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David Ripley: Another Woman Dies from RU-486

April 14th, 2014 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

A woman died in an Italian hospital last week from cardiac arrest after taking RU-486 to terminate her baby’s life. According to LifeNews, doctors were unable to revive her.

What makes this story particularly important is the fact that Italian law requires such abortions to be conducted under direct doctoral supervision. And, at least in this case, the woman was given the two-pill regimen at the hospital. One of the physicians involved claimed that the woman underwent two separate ultrasounds on each of her visits for the drugs.

Planned Parenthood has been advocating for the right to dispense RU-486 over the internet without any direct medical examination or supervision.

Four hours after receiving the second drug – designed to cause labor so the dead baby will be ejected from the womb – the Italian woman complained that she was having a hard time breathing. Then her heart began to beat irregularly. Just moments later, her heart stopped. The woman was only 37.

LifeNews also reports that some 2 million American babies have been destroyed via RU-486 since Bill Clinton approved the drug for use in the United States in 2000.

The number of babies being chemically aborted continues to increase across the nation, as well as in Idaho.

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

Richard Larsen: A Rip in Reagan’s Big Tent – Rifts in the GOP

April 14th, 2014 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

In a two-party system, as the U.S. gratefully is, there must be a difference between the two major parties. The distinction seems to have eroded over the years as both parties have moved to the left. To those of us who ardently hold to the principles that this nation was founded upon, there is only one major party that at least has the temerity to articulate those ideals, whether it in fact practices them or not, and that is the Republican Party. Those of us who lament the downward slide of the country into statism, and toward eventual financial collapse, must decide whether we want to be part of the solution within the GOP, or continue to be part of the problem. Many who consider themselves to be “patriots” are part of the problem.

republican-tentMany long-time Republicans are resistant to the efforts of the neophytes, or Tea Party idealists. They stand egocentrically on the ground that the Republican Party is “my” party,” and refuse to let the neophyte conservatives have a place at the table. They roll out by-law and rule changes that seek to centralize the “power” and authority of the party in the hands of a few, rather than expanding and democratizing it, and increasing participation. They attempt to demonize and denigrate the newcomers who, in my estimation, are the very embodiment of the same revolutionary spirit and convictions that founded our republic.

On the other hand, many of the newcomers attack the “old guard” with the same ferocity and animus they hold for those who are ideologically engaged in the process of fundamentally transforming the nation. Some of these Tea Partiers exacerbate the divide created by the egoism of the old guard and take this internal struggle to a level that, if taken to extremes, will fractiously render the GOP impotent, which would serve no one’s interest, except the other Party and the real enemies of freedom. They engage in strident in-your-face confrontational coercion of “ideological purity,” that only fans the flames of discord and apprehension of the establishment Republicans.

There is near universal acceptance within the GOP of the main tenets of the Tea Party movement which are: eliminate excessive taxes, eliminate the national debt, eliminate deficit spending, protect free markets, abide by the Constitution of the United States, promote civic responsibility, and reduce the overall size of government.

The only difference, other than tactical, I can find between the two factions is an understanding of compromise. The old guard has been around long enough to know that everything in politics and government is incremental, and that compromise is critical. They just need to learn to compromise in a way that takes us in the right direction, not the other way. The newcomers have the luxury of standing strictly on principle, and, having never governed, have not had the educational experience to realize that it’s impossible in governance to have things exactly how you want them all of the time. It is possible to compromise on specific legislation or statute without compromising on your principles. Ignorance of this fact will cripple the neo-conservatives unless they learn to adapt.

What is clear, is that the tactics of both factions are churlish, immature, and divisive. Both use labels to demonize and alienate the other, and engage in tactics that are characteristic of Saul Alinsky devotees, not members of the Party of Lincoln. To both sides I would reiterate the counsel of Paul, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Ronald Reagan’s goal was for the Republican Party to be a big tent; the bigger the better. I believe ardently that all who are at the eye of this intra-party storm are conservatives, believing in limited government, individual freedom, protection of life and private property, less government spending and less governmental intrusion and centralization of power. So why should it matter if we’re constitutional conservatives, Tea Party conservatives, libertarian conservatives, or old guard conservatives? As Reagan said, “He who agrees with me 80% of the time is not my enemy.”

housedividedIf the GOP is to succeed electorally, all factions and persons involved in the party schism must learn to work together. Only by working together can we begin to slow the abominable slide into leftist oblivion. The “old guard” and the Tea Partiers must realize that all brands of conservatives are essential spokes in the same wheel.

If the statists who’re fundamentally transforming the nation are to be defeated, then it will only come as a result of a “united we stand, but divided we fall” conviction. And if we’re not part of the solution to create such cohesiveness, we’re part of the problem of divisiveness and failure. Clearly, both factions are at fault, and both are diluting and dividing the positive electoral influence the GOP could be enjoying if they’d work together against the real enemies of the state, rather than those perceived internally to be.

When conservatives don’t get their way with the candidates of their choice, and choose to stay at home on election day, they get precisely what they despise the most: more centralized planning, more reckless spending, and more expansive intrusion of government in their private lives by handing the election to the opposition. In short, everything that is contrary to their convictions. It’s illogical, and frankly, just plain stupid to alienate and marginalize those who agree with you 90% of the time by treating them the same way as those who disagree 100% of the time. The best thing to do is vote in every election for the most conservative candidate. You are not “violating” your principles by so doing.

It matters less what kind of conservative labels we wear in our personal ideology, than that all parties resolve to work together in defeating those whose beliefs are antithetical to our founding principles. If the newcomers are to inch the country back closer to our founding tenets, it’s going to come by nudging the Republican Party back to its conservative roots, not by a hostile takeover, or by splintering into separate, impotent parties. And if the establishment Republicans want to win elections, they’ve got to work with, not against, the Tea Party conservatives and begin harnessing their convictions and enthusiasm, and begin practicing better what they preach. And developing a backbone to stand up against the statists would go a long way toward developing some trust with the more conservative members.

A great starting point for all is adoption of Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican,” and a determination to discontinue the divisive and deleterious speech, inferences, and actions. And for heaven’s sake, start talking with one another, rather than about one another!

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

Richard Larsen: Paying for Influence – The Kochs & George Soros

April 9th, 2014 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Judging from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s nearly daily diatribes on the floor of the U.S. Senate, George W. Bush has been retired as the most despised villain, and the cause of all the evils that plague the world. Bush has been replaced by the Koch (a Dutch name, pronounced “Coke”) brothers who are often maligned by the left for their pecuniary influence in politics. Since those on the left are not equally malevolent toward George Soros, who does the same thing, it’s clearly not the money in politics that bothers them — it’s the ideology.

The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning Fact Check granted a “Four Pinocchio” rating to Reid’s latest round of attacks. The Post says Reid is “setting a high standard for deceptive speech,” and concludes that Reid’s party is “reaching blindly” for someone to cast the blame of their own failures on. The paper, critical of the falsity of Reid’s claim, chides him with, “If you want to join a gun fight, don’t fire blanks.”

charles-and-david-kochDavid and Charles Koch are brothers who run Koch Industries, an oil refinery business that is the second largest private firm in the country. The brothers are tied at number 6 on Forbes top billionaires list with personal net worth of about $41 billion each. They’ve expanded and maintained their fortunes by successfully providing the refined product that keeps America moving – oil.

George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund company. Soros is number 27 on Forbes list with a net worth of $23 billion. He’s made his fortune in large part by selling short against international currencies and collapsing financial institutions. In 1997 he was dubbed “the man who broke the Bank of England,” and he was blamed by the Malaysian Prime Minister for collapsing their currency during the Asian financial crisis. He was also convicted of illegal financial dealings in France. His big bet now is collapsing the U.S. dollar and the free enterprise system.

Economist Paul Krugman has been critical of Soros, and others like him, “who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.”

The Koch brothers and Soros spend lavishly in politics. They support individual candidates, contribute to political party campaign funds, lobby politicians, bankroll political action committees, and have established foundations and think tanks to influence politics.
The Kochs spend by far the most, but the bulk of it goes to lobbying. The Open Society Institute is one of George Soros’ organizations, and they provide part of the funding of OpenSecrets.org, so even realizing that their data may be skewed toward a more pejorative coverage of the Kochs, I’m going to rely on their data. According to Open Secrets, the Koch brothers have spent, or as liberals typically describe it, “invested” over $50 million in lobbying from 1998-2010. During that same time, Soros and his primary Lobbying organization, Open Society Policy Center, spent about $13 million.

george-soros-economic-terrorist-obama-politics-1344236489Donations to federal candidates, parties, and political action committees give a smaller advantage to the Kochs. They invested $2.58 million vs. Soros’ $1.74 million from 1989 to 2010. When extended to include the past four years, the Koch brothers have contributed $18 million in political donations. This sounds like a great number, until we look at the 58 organizations ahead of them, including 18 different unions, according to Open Secrets. Those unions political contributions total over $638 million, almost all of whose funds go to liberal candidates, and is more than 35 times more than the Kochs donate. Among those are the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees $60,667,379, the National Education Association $53,594,488, the United Auto Workers $41,667,858, and the Service Employees International Union $38,395,690
But from here the money for political influence gets a little more shady. From 2001 to 2010, the Koch brothers invested $1.5 million in other political groups, called 527 organizations, compared to Soros’ whopping $32.5 million.

The proliferation and expanded influence of 527s was made possible by the problematic McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform of 2002, so named because of the tax code, Section 527, that they fall under. As described by Benjamin Dangl, the groups “operate as shadow political campaigns working indirectly for or against a particular candidate.” Once contributed funds get to these groups, they can go anywhere, and the audit trail is virtually non-existent. Some are run totally above board and are very straightforward in their objectives. Many others are not. As Dangl says, “Prominent think tanks and campaign finance reform lobbyists say 527s are ‘illegal loopholes’ that enable the privatization of political campaigns.”

The groups that these men contribute to tell an even more significant tale than the sheer dollar volume they pump into our dysfunctional crony-capitalist, or corporatist political system. Since the Koch brothers are ideological libertarians, they’re driven by the classical-liberal Jeffersonian philosophy that America was founded on. Perhaps nothing defines this self-defined mission for the brothers better than the mission statement on the Cato Institute website, which states, “The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.”

The Cato Institute, the Koch’s crown jewel, was established 40 years ago with seed money from Charles Koch, and his brother David still serves on the Board of the organization. Cato is recognized as the sixth most influential think tank in the nation, and number 14 internationally, with its scholarly and empirically documented research.

They also have contributed significantly to the Reason Foundation, publisher of Reason Magazine, applying reason and logic to economic and personal liberty issues. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman strongly supported the Foundation. And with a grant of $30 million, the Koch brothers were instrumental in the establishment of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, with similar objectives.

George Soros runs the Open Society Institute and the Soros.org website, and contributes heavily to many organizations that ideologically are aligned with leftist causes, including Moveon.org. He is reviled abroad for his shady efforts to foment revolution and collapse currencies. His “foundations have been accused of shielding spies and breaking currency laws, and he’s invested over $400 million in institutions of higher education to promulgate and teach his extremist ideology.

In short, the Kochs and Soros are heavily invested in politics and are, by all standards, prototypical “one percenters” in income, net worth, and political influence. And it would appear, at least ostensibly, that all three are playing the influence-for-money game according to the rules established by congress. There is near universal contempt for the crony capitalism and corrupt corporatism that has tainted our political institutions, and politicians, and adulterated our free-market system. But congress has created the rules these players play by. Blaming the Kochs and Soros for using their resources to buy influence is like blaming collegiate athletes for the rules established by the NCAA.

obama-puppet-teleprompter-george-soros-junkie-sad-hill-newsSince most of the Koch’s political money goes into lobbying, their funds are well documented, as required by congressional accounting rules. With most of Soros’ political “investments” going into 527s, the funds are less traceable, and has earned Soros the dubious honor of being dubbed the “Godfather to the left.”

The classical-liberal principles of individual freedom and free markets that are so fully embraced and advanced by Charles and David Koch are the very principles the nation was founded upon. They are the principles that made America great. The progressive socialistic agenda advanced by Soros is antithetical to America’s founding precepts, and is heavily invested in the failure of not only the U.S. dollar, but the collapse of the U.S. economic system.

As distasteful as the pay-for-influence system is, the ideological objectives and uses of that influence should be of even greater concern. Should we fear those who support the ideals that made America great, or the one who seeks to destroy and fundamentally transform the country?

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

David Ripley: The Price is Simply Too High

April 3rd, 2014 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have been working for nearly twenty years in Idaho to end the horrific scourge of abortion. That battle requires a ton of research and study to keep up with the complex evil of abortion and the innumerable ways it is corrupting our very civilization.

But once in awhile, we are plain shocked by how far things have gone.

The latest outrage comes from that once-upon-a-time bastion of Western Civilization and Christian values, Great Britain. Not only has that nation helped lead the way toward a broad acceptance of abortion as an “ordinary” part of social interaction – we now learn that some in the medical industry have actually turned to burning the destroyed babies as a fuel source to heart their hospitals.

Numerous media outlets have reported that at least two hospitals in that nation use incinerated babies as a fuel for their “waste to energy” heating systems.

Once the Nazi-like practice became public, the Department of Health issued an order to ban the practice in clinics which are part of the National Health Service. Health Minister Dr. Dan Poulter pronounced the practice “totally unacceptable”.

A British television station reports that they have documented more than 15,000 babies have been burned for their heat. You can be sure that is but a small portion of the actual number.

This story is so far past outrageous that words become difficult. Maybe words are the wrong response anyway. Maybe we all need to pause and simply feel this closing darkness.

Can there be any doubt, from a rational, objective perspective, that we are paying a horrific price to maintain the practice of legalized slaughter? The long-ago predictions regarding the collateral damage to our souls and sensibilities is plainly evidenced by practices like the one uncovered in Great Britain. Our devaluing of Life costs us all.

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

David Ripley: Haskell Shows Us the Face of Evil

March 20th, 2014 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Ohio abortionist Martin Haskell, the creator of the partial birth abortion method of killing preborn children, is under assault by Operation Rescue for his violation of a recently-enacted law. Defiance might be a better word.

The Ohio Legislature passed a statute requiring all abortionists working in the state to have a transfer agreement with a proximate hospital in cases of an emergency. Haskell refuses to do that, despite being ordered to do so by the Ohio Department of Health. According to a recent email from Operation Rescue, a court has stayed the Department’s order.

Meanwhile, another woman has suffered a botched abortion at Haskell’s hands. Operation Rescue reports a 911 call from Haskell in which he apparently laughs while talking with the operator.

We must ever remember that there is genuine evil at work in the abortion industry. The systematic destruction of human beings in the name of “liberation” threatens our collective humanity. That does not mean that every person working in the industry, or certainly every person affected by the industry, is “evil”. But make no mistake about the powerful, corrosive poison being pumped into our society through the work of people like Martin Haskell.

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

Richard Larsen: America’s Beleaguered Middle Class

February 28th, 2014 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The middle class in America is shrinking; numerically in terms of the percentage of the total population, as well as qualitatively in terms of the quality of life. Most of us consider ourselves to be members of the middle class, and we’re being squeezed by declining real income and rising expenses, as we increasingly shoulder the inflationary costs of corporate America, and the burdensome costs of government operations.

Consider the following middle class statistics as researched by Bill Moyers and PBS. Middle class is roughly defined as those households ranging in income from $25,500 to $76,500. At $51,017 the real median household income in 2012 is even less than it was at the end of the ’80s, and it’s down 9 percent from its high in 1999, with the biggest portion of that decline, 8.3%, in just the past five years.

The median net worth of a family in 2010 was $77,300, compared to $126,400 just three years earlier. In 46 of our 50 states, the poverty rates have increased over the past five years, and the national poverty rate is over 15% for the fourth year running. The last time that happened was in 1965. More and more families are dropping from the ranks of the middle class into poverty.

One of the greatest factors adversely affecting median household income is the loss of jobs and extended unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Participation Rate, which is represented as a ratio or a percentage of the total population, is at the lowest levels in 50 years, with about 62.8% of the population working. According to the BLS U-6 data, 13% of the population is still unemployed or underemployed, and marginally attached to the labor market.

On the cost of goods and services the picture isn’t much better. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the most relied on figure for calculating the year over year inflation rate. According to Forbes, the BLS has changed the way it calculates the CPI 20 times over the past 30 years, including new formulas and indices that have separated the volatile food and energy components and created a separate “Core” inflation rate. By some economist’s calculations, these changes have resulted in a significant dissociation between what the government reports as the inflation rate, and what we see in reality for the prices of goods and services that we buy.

Earlier this month Forbes declared, that “The CPI is not a measurement of rising prices, rather it tracks consumer spending patterns that change as prices change. The CPI doesn’t even touch the falling value of money. If it did the CPI would look much different.”

According to the BLS the CPI was up 1.6% last year, and has hovered between 1-4% over the past five years. But if the inflation rate were calculated now the same as it was in 1980, inflation over the past five years would’ve been between 5-12% per year. For example, average out-of-pocket healthcare costs have nearly doubled in just the last seven years, from $2,035 to $3,600.

Domestic energy prices have likewise increased dramatically. Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. Increasing energy costs adversely affect the middle class disproportionately.

These data paint a distressing picture of the current status of the American middle class. And prospects for improvement are virtually nonexistent since the basis for the middle class demise is causally connected with the policies emanating from, and firmly entrenched, in the nation’s capital.

As best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele explain in their latest book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, “What is happening to America’s middle class is not inevitable. It’s the direct result of government policy, and it can be changed by government action.”

The solution to this malaise should be relatively simple, and recognized by everyone from the chairman of the Federal Reserve to the AFL-CIO. In fact, the labor organization perhaps worded it most succinctly in a piece titled, “How do we fix the U.S. economy?” They declared the first step must be “to put America back to work because high unemployment keeps wages down. Our goal should be ‘full employment, meaning everybody who wants to work should be able to find a decent job.”

What’s stifling job growth is the expansive overreach of government regulation. Last July, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey showed 74% of small businesses are positioning themselves to slash hours, lay off workers, or both because of increase regulation, primarily because of the Affordable Care Act. Investors Business Daily has a running list of nearly 300 large companies that are reducing hours for employees to get below the 32 hour threshold mandated by the Act. And that’s all from just one piece of legislation.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published research two years ago that illuminates the role government has played in suppressing job growth. The committee reported, “Many regulations and legislation – both existing and proposed – exacerbate the uncertainty created by today’s volatile economic environment. Virtually every new regulation has an impact on recovery, competitiveness, and job creation.” The president’s own Economic Advisory Panel came to the same conclusion, and reported, “regulations are harming businesses and job creation.” This panel went on to suggest several measures that could be implemented in order to quell the expansion of such job-destroying regulation.

Periods of rising middle class income coincide directly to periods of economic expansion and growth. And not coincidently, those are also the periods when diminution of government regulatory control over the engines of the economy occurred, the most significant of which led to the declaration by then-president Bill Clinton, “The era of big government is over.”

The best way for people to increase their station in life is with a good job. Ronald Reagan once called jobs the “best welfare program.” And the best way for good jobs to be created is with a healthy economy that is vibrant, growing, adapting, and adjusting to global and domestic market vicissitudes. And the best way for that to be facilitated is to get government out of the way of trying to micromanage nearly every component of the economy. If the private sector didn’t have to work around overreaching regulation and interference, market efficiencies in the private sector could unleash the creation of jobs, market synergies, and economic growth.

The job situation will not improve appreciably until the cost of doing business starts dropping. Last year the Small Business Administration reported that regulation costs American business $1.75 trillion per year, and costs small businesses as much as $10,585 per employee. Just the costs of Obamacare, Financial Regulatory Reform, and new EPA regulations, are projected to increase that cost per employee as much as 30%, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

””In 2012, the President said, “This country doesn’t succeed when we only see the rich getting richer. We succeed when the middle class gets bigger. We grow our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out.” He was correct. But it’s time that our policies begin reflecting that stated priority.

The history of mankind is littered with fallen nations and governments that overreached by centralized planning, stagnated their economies, and collapsed under the massive weight of their inefficiencies. Hopefully Bartlett and Steele are correct, that the utter collapse of the middle class is not inevitable. But for it not to be, a reversal of our current trend is critical, and the sooner the better.
Succinctly stated, we have shrinking income, inflation in energy and food “skyrocketing,” as was predicted five years ago, a weaker dollar, a ballooning debt, and a national security-risking deficit. The costs of all these challenges are landing squarely on the back of the middle class. A strong middle class equals a strong America. We can’t have one without the other. And our current policies are killing both.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: The Good of the Whole Sacrificed for a Few

February 20th, 2014 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

With the stroke of a pen and an utterance from the president, Obamacare’s employer mandate has been postponed yet again, this time until 2016 for some businesses. Headlines across the nation from the mainstream media have praised the delay, declaring it advantageous and good for the nation. If it’s “good for the nation,” why don’t we just delay it indefinitely?

The problem with 2,400 pages of legislation is not what politicians promise the legislation will do, but what it does in reality, including the creation of nearly 40,000 pages of regulations affecting our health care. And the reality with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as we’re witnessing nearly daily in financial media, is devastating for the economy, the middle class, and our healthcare system itself.

The ACA (Obamacare) was sold to us on the basis that there were 40 million Americans without health insurance and that the Act would rectify the apparent inequity. That actually is the first broken promise of Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) admits that after 10 years of implementation, Obamacare “will still leave 31 million uninsured.” And we’ll have spent $1.93 trillion failing to achieve the primary objective of the Act! And that new dollar figure from the CBO is still likely an underestimate since they’ve revised the figure upward three times already.

The new requirements imposed on employer sponsored insurance (ESI) plans will make the costs increase significantly for employers. Many employers will discontinue their plans altogether, forcing employees to the state exchanges to buy their insurance for themselves.

Last June, McKinsey & Company released results of a study that found, “Overall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI in the years after 2014. Among employers with a high awareness of reform, this proportion increases to more than 50 percent, and upward of 60 percent will pursue some alternative to traditional ESI.” This contrasts sharply with CBO’s original estimates of 7% of employees losing their current ESI, and the president’s promise that none would.

Those who will be able to retain their current plan will see significant changes. According to the National Business Group on Health, 30% of all companies with ESIs are considering dropping coverage for retirees and over 50% are considering dropping spousal coverage. And it’s not just the private sector, as local governments are looking at the same solutions. The mayor of Chicago, Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is planning to drop 30,000 city retirees off of the city’s ESI and push them into the exchanges to buy their own. He projects a savings of $108 million per year.

Promoting the passage of his signature legislation, President Obama vowed, “that my plan will reduce the cost of health insurance by $2,500 for average families.” But according to Investor’s Business Daily, since Obamacare passed, the cost of an average family policy has already increased by $3,000, because of the new regulations and mandates imposed on providers and insurers.

All the new regulatory requirements are causing health insurance premiums to soar even more, especially for younger and healthier individuals. After all, the government subsidies will pay for the added expense of covering preexisting conditions, which was forced by the ACA. Holtz-Eakins’ American Action Forum analyzed insurance premiums in five major cities, and calculated that Obamacare mandates will cause premiums to increase additionally an average of 169%.

Confirming the fears of many who actually read the bill, Howard Dean, a doctor and former DNC Chairman, wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, “One major problem [with Obamacare] is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.” This obviously was what the president was referring to when he said “Give them a pill instead of the surgery.”

As of February 1, 3.3 million Americans have signed up. But how many of those are people like me who lost their insurance because of the new coverage mandates of the ACA? The White House estimated 41 million Americans would lose their coverage. And how many are losing their jobs because of the ACA? The Congressional Budget Office just updated their figure to over 2.5 million. How many are losing work hours and facing reduced income due to the Act? According to financial media, millions.

There are a few success stories that are shared anecdotally to make us “feel” better about the consequences — intended and unintended — of the ACA. But at what point do we say as a nation that the cost to the whole is too great for the benefit of the few? It’s time for government to start using cost-benefit analysis, for the ACA would dramatically fail all such tests. And when the damage is much greater than the benefits, it’s bad legislation, regardless of whose name is on it.

This brings us back to the original question. If delaying the full effect of the ACA is good for the nation, why not delay it indefinitely?

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

Richard Larsen: With a Pen He is Now a Dictator

February 20th, 2014 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The Constitution of the United States was drafted and ratified as the foundational legal codex of the country in part because it would prevent tyranny in America. It had a series of checks and balances between the three branches of government that were designed to disallow any one branch, or any one person, from amassing so much power that they could run the country, and us, as a tyrant. We are witnessing firsthand the unraveling of those assurances.

Over the past several weeks the President of the United States has declared that he has “a pen and a phone” and intends to use them to implement his agenda. He has made it clear that he deems this necessary since he has an uncooperative congress that, unlike his first two years in office, refuses to subserviently rubber stamp everything he wants.

It’s clear from the context of his statements that his intent is to use the power of the presidency to sign Executive Orders and use his phone to force his agenda on the nation. By so doing, he is blatantly circumventing the very precautions embedded in our founding legal codex that were designed to prevent despotic rule in our country.

This perception is one shared by Jonathan Turley, a nationally recognized constitutional law expert, professor at the George Washington University Law School, and a self-avowed liberal.

Turley appeared before the House Judiciary Committee two months ago, where Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte asked the following question. “Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of acts of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?”

Professor Turley responded, “The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in a single branch.”

At issue in the hearing was whether the president had the authority to unilaterally change the implementation dates of a lawfully passed Act of Congress, the Affordable Care Act. Turley’s response was an undiluted and unqualified, “No.”

This was not the first time the president has exercised unconstitutional powers of the presidency. Three years ago he declared his administration would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. Even though congress failed to pass his proposed Cap and Trade bill, he has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to actively enforce provisions of that bill that were never made law. He unilaterally proscribed expansion of offshore drilling without legislatively authorized power to do so. He has granted loans to other nations to drill for oil, without authorization from congress. He has, without congressional authority, implemented portions of the Dream Act, an illegal immigration bill, which never passed congress. He has ordered the Federal Communications Commission to adopt regulations giving the government control over the internet, and provide him with a “kill switch” to turn it off.

Just to clarify the role of the president, according to our own laws and Constitution. He is to “faithfully execute the laws.” He has no power to create laws or unilaterally change laws. That is the role of congress. Nor can he reverse legally passed laws. If he had those powers, we would no longer be a lawful nation committed to the rule of law, but would be an autocracy, ruled by the capricious and ideological whims of one man. This is precisely what Obama is doing according to Professor Turley.

We clearly have a president who doesn’t respect the Constitution enough to abide by it. He clearly has no respect for the rule of law since he feels it within his power to single-handedly create new code and force it on the nation.

Even the Executive Order (EO) has not the power to legally do what the president is doing. There are three things the EO can be used for: operational management of the executive branch, operational management of the federal agencies or officials, and implementing statutory or constitutional presidential responsibilities. Executive Orders cannot be used to either create new law, or to annul or reverse existing law. After all, his primary function, according to the Constitution and his oath of office, is to “faithfully execute the office” in enforcement and execution of the laws legally passed by the legislative branch.

We have a lawless president who is not doing what he’s required by law to do, and is exceeding his authority by assuming legislative power to create law. What more evidence do we need to impeach and remove from office, a president that is making himself an American dictator? And where is congress’ spine to reclaim their power that he has misappropriated from them?

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

David Ripley: U.S. House Votes to End Abortion Subsidies

February 3rd, 2014 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho’s two congressmen, Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, voted with the majority yesterday to end Obama’s secret subsidy of elective abortions under his health care scheme. HR 7 passed by a vote of 227 to 188. 187 Democrats and one Republican opposed the measure to strictly prohibit any taxpayer funding of elective abortions under ObamaCare.

The legislation is a post-hoc fix which became necessary when the Democratic majority in the Senate, along with President Obama, opposed amendments to ObamaCare which would strictly apply the Hyde Amendment to ObamaCare.

According to LifeNews, the Kaiser Foundation recently published a report estimating that over 6 million abortions will be paid for through Medicaid expansion and federal premium subsidies under ObamaCare.

This is in addition to the serious problem of “contraceptive” coverage already discussed by Idaho Chooses Life in a press release last week. Information came to light last fall confirming that Idaho’s Insurance Exchange is selling insurance plans which provide abortion-causing drugs like Ella and the “Morning After Pill”. As pointed out by several pro-Life organizations, this seems to violate Idaho law. Our news release has gone largely unnoticed by the state’s media, and we are unaware of any Idaho politician being forced to comment on the disturbing revelation.

The actions by Idaho’s Congressmen to end publicly-financed abortions will probably remain symbolic, however, since the legislation is expected to die a quiet death in the U.S. Senate.

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

Idaho Chooses Life Press Release: Pro-Life Community Calls on Insurance Exchange to Stop Funding Abortions

January 17th, 2014 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Contact:
• Julie Lynde: Executive Director Cornerstone Family Council Idaho (208)-954-3222
• Brandi Swindell Founder/CEO Stanton Health Care (208)-867-1307
• David Ripley, Executive Director, Idaho Chooses Life (208)-344-8709
• Jason Herring, President Right to Life of Idaho (208)- 869-3335
• Kerry Uhlenkott, Legislative Coordinator Right to Life Idaho (208)-983-7275

Pro-life leaders call for Governor Otter and the Idaho Legislature to ban the abortion drug ELLA from state health exchanges.

In an e-mail dated November 7, 2013, Governor Otter’s office confirmed to Idaho’s Pro-Life Community that chemical abortion is available through health insurance plans sold by Idaho’s state based health exchange. Idaho’s plans DO include coverage for the abortion inducing drug, ELLA.

Idahoans are now forced to comply with Obamacare’s HHS mandates issued by executive Kathleen Sebelius.

ELLA is chemically and functionally similar to Mifepristone (RU-486), the FDA approved abortion drug. They share identical modes of action. They share serious, substantial safety concerns for women’s health.
Early in 2013, the architects and proponents of Idaho’s state based exchange were aware that Idaho taxpayers would be forced to pay for this abortion inducing drug. Many even rejected a pro-life bill to protect Idahoan’s freedom of conscience and reclaim some state sovereignty in the state health exchange. This would have protected citizens from being coerced to foot the bill for the morally objectionable process of abortion.
We were told that the state exchange would give us a seat at HHS table. Ms. Sebellius apparently demands that Idaho be seen and not heard.

Women deserve to know that a prescription drug could cause an abortion. Women deserve to know that ELLA could cause serious complications for their health. Pharmacists have an ethical right to know that ELLA may cause an abortion. And they deserve to know that drugs like ELLA have serious, documented health risks; including blood transfusion and death.

Taxpayers have a right to be free from being coerced to pay for actions that violate their conscience.

Brandi Swindell, President and Founder of Stanton Healthcare a life-affirming medical clinic, states:

“It is extremely troubling that the citizens of Idaho will be forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs through the state’s health exchanges. Governor Otter’s office has confirmed that the drug ELLA will be included in the exchanges. ELLA is an abortifaciant, which destroys an innocent life. The citizens and especially the women of Idaho deserve better than having to violate their consciences, core beliefs and faith values by having to pay for abortion inducing drugs. We agree with the overwhelming majority of Americans that abortion is not health care and shouldn’t be included in any coverage.”

Julie Lynde, Executive Director of Cornerstone Family Council said:

“Offering ELLA in the state health exchange is contrary to Idaho’s stated commitment preferring live birth over abortion. It is contrary to who we are in Idaho. Forcing Idahoans to become financially complicit in something they find morally repugnant is despicable. ELLA is the chemical cousin of RU-486 & has serious safety risks for women. HHS is keeping Idaho women in the dark and endangering their health to promote the abortion industry’s radical agenda. Idaho leaders must stand up for Idaho citizens and stand against the HHS political ideology that is trampling the great state of Idaho.”

Kerry Uhlenkott, Legislative Coordinator Right to Life of Idaho said, “The emergency contraceptive, ELLA , is an abortifacient because it can prevent the implantation of a newly-conceived embryo. Even Dr. James Trussell, a member of Planned Parenthood’s national Medical committee and one of the leading authorities on emergency contraception, has said that doctors have a duty to inform women that emergency contraception could prevent a newly conceived embryo from implanting in the womb, causing an abortion. *

Since the emergency contraceptive, ELLA, has the potential for causing the death of a newly conceived human child, it is dead wrong for citizens in Idaho to be forced to violate their conscience by having to pay for this
abortion-inducing drug.”

David Ripley, Executive Director of Idaho Chooses Life said:

“The confirmation of Idaho’s insurance exchange being involved in funding abortion-causing drugs is very disturbing, and would seem to violate Idaho Law. This is why we pushed so hard last year for the Religious Liberty Amendment (to the state exchange) It’s impossible for Idaho to partner with ObamaCare without becoming enmeshed in President Obama’s agenda to expand both abortion and tax-funded support of the Abortion Industry.
The Legislature must revisit the question of protecting Idaho citizens. They have no business helping Obama trample our First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty.”

Jason Herring, Pastor and President of Right to Life Idaho said:

“The citizens of Idaho need to be aware of the fact that Ella is a potential abortifacient. By the FDA’s own admission Ella can disrupt a pregnancy after ovulation has occurred. If we hold that life begins at conception then
we must protect life at all stages of development.

At four weeks into the pregnancy a child is the size of a poppy seed. That’s incredibly small, and yet at one time we were all that size with a world of potential and possibilities awaiting us. If faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, then microscopic faith the size of a human cell is all it takes to respect life in its beginning.”

In response to this, we…the united pro-life community in Idaho…. call upon Governor Otter and the Idaho legislature to embrace quality health care, respect the taxpayers of Idaho, protect and respect the women of Idaho, and protect innocent human life by banning ELLA from all state health exchanges.

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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 »

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