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

David Ripley: Obama Uses FDA to Subsidize Planned Parenthood

April 2nd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Food & Drug Administration announced yesterday that it was caving in to pressure from Planned Parenthood to expand the use of RU-486.

Specifically, the FDA will now allow Planned Parenthood to dispense the deadly chemical cocktail to women and girls until nearly the end of the 1st trimester of pregnancy – much longer than its original restriction of 49 days.

The FDA has also dropped a requirement that a physician provide mifepristone to patients, meaning that nurses or other personnel at Planned Parenthood will be authorized to give out the drugs. Making matters worse, the agency has dropped a requirement that the woman return to get the second drug (misoprostol); now the woman or girl will be sent home with the second drug to complete her abortion at home without medical supervision.

Given the clear evidence of RU-486 harming women – deaths have been reported – it is most disturbing that the new regulations have dropped the requirement that a woman return for an exam following the abortion.

Clearly, these more liberal regulations are not designed to protect women and girls; this is a gift from Barack Obama to his pals at Planned Parenthood to feed their bottom line.

It is rather striking that these new regulations have come down less than a month after the Republican Senate confirmed Obama’s new Commissioner of Food & Drugs, Dr. Robert Califf.

In response, Congressman Chris Smith issued the following comments:

“Not only is mifepristone used to kill babies, it is a poison that has harmed and even killed women. Yet even with this record, President Obama has bowed to pressure from his abortion cronies and has further expanded the use of the abortion pill, putting the health and lives of even more women and children at risk.”

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

Richard Larsen: Uncomfortable GOP Fit for Trump

March 30th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

Even the mention of political parties in general brings out the worst in some people, and the reaction only becomes more vociferous and “colorful” when specific parties are mentioned by name. As despised and maligned as the two major parties are, at any given time, it’s amazing they’re still around, even though they fill a crucial role in our American political system. But there has perhaps never been a presidential election in which party affiliation has meant less than in this one.

The founding fathers were adamantly opposed to the concept of political parties, or “factions,” as they often referred to them. The principles upon which our republic was established are fundamentally premised on the assumption that governance would be by rationality and collaboration amongst the citizenry and those in government, and our founders were convinced that a consensus for the greater good would always prevail.

The ink was hardly dry on the Constitution before factions, or parties, began to be formed. And perhaps most surprisingly, those most critical of parties were most instrumental in their formation. George Washington had said that party bickering “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another.” And Thomas Jefferson claimed, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

Washington’s policies, foreign and domestic, strengthened and expanded the power of the new federal government, spawning a faction of Federalists. A broad cross-section of the populace was opposed to this expansion of centralized power, and became known as the Democratic-Republicans, harboring the same loathing of centralized power that the Anti-Federalists did during the drafting of the Constitution. This anti-federalist sentiment led Jefferson to resign as Secretary of State to lead the opposition to the Federalist faction of Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. This marked, in essence, the birth of America’s two-party political system.

The ideological bifurcation of our founder’s republicanism, which spawned America’s earliest two-party system, continues today, and still provides the demarcation of contemporary parties. In general ideological terms, yesterday’s Federalists are today’s Democrats, more inclined toward centralized power, and the Anti-Federalists, or Democratic-Republicans, are today’s Republicans, favoring decentralized power and individual liberty.

Like the Anti-Federalists of yesterday, today’s Republicans generally favor less government, less centralized control over the economy, less regulation and control over the private sector, less spending, and lower taxes. Also, like their 18th century predecessors, the current iteration of anti-federalists also are more literal and devout in enforcement of our Bill of Rights, and the credo trifecta of the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Even though such a general belief system runs deep in the GOP (Grand Old Party), there’s no litmus test for fealty to those principles in order to declare party affiliation. Nor is it requisite for those who run under the Republican banner. It’s simply a matter of self-identification, and anyone can claim at any time to be a member of either of the parties, or none of the parties.

And the same holds for candidates. And this is where things get sticky for Republicans. The current GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump, has a history of statements on his belief system that could make him more of a Democrat than a Republican. He also has a history of donating more to Democrat candidates in the past than to Republicans. Yet today, he claims to be a Republican.

Perhaps even more disconcerting for Republicans, rather than broadening the GOP’s “big tent,” he’s narrowing it with his incendiary speech and antics. By so doing, he’s reshaping the perception of the party he claims to be a member of and wants to lead. And judging from current polls indicating Hillary Clinton would thoroughly trounce him in November by eleven points, his alienation of minority voters, certain religious voters, most voters with a sense of principle, many conservatives, and people with a sense of decency and propriety, his march to the nomination could easily be characterized as a GOP political suicide by amputation – one limb (or demographic) at a time.

No wonder “the establishment” Republicans, and life-long party members who have invested years, even lifetimes, to broaden electoral appeal while striving to stay true to party principles take exception to his redrawing the face of the party! He is not a Republican at heart, and in 2004 even said “I identify more as a Democrat.” He has given little over the years to the Party, and shares little ideological alignment with it, yet much like a 19th century “carpetbagger,” sweeps in and hijacks the political apparatus with which he shares little affinity, and takes over.

With no litmus test or oath of fealty to the GOP, or to the principles espoused by the party, it’s disturbing that one can simply assume the right to take over and reshape the face of an entire organization, simply on the strength of his populist lingo and propaganda. To many who have spent their lives attempting to favorably shape the public perception of their party, Trump’s hijacking is as distasteful as it would be if Rush Limbaugh were to do so to the Democrat Party.

Party representation has perhaps never, in recent political history, meant less substantively or ideologically, than it does this year. The surprising breadth of support for Trump is not based on principles and party ideology. It’s based on electorate anger, dissatisfaction with the system, and adulation of an anti-establishment persona. Because ideologically, Trump is a box of Cracker Jacks – we have no idea what kind of surprise comes inside!

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

David Ripley: Idaho Senate Approves Unborn Infants Dignity Act

March 23rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho State Senate overwhelmingly approved SB1404 yesterday afternoon. This historic legislation would make it illegal to harvest organs and tissue from aborted babies. It would make it illegal to conduct experiments with tissue and organs ripped from babies killed in abortion. That includes embryonic stem cells.

Sadly, all Democrats on the floor sided with Planned Parenthood, which has fought vigorously against this bill – despite claims that they are not selling aborted babies from their abortion clinics in Idaho.

The legislation now moves to the House State Affairs Committee.

Please join us in praying for the success of this legislation in the closing days of the 2016 legislative session.

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

David Ripley: All We Need to Know

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Barack Obama’s campaign to pack the court has been fairly restrained and subtle up to this point. He has been arguing that he has a constitutional duty to pick a nominee to replace Justice Scalia. And the Senate has a duty to “advise and consent”.

He brought forth a sitting appellate judge, Merrick Garland and positioned his candidate as a reasonable “moderate”. No sinister plot here.

Thankfully our friends on the radical left are a bit more honest. It saves a lot of time and helps average folks understand the dangerous game Obama is actually playing.

Yesterday the Planned Parenthood chief couldn’t restrain herself. Cecile Richards offered high praise for the president’s choice – which is all anyone really needs to know about the nominee’s “moderate” politics. While reports have surfaced that Garland also has a terrible record on gun control – we can now be certain that he is also a committed ideologue on the matter of protecting the Roe abortion regime.

Regardless of what happens this fall, Republicans are well justified in demanding a better option for the determining justice on the Supreme Court.

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

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 »

David Ripley: A Hero of the Republic Goes to His Reward

February 15th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The nation was stunned by the sudden loss of Justice Antonin Scalia yesterday. Grief is mixed with alarm over the prospect that Barack Obama could somehow gain the upper hand to send the Supreme Court, and the nation with it, over the great abyss by picking a history-changing replacement on the high court.

But there will be plenty of days to worry and pray that the GOP Majority in the Senate will be up to the task of stiff-arming Obama’s radical judicial agenda until his term mercifully ends.

For now, we should gratefully celebrate the incredible contributions Justice Scalia has made to his nation. His powerful reason and rabid defense of the Constitution has earned him a place in that great Hall of Patriots.

One could – and many will – read his opinions and blistering dissents on any number of challenges to the fundamental liberties of our Republic. But we are most appreciative of his stellar defense of the right to life and his scorn for those who invented a right to kill out of pure ideological fancy. Here is but one sample of his potent pen, written in the first case on Partial Birth Abortion:

I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court’s jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child-one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child-proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. . . . The notion that the Constitution of the United States, designed, among other things, “to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” prohibits the States from simply banning this visibly brutal means of eliminating our half-born posterity is quite simply absurd.

We acknowledge the grief of a nation, and that of the Scalia family over his sudden departure. But it is hard not to celebrate such a life as

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

David Ripley: Go Out and Annoy an Abortionist

February 8th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The winning ad from this year’s Super Bowl has to be the Doritos ad, which shows a playful interaction between a Dad and his preborn baby. It was warm, funny and made the point that Doritos are pretty tasty.

On the way, it also built upon the common sense understanding that the preborn child is a conscious human being while yet in the womb.

That was enough to outrage the folks over at NARAL – the association of professional baby assassins. They actually blasted out a tweet denouncing the ad: “Not Buying It – that Doritos ad using the anti-choice tactic of humanizing fetuses ….”

This tells us everything we need to know about the mindset over at NARAL – an understanding of the world which hinges upon a delusional fantasy in which the “fetus” is not even human. These are the lies they must tell themselves to get up each day.

We urge our friends to go out and buy a bag of Doritos in the next couple days, if only to annoy an abortionist.

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

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