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A Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for family – the one that gave me a moral education by example, the one I joined through marriage, and the one my wife and I have founded for ourselves.

I’m thankful for ancestors who took a courageous leap of faith bringing their families to a wilderness in search of freedom. I’m thankful they either brought with them the English and Celtic traditions of freedom or chose to assimilate into those traditions. I’m thankful they tried to keep what was good in the Southern, New England, and Midwestern societies they ultimately found wanting.

I’m thankful they chose the Treasure Valley as their new home.

I’m thankful for strangers who stop to help if your car breaks down or slides off the road, without asking for a dime. I counted nearly a dozen in the time it took to get my dad’s car out of the snow two weeks ago. One man gave over an hour of his time helping us after he just finished pulling his wife’s car out, despite the sizable amount of plowing he still had to do on his own property. I’m sure he ended up working long into that cold night.

I’m thankful for neighbors who take it upon themselves to clean up and care for the common areas neglected by government and large property management corporations.

I’m thankful for a church that jumps at every chance to serve its members’ needs, who “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

But I realize the people I live with have less and less to be thankful for each year.

Idahoans are allotted four out of the 535 members of the U.S Congress. Communities have no explicit representation in the governing body that makes the most important decisions we live under. The urban majorities dominate the decision-making process, regulating small family farms out of existence and giving large bribes to the most powerful corporate interests in “flyover country” to ensure the rest of us are kept poor, dependent, and underemployed.

The elites take to the media to inform us that our poor, backward way of life is caused by an insufficient dependency on government welfare – which in turn is caused by our refusal to accept that we ought to pay higher taxes to the government that wages war on our rural livelihoods.

Something tells me the elites have it all wrong. Discontent is growing, and with good reason. But I have yet to see it displace the larger gratitude for the blessings we still have.

Most of all, I’m thankful to live among such thankful people.

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TNP Podcast 8: Localism and Secession

Samuel Wonacott joins us today to offer some challenges to the ideas of political decentralization. What is the role of individual liberty? Are guarantees of limited government enough to ensure freedom in a large polity? When is secession justified? This is a discussion you’ll definitely profit from giving a listen.

We encourage you to give your opinion in the comments. You don’t know how it warms our hearts to get your feedback.

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Place and Politics: Idaho’s Spirit of Localism

Tim Woodward

Last year, former Idaho Statesman political writer Dan Popkey demonstrated his willingness to shill for a corrupt sheriff in more than one way. But despite aiding and abetting an illegal release of information for political purposes, Popkey continued to write for the Statesman until very recently. Thus, it was with my faith in the newspaper’s integrity and judgment severely damaged that I recently picked up a book by now-retired Statesman writer Tim Woodward. Like Popkey, Woodward has been formally recognized for his writing achievements; fortunately, that’s where the similarities end. Continue reading

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American Revolution or American Secession?

I have touched on this theme before, but it seems especially important on July 4th to remember that the American War for Independence was not a revolution at all. It did not seek to overthrow the British Crown, nor to refashion society altogether. Life in America was expected to go on as before, but under different, self-chosen leaders.

There is only one proper name for this kind of action – secession. Unpopular and foreign as the idea is to some, our Founding Fathers were first and foremost secessionists. Donald Livingston has even argued that secession is “a specifically American principle.” Obviously, there is nothing specifically American about the principle of revolution, and the most significant revolutions in recent history have turned into blood-soaked nightmares.

With the true meaning and significance of July 4th, 1776 in mind, I hope Idahoans understand that, should rule by Washington, D.C. become as intolerable as rule by the British, a peaceful act of secession would be the quintessentially American thing to do.

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Are Term Limits an Admission that Democracy is Flawed?

By Tate Fegley and Jackson B. Archer

To many people, the re-election of many US Senators and Congressmen is a mystery. How could it possibly be the case that, with approval ratings nearly in the single digits, incumbents maintain control over their seats the vast majority of the time? What’s going on here? Isn’t democracy supposed to make sure “the will of the people” is being done?

Grade school presentations of democracy lead us to believe that allowing the people to vote on what politicians are in office ensures that government is responsive to their needs. But with such low congressional approval ratings, it would appear that such a naïve view of democracy isn’t entirely accurate, at least not on such a large scale as the US nation-state. Perhaps what we have here is a “democracy failure” that needs to be corrected by intervention. Continue reading

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Inviting Fraud, Banishing Freedom

KTVB reporter Justin Corr

The most disappointing thing about Justin Corr’s piece at KTVB.com called “More drug dogs help Idaho cops battle traffickers” isn’t that its author expresses unwavering faith in the hopelessly failed “War on Drugs”; it’s that Corr misses a great opportunity to do some actual reporting and thereby potentially improve the Treasure Valley. Rather than question even a single claim made by government officials, Corr chose to act as a mouthpiece by simply parroting the conventional wisdom of current drug policy that has done very little to actually protect and improve our communities. Continue reading

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Federal Drug Policy, Local Consequences

by Chris Felt

On April 23rd, while Lindsey Rinehart was on camping trip with her husband and others, her two children were taken from their home by Boise City police officers and forced into foster care. This police action was preceded earlier in the day by a fifth grade boy consuming a “leafy green substance” and becoming ill. The boy happened to be a friend of Rinehart’s oldest son, Laustin. After the illness was reported, Laustin was taken to the principal’s office and questioned about where he had gotten the substance and if he was responsible for bringing it to school. Laustin was driven to tears and denied knowing anything about the substance. The police were called and were led to believe that the substance was marijuana. It was later in the evening when Rinehart’s home was raided and her children taken away. Because her children were separated from her, they were subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.

Marijuana was found by the police who believed it was “accessible” to the children and put them in “imminent danger”. This belief is what led to the children being removed from the home. The police found marijuana in Rinehart’s bedroom night stand and inside a refrigerator that Rinehart claims was locked. What is believed to have initially led the school to question Laustin and the police to raid Rinehart’s home was her prominence as a medical marijuana advocate.

The path that led Rinehart to activism began in 2007. That year, Rinehart was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks the spinal and nervous system and causes spasms of intense pain. For Rinehart, her episodes came in the form of a burning sensation felt all over her body. She told Ladybud.com that, “It feels like (I’m) being dragged across hot pavement in 90-degree heat by a semi truck (sic).” The pain was so debilitating that she would not move for fear of aggravating the symptoms. She refused to touch or be touched by anyone because that would cause the pain to be unbearable. Her husband and two children could not show their affection for her by embracing, hugging, or even holding her hand. Because of her intense pain, she was denied the comfort of her family.

Before Rinehart began using marijuana she was treated with pharmaceutical medication. Her monthly bill for the medicine reached between the amounts of $5,000 – $6,000. Besides the overwhelming financial burden, another disadvantage to taking prescribed pharmaceuticals was the amount she had to take. At one point, she was taking thirteen pills to manage the various symptoms of MS. After doing research on the internet, Rinehart decided to try marijuana to help her cope with the painful symptoms caused by MS. After using marijuana, she did not experience as many spasms and only needed to take four pills instead of thirteen. Also from her inquiries, she found that marijuana may slow the progression of the disease.

Shortly after she started using it, Rinehart quickly became a prominent activist for the legalization of medical marijuana. She held drives for signatures that would put legal medical marijuana on the ballot in Idaho. She also became the director of Compassionate Idaho (a medical marijuana lobbyist group) and a member of Moms for Marijuana.

Rinehart and her children are some of the most recent victims of the Federal War on Drugs. It is a war that has taken away the right of states to decide what their drug policy should be. It is also a war that has proven to be unnecessary, ineffectual, and very harmful to vulnerable segments of the public. The Federal War on Drugs stifles free speech, hampers research into alternative medical practices, punishes those who are harming no one, and gives those in the federal government greater scope for coercion and control. If marijuana had the same legal standing as prescription drugs, then Rinehart would not have had to endure the hardships imposed on her. She could have spoken freely about the benefits of marijuana without having the school authorities and police taking her children from her.

If medical marijuana was legal, Rinehart and many others could freely choose how to treat their ailments instead of being forcibly medicated by the government sanctioned pharmaceutical monopoly. It is unfortunate that the people in Idaho don’t live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Instead they live in state where a mother can be tormented for using a substance that eases her pain enough to allow her to embrace her children.

After three weeks of traversing the obstacles of the legal system, Rinehart was able to reunite with her children. However, it is unclear whether or not she will be criminally charged. Rinehart has since moved to Oregon where she is free to use medical marijuana. She is still dedicated to making medical marijuana legal in Idaho where she has, until recently, lived her whole life.

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