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David Ripley: Historic Struggle for Life Continues

July 16th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In the wake of the most recent Supreme Court ruling, some in media have suggested that the political, social and legal fight for preborn is all but over. Of course, wishful thinking is not a measure of reality.

In recent days, it has become clear that the pro-Life community is more resolute than ever to end the tyranny of legalized abortion.

For example, just yesterday the House Appropriations Committee voted on a key funding bill for the State Department and foreign aid programs. In it, Republicans fought to defend pro-Life values by denying funds for the UN’s Population Control programs – so long as they continue to aid China in forcing women there to submit to abortions. In addition, Republicans included language which would codify the “Mexico City Policy” – long a battle ground with Planned Parenthood and their Democrat advocates. Started under President Reagan, the policy prohibits U.S. tax dollars from going to international organizations who perform abortions in foreign countries. (In other words, Planned Parenthood International).

Since Obama destroyed the Mexico City Policy upon taking office back in 2009, the House measure obviously sets up a confrontation with Senate Democrats and Obama later this year.

We also saw a meeting of the Platform Committee yesterday preparing for the Republican National Convention. Reports indicate that they are recommending to the convention the strongest pro-Life platform in history. The Platform will call for an end to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, as well as a ban on the use of aborted baby parts for medical research. Another section condemns the recent Supreme Court edict (Whole Woman’s Health) which prioritizes Planned Parenthood profits over the health and safety of women and girls.

The Republican platform stands in complete contrast to the upcoming Democrat statement on abortion, which apparently is becoming ever more radical. News reports indicate that Hillary will demand that taxpayers pay for all abortions if a woman or girl can’t pay the gangland slayers at Planned Parenthood.

Thus sets up an historic election. No genuine pro-Lifer can afford to be caught on the sidelines this fall.

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

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

July 9th, 2016 by Halli


by Richard Larsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 29th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton to Toast Planned Parenthood

June 11th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Democrat Hillary Clinton will pay an official visit to Planned Parenthood as one of her first political acts following her seizure of the presidential nomination. She will address the organization’s political action committee leadership in Washington, D.C.

She will thank the nation’s largest abortion chain for funding her presidential campaign, and plead for even greater help in beating Donald Trump this November.

Following her formal remarks, it is expected that Ms. Clinton will join Cecile Richards and other Planned Parenthood officials in hoisting a few champagne toasts to congratulate one another on the 30 or 40 million babies destroyed at Planned Parenthood facilities during their long and sordid partnership.

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

David Ripley: Common Core’s Social Agenda

June 6th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Socialization: A process by which the Left creates new standards of moral order.

Opponents of the common core agenda, which includes a nationalization of public education, have long feared that a major component of the elite’s agenda to “reform” education had nothing to do with developing basic intellectual skills. A good part of that concern is the result of the tremendous secrecy which surrounds the common core testing – to the point where parents and even teachers are prohibited from seeing questions. Such an approach to testing defies the logic of testing.

Yet here we are, in a land where private contractors working for bureaucrats in Washington are redefining “education” and “learning” without public oversight.

The worst fears were confirmed this last week when a student taking a biology exam sent a photo of the question home to his parents over his smartphone. The question was a blatant attempt to normalize abortion:

“John and his sister Brittany are high school students in a small town. Their mother Jill is 40 years old and has learned that she is pregnant with a child. Genetic testing has indicated that the child has Down’s Syndrome. Their family doctor has recommended that Jill have an abortion. John and Brittany’s mother and father have called the family together to discuss their options. Which of the following statements describes how the family should make this decision?”

The high school biology students were presented with four multiple choice answers – none of which included the option of choosing to give this preborn child life.

The student’s parents were outraged, of course, and contacted school officials. And they, of course, pled ignorance as to the content of the test questions.

It is important to note that this exam was not in Stockton or Newark. It took place in neighboring Utah – a well known bastion of conservative religious values.

Here is the original story from the Salt Lake Tribune:

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

Richard Larsen: Possible Drama for GOP Convention

April 8th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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David Ripley: 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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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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