liberalism and progressivism continues unabated. Races across the country, and even some key social-issue elections, don’t portend well for those on the left of the political spectrum.

Perhaps the most significant race was for the governorship of Kentucky. Matt Bevin, a political outsider and Tea Party activist, was trounced just a year ago by 25 points in a primary defeat by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. A year later, he’s the governor elect of the state.

There are many takeaways from his success, but the most obvious is that his conservatism was across the board, from fiscal to social. While the Obama administration has been holding Kentucky up as an exemplary success story for Obamacare, Bevin ran against it, based on costs, cost of coverage, and declining healthcare provision under the ACA. He also ran on the social side of the issue, proposing to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation.

And he embraced and supported the cause of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages because of her religious convictions. And according to Davis, the governor elect even (gasp) prayed with her when she was incarcerated.

His first order of business is to make the Bluegrass State a right to work state. Diminishing union political clout and increasing voter focus on economic issues could have more broad ramifications even beyond Kentucky, and the southern states generally.

It’s difficult to say what the key factor was in Bevin’s victory. As recently as a day before the election, he was projected to lose by five points. Instead, he won by ten. But it’s hard to overstate the significance of a fiscal and social conservative winning the gubernatorial race in a seat that has only had one other Republican governor in the past 50 years. Oh, and his running mate, the Lt. Governor elect, Jenean Hampton, is now the first black elected to statewide office in the state’s history. And she’s also a Tea Party activist.

Elsewhere across the land, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons, went all-out to pick up at least one additional seat to give his party control of the state senate. He solicited PAC money from outside the state and by all accounts, outspent Republicans nearly 4 to 1, yet was unable to pick up even one seat. Interestingly, much of the outside money was advocating stricter gun control legislation. This may be indicative of the mood of the country toward restrictive 2nd Amendment efforts, which does not bode well for the left.

Houston had an Equal Rights Ordinance on their ballot that banned discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It had been passed by the Houston city council and had only been on the city ordinance books for three months, before voters overwhelmingly repealed it with Tuesday’s vote. Even the White House had weighed in on this local issue, but on the losing side of the argument.

In San Francisco, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was defeated. The sheriff received national attention when he steadfastly defended the city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy of protecting illegal aliens, after illegal migrant Francisco Sanchez shot and killed a 32 year-old woman on the waterfront in July. But based solely on one logical vote, it’s entirely premature to claim voters in San Francisco may have actually found their marbles so long lost.

In Mississippi, Republican Governor Phil Bryant was easily reelected. The GOP also increased their majority in their House by nearly 10%, giving them nearly a super majority, defeating the House Minority Leader in the process. Voters in Ohio rejected liberalization of medical and recreational marijuana laws.

With but few exceptions, it was a banner election for liberty, free markets, economic growth, traditional social conventions and institutions, rule of law, and common sense governance. As boisterously as the mainstream media have been proclaiming the demise of the Tea Party, one can’t help but surmise, as did Mark Twain, that news of their death has been greatly exaggerated.

If anything, there seems to be a deepening and widening conviction that exceeds the traditional purview of the Tea Party, and is more fundamentally etched in the broader body politick. It’s gone mainstream. That conviction has been spawned, nurtured, and invigorated by none other than our community organizer in chief. He almost single-handedly has orchestrated the resurgence in the conservative ideals of American exceptionalism. Just as he’s been the most effective gun salesman over the past several years, he’s been the poster child of all that can go wrong when distinctly anti-American ideals are foisted upon the republic.

Since the 2010 midterms, the Democrat party has lost over 1,200 seats in government according to Real Clear Politics. That’s governorships, state senate, state house, town councils, county leadership, city councils, and mayors. Not only are they losing on economic issues, but they’re losing on the social issues. And it’s no surprise, for even though the left has been winning on so many fronts, the broader populace is not pleased. According to a Washington Post, ABC News poll in July, fully 63% of adult Americans are either strongly or somewhat uncomfortable with the direction of the country on social issues. We mustn’t forget who is driving that “uncomfortable” agenda.

With the socialist-left end of the political spectrum dutifully and ideologically represented by the Democrat party, the worst thing would be for Republicans to basically be the socialist-lite party. If the GOP wants to continue winning, it appears increasingly that the way for them to do so is by returning to the core values their party is based on, economically and socially.

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

David Ripley: New Abortion Industry Videos Emerge

October 31st, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Despite the best efforts of federal courts and the Abortion Industry, free speech lives in America. More video files have emerged this week documenting the callous and unethical practices of Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. Among other horrible revelations, it is indisputable from the new videos that the Abortion Industry is profiting handsomely from the sale of baby organs and tissue.

Hours and hours of video tapes were reportedly recorded at a national convention of abortionists sponsored by the National Abortion Federation this past summer. Numerous conversations were recorded about baby parts trafficking. Realizing that the whole industry was about to be exposed, the organization sought a court order from a federal judge to prohibit the Center for Medical Progress from publicly releasing the recordings. And, despite the First Amendment, a federal judge has happily slapped a gag order on the Center for Medical Progress.

However, several committees in Congress have obtained copies of those video recordings. Someone on the staff apparently made those censored videos available to various websites. Now the public has a chance to witness how deeply integrated organ trafficking has become with the practice of abortion.

You can watch the new videos for yourself:

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

David Ripley: Congress Makes Historic Vote

October 31st, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The U.S. House of Representatives again voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. This is something like the fourth time the House has voted to cut funds this year. While previous efforts have foundered on the Democrat Abortion Phalanx in the Senate, this bill stands a very good chance of getting to President Obama’s desk.

The House passed HR 3762 by a vote of 240-189. One lone Democrat voted with Republicans to place a one-year moratorium on any federal funds going to Planned Parenthood. Both Idaho congressmen supported the measure, which could cost America’s leading abortion chain over $550 million in government funding.

What makes this effort unique is the parliamentary procedure being used. HR 3762 is positioned under the rules as a budget reconciliation measure; this means that Democrat cheerleaders of abortion in the Senate cannot hide behind the filibuster rules of the Senate to block a vote.

We are very hopeful that the Senate will consider the measure next week, which can be sent to Obama’s desk with a simple majority.

Of course, Obama will once again come through for his pals at Planned Parenthood.

But that doesn’t diminish the significance of what the Congress will have accomplished by the vote. The fact is, for the first time in history, a majority of both houses will have rejected the notion that Planned Parenthood is somehow entitled to public welfare; or that women’s health care needs can only be provided through a discredited abortion chain. That hasn’t happened in over forty years.

It seems that all we need is a modestly righteous occupant of the White House in 2017 to finally put an end to our sordid partnership with Planned Parenthood. The end of public funding for this organization will be a serious body blow to their operations.

Congress created this evil behemoth by allowing Planned Parenthood to mainline directly into the U.S. Treasury for massive, reliable funding year in and year out. And only Congress can end this evil arrangement.

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

David Ripley: Historic Campaign for Life in Congress

October 3rd, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Many conservatives are angry with the Congress and GOP leadership. Frustrated may be a better word. We sense a profound disconnect between the conservative principles and platforms which motivate many to donate, volunteer and support Republican candidates. On many levels, that frustration is justified.

However, it is also important not to miss what is happening in the nation’s capital. We are in the midst of an unprecedented battle for Life which has fairly raged for months. No doubt the scandalous videos released by the Center for Medical Progress are providing much of the jet fuel for this multi-faceted debate – but it is important to appreciate that we are blessed with a genuinely pro-Life Congress.

The Congress continues to take up pro-Life legislation at an amazing clip. The House has passed a Ban on Late Term Abortions, and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. The House has conducted multiple investigations into Planned Parenthood. It has approved legislation to add criminal penalties for violating the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. And it just passed a bill to empower states to deny Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

Now there is serious talk about appointing a Select Committee to delve deeper into the criminal enterprise which is Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The U.S. Senate has also been very active on the Life issue. It has voted twice to deny public funding for Planned Parenthood. It has also considered legislation to end most abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. Of course, passage of pro-Life legislation in the Senate is more problematic because Democrats have stood as a disciplined Legion of Death to filibuster each pro-Life bill brought to the floor for consideration. While that is frustrating, the effort and time devoted by a majority of the Senate to protecting Life must be acknowledged.

We are especially appreciative of the work and leadership being provided by Idaho’s delegation. From the jump, Congressman Labrador has staked out an aggressive position in support of ending our dark partnership with Planned Parenthood. But Congressman Simpson has been engaged as well, becoming a co-sponsor of the separate bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Idaho’s two senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, have been stellar. Just the other night, they were among the 17 brave souls who opposed a Continuing Resolution that would protect “business as usual”. They are standing tall on principle.

While there have been set-backs, the fight to defund Planned Parenthood is not over.

We are praying that a way can be found to use the Reconciliation process to get around the Senate Democrats’ fake filibuster; we would count it as a major victory to force the first Obama Veto of the new Republican Majority. That moment would help educate America about the dark radicalism of our current president.

If we have any complaints, it is with the Republican messaging over Planned Parenthood funding. This is a perpetual weakness in the Congressional Republican effort to help lead America to a better place. Of course, this fight to end our partnership with Planned Parenthood is about the evil they practice. But it is also about women’s health. We believe that a major theme in GOP messaging should be the disservice being done to women by encouraging them to seek their care from such an ideologically-driven organization. The money spent on reproductive health care should be spent at real health care facilities, where real doctors are present to offer a range of needed services to low income women. Women deserve better. And Congressional Republicans should be talking loudly about improving access to quality health care, and offering to increase funding for such programs.

But we don’t want our suggestions to get in the way of our deep gratitude for the energy and courage on display these past few weeks. May the Lord richly bless these men and women, particularly our Idaho delegation, for their kindness and leadership.

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

David Ripley: The Peculiar Confession of Joe Biden

October 3rd, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Democrat Joe Biden conducted a media interview last week with Father Matt Malone in preparation of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. During the course of their conversation, Vice President Biden confessed that he well understood life “begins at the moment of conception”.

For those of us who have followed Biden’s career in the U.S. Senate and as a central player in the most pro-abortion Administration in history – it was an extraordinary admission. Over the past couple of decades, Biden has morphed from reluctant abortion supporter to a loud proponent of abortion rights, while still claiming to be a faithful son of the Catholic Church. His statement came as something of a surprise, frankly.

So what are we to make of his confession?

On the one hand, it demonstrates that there is yet a flicker of conscience alive in the Vice President. He is able to still recognize the difference between right and wrong. That is an encouraging thing.

On the other hand, the fact that he can simultaneously understand that life begins at conception, while supporting the wanton destruction of millions of American babies each year is, to say the least, astonishing.

Father Malone pressed Biden on his apparent disobedience to Catholic teaching. Biden explained himself this way:

“I’m prepared to accept as a matter of faith, my wife and I, my family, the issue of abortion. But what I’m not prepared to do is to impose a rigid view, a precise view … rigid sounds pejorative … a precise view that is born out of my faith, on other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life.

“I’m prepare to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”

This explanation is essentially the alchemy first articulated by Mario Cuomo back in the 1980s. It allows people like Biden to live with themselves as “decent, God-fearing Christians”, while simultaneously promoting the destruction of millions. They can be “personally” opposed to abortion, while supporting its imposition on the nation. Folks like Biden can even go so far as to suggest that killing preborn children is “wrong”, but they won’t impose that view on others.

One wonders if Vice President Biden felt any discomfort as he sat behind Pope Francis last week in the House chamber, while the Pope made his oblique reference to abortion. One could guess not.

But the simple truth is that Biden’s paper-thin defense does not shield him from condemnation. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we will be held accountable not for our ignorance, but for those matters of moral conscience which we understand. Biden’s succor of the Abortion Industry is akin to supporting slavery while refusing to own a black person personally; or helping to build the gas chambers while privately expressing disagreement with Nazi dogma that Jews aren’t really human beings.

The Vice President’s confession demonstrates that there is yet truth in him. We pray the Holy Spirit breathes upon that flicker so that it becomes a flame within him. There is still time for Biden to act.

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

Richard Larsen: Rectifying Constitutional Illiteracy

October 3rd, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

This past week was Constitution Week, and justifiably so. For if ever there was a time in our nation’s history when we needed to be constitutionally literate, it is now. The spirit of apathy, and ignorance of our founding documents including the Constitution, plagues too many of our fellow citizens. But it is a rectifiable malady.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albert Einstein, an immigrant to America, recognized the need for all citizens to be informed, educated, and resolute in preserving our rights, which include limitation of the powers of the state. Said he, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” With so many of our fellow citizens more concerned about getting their share of government largesse at the expense of their taxpaying neighbors, the determination to defend and support the Constitution and our liberties is commensurately diminished.

With all of the recent expansion of federal government infringing on our constitutional rights, we as citizens must take note of what Lincoln said of those who seek to trample our liberties. He said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

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

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

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

For some, those who believe the country should not be based on liberty but on centralized government, the Constitution is presumed to be an anachronism, unfit to serve as the foundational contractual document between our government and the people. This concept is invalidated by the fact that every political official, every policeman, every judge, and every soldier, takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That such an oath, taken every day across the land, could be thought anachronistic is logically, legally, and morally untenable.

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

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

Andi Elliott: Fighting Mad in Jefferson County

September 12th, 2015 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

You know, if I were a resident of the city of Rigby I’d be fighting mad about now. I just read Charlie Van Leuven’s story in the STAR about City Attorney Rob Dunn’s contract soon coming up for renewal. The city council is considering putting the contract out for bid; Dunn is acting like a petulant school boy according to his comments quoted in the STAR. He just might decide not to “play” if they do that.

Tell me why, and I can ask the same question of Jefferson County residents, would you want an attorney of such questionable ethics? We’ve all seen what transpired in the Blackburn case thanks to the STAR. Dunn represented Blackburn…even though he was City Attorney. And then there is the $88,000 Dunn cost taxpayers regarding the Eagle Rock Sanitation dispute. Don’t forget the times he represented the county in court for his failure to turn over documents requested through public information requests from the Post Register AS REQUIRED BY IDAHO LAW.

And remember how Dunn allowed the notification deadline to slip by knowing that the city council wanted to change his contract. And then there is the disappearance of paperwork surrounding the unsolved mystery of Dunn becoming a city employee thus dramatically enhancing his PERSI benefits… as reported by the STAR.

Let’s see…then there’s the incident about Dunn’s race horse being disqualified because of the presence of a non-allowable drug in the horse. This was followed by the “knife incident” at the race track and his abusive language to the racing board members. All reported in the newspapers.
What else? Oh, there is the matter of Dunn being forced to dismiss a case after six months because of lack of evidence. It took six months to figure that out? Waste of money there…and he set the county up for a suit as indicated by the judge.

Oh, and this is a “biggie”… Mr. Dunn offered to represent a client “pro bono” which sounds admirable, ONLY it was in direct conflict with the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct. You see, according to the I.R.P.C. Mr. Dunn was in conflict of interest by taking the case. When forced to explain his behavior in court, an astute judge disqualified Dunn and read the Idaho State Bar’s Formal Opinion No. 18 to Mr. Dunn which states, “It is the opinion of this committee that a prosecuting attorney or his deputies cannot properly represent a party in any civil action depending upon the same state of fact upon which a criminal prosecution depends where such a prosecuting attorney or his deputies are or were involved in their official capacity.” Now tell me that a prosecutor of 32 years wasn’t aware of this? Dunn attempted to abuse the system and got caught.

This is the kind of prosecutor that Rigby city council wants to retain? We don’t need a prosecutor who abuses his position of power. Rigby citizens, every one of you needs to do two things: subscribe to the STAR and contact your council members and make your voices heard. As the Post Register once wrote…it’s a mystery why Jefferson County taxpayers continue to elect Mr. Dunn. Dunn should be done.

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

Richard Larsen: No Substantive Difference Between Socialists and Democrats

August 23rd, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Sometimes what’s not said in response to a direct inquiry is more noteworthy than what is said. When the chairman of the Democrat National Committee was asked recently what the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist was, she sidestepped the issue and went a totally divergent direction. It would have provided a valuable service if she’d answered the question directly, for there seems to be no substantive distinction.

“What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The DNC chairman started to laugh, so Matthews tried again. “I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think?” Wasserman-Schultz started to sidestep the issue again, so Matthews tried a third time. “Yeah, but what’s the big difference between being a Democrat and being a socialist? You’re the chairwoman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist.” Intentionally avoiding Matthew’s question, she responded, “The difference between—the real question is what’s the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican.” Her dogmatically superficial and fallacious explication ensued.

A little later, NBC’s Chuck Todd, on “Meet the Press,” asked the same question, which she responded to very similarly, choosing to answer a question not asked. But when the Matthews interview is looked at contextually, she may have already answered the question, when she called Bernie Sanders “a good Democrat.”

That’s a significant statement even at face value, for Bernie Sanders, the junior senator from Vermont, and a Democrat candidate for president, is a self-avowed socialist. He’s officially an Independent, but caucuses with the Democrats and votes with them 98% of the time, according to

The significance increases further when Sander’s burgeoning popularity in the Democrat presidential polls is analyzed. Having started out in single-digit support just two months ago, Sanders has significantly reduced frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s lead. In Sander’s neighboring state of New Hampshire, one of the early voting states, Sanders now leads Clinton by 7%. Considering only 38% of Americans feel Clinton is “trustworthy,” it’s surprising the former Secretary of State has any lead in any polls, anywhere.

Sanders is attracting larger campaign crowds than any of the other presidential candidates. Earlier this week he attracted nearly 28,000 in Los Angeles, 28,000 in Portland, Oregon, and over 15,000 in Seattle.

When looking at his proposals, it’s difficult to identify any substantive differences from mainstream Democrat Party doctrine. Sanders is pushing for universal single-payer health care; supports redistribution of wealth; advocates “free” college; fosters an antipathy toward corporations and “big business;” wants military spending cut by 50%; opposes natural resource development for energy; advocates government control and solutions for all economic or cultural challenges; and emphasizes egalitarianism rather than merit and achievement.

These tenets fit comfortably under the socialist umbrella, which, in general terms, is “An economic and political system based on public or collective ownership of the means of production. Socialism emphasizes equality rather than achievement, and values workers by the amount of time they put in rather than by the amount of value they produce. It also makes individuals dependent on the state for everything from food to health care. While capitalism is based on a price system, profit and loss and private property rights, socialism is based on bureaucratic central planning and collective ownership,” according to Investopedia.

There are some distinctions that should be made, however. The American variety of socialism (liberalism and progressivism) has a democratic component that doesn’t require a revolution, as many of the European and Asian models featured, but rather relies upon a democratic vote to incorporate. This necessitates the means to organize communities and proliferate propaganda, in order to effect electoral change. Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” rose in direct response to that need, as a playbook for societal polarization and proliferation of socialist objectives. And perhaps not coincidentally, Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on the Alinsky model, and President Obama taught it as a community organizer, and has implemented it to perfection nationally.

Jason Riley, a Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week, “Mr. Sanders’s socialism appeals mainly to upper-middle-class professionals and fits neatly within the parameters of mainstream, income-inequality-obsessed Democratic politics in the 21st century. He may have an affinity for a political ideology that has given the world everything from the Soviet Gulag to modern-day Greece, but in this age of Obama, the senator is just another liberal with a statist agenda.”

Founded in individual liberty, America has always been the one nation under heaven where equality of opportunity has taken precedence over equality of outcome. The whole concept of the “American Dream” is based on the individual freedom to become, to achieve, to build, sell, and succeed. This requires individual freedom (which is diminished proportionate to expanded governmental power), and a free market economy (not centralized planning, or government control over the means of production). Consequently, socialism is philosophically, morally, and pragmatically, antithetical to American values. Deductively, it is clearly anti-American.

Which brings us back to the chairman of the DNC. With the apparent inability to make any substantive distinction between the major tenets of socialism and the contemporary Democrat Party, it’s perfectly understandable that Wasserman-Shultz would not attempt to note any contradistinction. For as Riley observed in his WSJ piece, “These days, it’s largely a distinction without a difference.”

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

Richard Larsen: America – Founded in Liberty, Evolved and Mired in Tyranny

August 13th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

“The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period…The United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.” So declared George Washington at the time of our founding as a nation.

It is unique and exceptional that this nation was established according natural law, and declared inalienable individual rights of life, liberty, and property, or the pursuit of happiness. In an era when monarchs, rulers, oligarchs, autocrats and aristocrats governed according to their whims and disposition, having derived their right to rule based on caste or bloodline, a motley collection of men steeped in classical-liberal principles led a revolution and established a nation dedicated to individual freedom.

Those precepts were the foundation to the Declaration of Independence, which states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” There is nothing more exceptional in human history than those two sentences and the nation that resulted from their utterance: a nation that derived its “just” powers from the “consent of the governed.”

A decade later, the structural document creating the governmental framework based on the tenets articulated in the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the colonies. That document, our Constitution, stated specifically as enumerated powers, what our national government could do, and whatever powers were not specified or enumerated, were “reserved to the states respectively or to the people.”

But even at the nascent stages of the American experiment, the author of liberty, Thomas Jefferson, saw how our system would metamorphose into something entirely different. “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

What started as a small list of enumerated powers in the Constitution, has evolved to hundreds of thousands of pages of laws and regulations in the Federal Register, and a government that has debt greater than the entire gross domestic product of the nation. Laws have become so obtrusive that in any given day, millions of our fellow citizens can unwittingly commit “crimes” against the state, as documented in the Alan Dershowitz and Harvey Silverglate book, “Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.”

We are so far removed from our foundation of individual liberty, that literally every action of every day that we engage in is regulated, taxed, or overseen by an omnipotent Master governing its peon subjects. The tyrannical control of our lives far, far exceeds the relatively minor transgressions of King George against our founding colonists.

Political scientist Theodore Lowi attested to this devolution from liberty to governmental tyranny, forty years ago in his book “The End of Liberalism.” He empirically documented that “modern liberalism has left us with a government that is unlimited in scope but formless in action.” He illustrated how such a government “can neither plan nor achieve justice because liberalism replaces planning with bargaining and creates a regime of policy without law.”

With such a noose of governmental control around the throat of the country, it’s amazing that anything can be produced, sold, or used, for as government grows in scope, power, and control, individual liberty is diminished and quashed. It’s a testimonial to the viability of capitalism that even under such oppressive regulatory control of the means of production that we can still eek out a modicum of GDP growth.

Government is increasingly looked to as the benevolent patriarch that can bestow “rights” and entitlements to a beseeching clientele, diminishing the liberty, rights, and privileges, of another. In short, we have a new master and we are all its subjects.

The cost of this bloating and egregious governmental power is great, and the cumulative cost can literally destroy a nation financially. Greece typifies this collapse, with several European nations not far behind. As columnist and author Dennis Praeger has said, “Countries will either shrink the size of their government, or they will eventually collapse economically. Every welfare state is a Ponzi scheme, relying on new payers to pay previous payers. Like the Ponzi scheme, when it runs out of new payers, the scheme collapses. European countries, all of which are welfare states, are already experiencing this problem to varying degrees.”

Can we ever reverse this course, and make a strong case for liberty again? It won’t be easy. For every dole paid out by our federal master, there is a clientele that would vociferously denounce any effort at reduction. In a representative democracy, the most vocal citizens appropriate to themselves more attention from the powers that be. But if the nation is to survive financially, the trend must be reversed.

This will require a resolute and informed electorate that is more vocal than the beneficiary recipients of our nanny-state master’s noblesse oblige. But if we’re to prevent the otherwise inevitable collapse of our currency, our economy, and the nation, we must muster the will and determination to begin shrinking the scope and cost of government. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The best government is that which governs least.” It’s also more likely to endure.

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Richard Larsen: Donald Trump, Another Narcissistic Liberal?

August 6th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

After seven years of a narcissistic president, the last thing the nation needs is another four. Donald Trump has all the same outward egocentric manifestations to which we’ve become accustomed. The problem with politicians imbued with such characteristics, is that everything they do is all about them, not those whom they are elected to serve, or the Constitution to which they take an oath of fealty.

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a psychologist by profession, has said it’s clear that the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Av. is a narcissist. “This is a guy, you look at every one of his speeches, even the way he introduces high officials — I’d like to introduce my secretary of state. He refers to ‘my intelligence community.’ And in one speech, I no longer remember it, ‘my military.’ For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor, Napoleon. He does have this sense of this all being a drama about him, and everybody else is just sort of part of the stage.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the “Malignant Self Love,” and an expert on narcissism, concurs. Vaknin says, “Obama’s language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the president is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. After listing several 20th century examples, he explains how they all “created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers.”

He elaborated, “For a narcissist no subject is as important as his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as himself? [Explaining why Obama had written an autobiography before he’d accomplished anything.] Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience.”

And now we have the bombastic, egocentric real estate mogul from New York mirroring the self-absorption seemingly endemic with our 44th president. And he’s already setting some records with his self-congratulatory rhetoric.

“I’m really rich.” “I’m proud of my net worth.” “I’ve done an amazing job.” “I’m really proud of my success. I really am.” “I’m not doing that to brag because you know what? I don’t have to brag.” But he just can’t seem to help himself! And so Donald Trump self-adulated himself 257 times in his 45 minute presidential bid announcement speech last month. That even exceeded Obama’s 208 self-laudatory references in his 22 minute, 2007 presidential announcement. That’s pretty impressive when you can out-“narcissize” the Narcissist In Chief!

But aside from his egocentrism, the most glaring verity related to Trump’s presidential bid is that he doesn’t belong on the Republican ticket. He clearly is not a conservative, and probably aligns ideologically much more with Bernie Sanders than he does with any of the other 15 candidates on the Republican ticket.

Over the years, Trump has been a proponent for single-payer government funded healthcare, a socialistic step to the left of Obamacare. He’s been a supporter of abortion, has advocated an assault weapons ban, and has even floated the idea of forcing the rich to forfeit 14% of their total wealth to reduce the federal debt.

He has donated heavily to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, and to the Clinton Foundation. And when he married his third wife in 2005, Bill and Hillary were on his guest list. And his financial support for Democrat House and Senate candidates has far eclipsed what he’s donated on GOP candidates.

According to public campaign disclosures, 21 of Trump’s 30 political donations have gone to liberal Democrats and political action committees. Only seven went to Republicans, and two went to Charlie Crist, who, like Trump, doesn’t seem to know which party he belongs to.

And in 2008, he sounded just like every other progressive in the nation, bemoaning George W. Bush’s presidency, when Trump alleged, “He was so incompetent, so bad, so evil.” Trump went on to call Bush “maybe the worst president in the history of this country.”

In light of his possible xenophobic comments regarding illegal aliens, it’s ironic what Trump said after the 2012 election. He claimed Republicans would “continue to lose elections if they came across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming to people of color.”

Trump’s primary function in the Republican presidential primary process seems to be to function as a media lightning rod. Ninety percent of the media coverage on the GOP candidates is on the Donald, which means he’s literally sucking the air out of the race of the fifteen other legitimate candidates.

So why is Trump polling so well in these early stages of the presidential sweepstakes? It pains me to say, really. But the only logical explanation is that regrettably even a fairly significant minority of conservatives can be deceived by the grandiloquence and fierce independence of a self-congratulatory narcissist, in spite of obvious ideological contradictions. A couple of pet issues that resonate with conservatives on a populist level, and a strident, even blunt, speaking style, and too many citizens can temporarily allow emotion to supersede logic.

At least let’s hope it’s a temporary condition. What a travesty it would be if someone like Trump became the party standard bearer in a year when so many truly qualified conservatives are on the ticket, orr worse yet, if he became a third-party candidate that siphoned off enough votes to give the election to the control freak on the Democrat ticket.

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