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Press Release: Sali Opposes Bill to Boost Spending for Congress, Legislative Offices

June 29th, 2007 by Halli

Rep. Bill Sali represents Idaho’s First Congressional District

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress voted to put its budget ahead of the family budget by approving a 4.1 percent increase in spending for the federal government’s legislative branch and authorizing a fourth office building for Congress. U.S. Rep. Bill Sali voted against the bill and supported an alternate measure that would have held legislative branch appropriations at the current level. Sali, a leader in the effort to bring fiscal restraint to federal spending, said the funding increase measure takes another $123 million from taxpayers who are working to pay for their own families’ needs.

“Gasoline prices are up. Food prices are up. College tuition is up. Every Idaho family has to live within its budget. The federal government must learn to live within its means. And there is no better place for Congress to start, than with itself.” said Sali. “Congress’ priorities are way out of wack, which explains why just 14 percent of Americans have confidence in the work that it is doing.”

H.R. 2771 passed 216-176.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Great News for Idaho Judiciary – Eismann New Chief Justice

June 29th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

In a piece of very good news for those of us who believe in judicial restraint, the rule of law, and originalist judges, Dan Eismann has been selected by his fellow justices to be the new Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.

Eismann has proven to be a judge who respects the original intent of the framers of the Idaho State Constitution and the legislative intent of laws passed by the state legislature, and will be a force for judicial responsibility on our state’s highest court.

The Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court also heads up the Idaho Judicial Council (IJC), the unelected committee that screens applicants for the high court when a justice retires before his term is up. Justice Eismann will assume leadership of the IJC on August 1, well before the IJC conducts interviews for Justice Trout’s replacement.

This raises the possibility that the interview process this time around may actually involve quizzing candidates regarding the judicial philosophy they would bring to the bench, a dynamic that was virtually absent in the interview process that led to Warren Jones appointment to replace retiring Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder.

Although Mr. Jones may make a fine justice, the public has no way of knowing that since we know next to nothing about whether he thinks of our state constitution as a living document whose interpretation must change along with changes in culture, or whether he regards its meaning as fixed and something to be followed as mariners navigate by the North Star.

Justice Eismann will be one of only two members of the Idaho Supreme Court to gain his position on the bench by being elected to it, as the constitution directs. The other three – 60% of the Supreme Court – will have initially reached the bench through appointment rather than election.

With Chief Justice Eismann in charge of the interview process this time around, we hope to know more about the kind of justice the next appointee will make.

The IVA is preparing a fresh edition of our “Citizen Information” questionnaire, and it will be sent to each applicant for Justice Trout’s position. The deadline for applications for her position is July 2.

Eismann to become next chief justice of Idaho Supreme Court | Idaho Statesman

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts | No Comments »

Cloture Vote Fails: Senator Craig Once Again on Wrong Side of Amnesty Bill

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer of Idaho Values Alliance

The amnesty bill failed miserably to receive the sixty votes necessary (it received just 46 votes) to move forward this morning in the U.S. Senate, and is effectively dead for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the most encouraging statement of the morning came from amnesty supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said that the bill would not come back in its current form. Public outcry was so strong against the bill that the Senate switchboard actually crashed.

Unfortunately, Idaho Senator Larry Craig was one of the senators who voted for the amnesty bill. His determination to support this bill in the face of such vocal opposition from his own constituents may be an indication that he does not plan to run for re-election in 2008.


IMMIGRATION BILL UNFAIR TO THOSE WHO HAVE PLAYED BY THE RULES

Although supporters insisted that the bill was not an amnesty bill, it still would have guaranteed legal residency to border violators who could have provided some evidence they were in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2007. The cost: a mere $1,000 for legal status that could have been renewed indefinitely.

I have some close friends who came to the U.S. on student visas, and would love to become U.S. citizens. They are exactly the kind of immigrants we should welcome to our shores: bright, intelligent, well-educated, talented, and in love with America. They would enrich our culture, and would be contributors to American life, not dependents.

They have played by immigration rules from day one, have spent thousands of their own dollars on immigration attorneys, and still have no assurance that they will be given permanent or renewable legal status. They would gladly pay $1,000 in return for guaranteed permanent legal residency. But they can’t.

In fact, because the husband inadvertently missed a filing deadline, he was essentially deported for a time. He was told that there was simply nothing that could be done to avert this, immigration law was clear, there was simply no give on this, he would have to leave the country and reapply to return. Fortunately, he was able to work this out, and was reunited with his wife and child here in the U.S.

But clearly there is something badly wrong with legislation that would have granted guaranteed residency privileges to millions of people who have deliberately disobeyed our laws, when people who have assiduously played by the rules are sent out of the country for inadvertent infractions.

Sadly, my friends realize that, under this now-defeated bill, their chances of gaining permanent legal residency in the U.S. would have been better if they could have found a way to suddenly become illegal immigrants. Something is bad wrong with that picture, and that reality alone is enough reason to be happy that this bill went down to defeat.

SEVERE IMMIGRATION BACKLOG ANOTHER REASON TO OPPOSE AMNESTY BILL

Gary Bauer reports that recent audits of the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicate that the SSA maintains lists of employers who report fraudulent information, but does not refer them to law enforcement for prosecution, raising questions about how seriously we should take any promises from amnesty supporters that any new immigration law would be supported by any meaningful enforcement.

For example, one Illinois employer filed almost 132,000 inaccurate and false W-2s with the IRS over a five-year period, complete with mismatched names and SSA numbers. But according to a 2004 Government Accounting Office report, the IRS has no information indicating that any employer has ever been assessed even a single prescribed $50 fine for filing bad W-2s. Further, it turns out that the federal government itself may be one of the biggest employers of illegal aliens.

According to immigration expert Michelle Malkin, the government already has a woeful backlog on processing immigration matters, including a backlog of over 600,000 fugitive deportee cases (these are illegals who have already been ordered deported for criminal violations of U.S. law, but whom federal law enforcement officials can’t find to deport), a backlog of over 100,000 FBI background checks for legal immigrant applicants, the disappearance of 110,000 citizenship applications, a backlog of 4 million immigration applications of all kinds, and an additional backlog of almost 330,000 FBI name checks on legal immigrants applying for naturalization and other benefits.

The FBI, with just 30 analysts, is falling even further behind as a new caseload of 1.5 million fresh names are submitted by immigration authorities every year.

As Ms. Malkin puts it, with regard to the “compassion” question, “Where (is the) compassion for the hundreds of thousands of legal immigrant applicants who are getting screwed – and who have paid far more in legal fees and processing fees than the measly, cosmetic ‘fine’ the shamnesty plan proposes for illegal aliens?”

She correctly observes that our first order of business, out of compassion and fairness for those who have played by the rules, would be to clear this horrendous backlog before we start trying to legalize 20 million people who have violated our borders.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, National Sovereignty | No Comments »

What Does Antifreeze in Chinese Toothpaste Have to Do with the North American Union, or Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)?

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

The flap over diethylene glycol (anti-freeze) in Chinese-made toothpaste only illustrates greater problems to come.

China insists that small amounts of the toxic substance in toothpaste poses no threat to humans, and therefore should cause no concern whatsoever in the US of other countries. Anti-freeze, a thick liquid, has been substituted in Chinese-made toothpaste for glycerin, a related but non-toxic ingredient used in the US manufacture of toothpaste and other products.

China has been singularly uninterested in the poisoning deaths of hundreds (possibly thousands) of American pets, due to tainted Chinese ingredients in pet food products. Now there is apparently no concern over possible human poisoning caused by another Chinese product. See a pattern here?

The Chinese government views dogs as a scourge to be eliminated, and frequently rounds up the canines (including pets) in their own country for slaughter. And the communist regime places little value on the lives of its own subjects, as demonstrated repeatedly by terrible human rights violations, including forced abortions and questionable organ transplant programs. Why should they care about the lives of Americans or their pets?

But this is old news. The issue all Americans should be concerned with is the possibility of similar incidents involving Mexican products (or even Canadian, for that matter) that will only be increasing with the progress of the North American Union, or Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the increase in trade it promises.

Mexico’s unsafe food supply is legendary for causing “traveler’s diarrhea” for tourists. Let’s ship more of it north of the border.

Mexican drugs are infamous for their lack of testing and quality control, with the US drug industry insisting they are unsafe. Let’s open up our markets to them.

With little or no government oversight, Mexican manufacturing (except for those facilities that are owned and operated by US firms) is certainly below US standards. Let’s increase the importation of products like toothpaste and other health and cosmetic items.

And beyond food and toothpaste, let’s examine more closely Mexico’s completely corrupt and inept government, from city and state, to federal. Let’s throw open our borders completely, embrace open corruption in public service, and integrate our constitutional government, with at least a few checks and balances still in place, with Mexico’s farcical system.

Toxic Chinese products should have opened our eyes to the magnitude of the hazards of trading with countries who simply don’t care about human life and health. Let these experiences warn us away from future foolish alliances and integration with other countries which can only lead to additional risk of death, illness, loss of constitutional rights and our very way of life.

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

Dutch Oven Jordan River Mud Cake

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

by Ryan and Kegan Stucki

1 chocolate cake mix

Start 24-26 briquettes. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions. Pour into foil-lined 12” Dutch oven. Set aside.

½ c cocoa
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar

Mix cocoa and sugars. Sprinkle over top of cake mix.

2 c hot water
2 t vanilla

Combine hot water and vanilla. Pour over top of sugar mixture. Replace Dutch oven lid, and bake with 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top, for about 40 minutes. When 5 minutes are remaining, sprinkle chocolate chips over top, and replace lid until melted. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream. And get out of the way for folks wanting seconds!

Posted in Dutch Oven, Recipes | No Comments »

Dutch Oven Pop-Up Pizza Casserole

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

2 lbs lean ground beef
6-8 c grated mozzarella cheese
30-oz spaghetti sauce
2 c milk
2 T vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 c flour
1/8 – ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

Start 30-35 briquettes. Preheat Dutch oven for 5 minutes. While hamburger is browning in the Dutch oven, mix topping in a small bowl by combining eggs, oil, milk, and flour until well-blended and smooth. After hamburger is browned, remove from oven and drain. Replace hamburger in oven and add spaghetti sauce. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Pour topping over all, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Put lid on Dutch oven, and bake with 12 briquettes on the bottom and 14-15 on top. Cook for 45-65 minutes. Check only after 45 minutes.

Posted in Dutch Oven, Recipes | No Comments »

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls/Sticky Buns

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

1 pkg brown sugar
3 rolls Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
chopped pecans
1 pt half and half

Place 1/2 – 1 c of brown sugar in the bottom of a 12″ Dutch oven. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the sugar. Open and place 2.5-3 rolls of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in a single layer over brown sugar and pecans. Rolls will fit snugly to edge of oven. Pour 1 pint half-and-half over all. Bake for 30-45 minutes with 10 briquettes on the bottom and 14 on the top. Rolls are done when they swell up and begin to brown. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to sticky-bun heaven!

Posted in Dutch Oven, Recipes | 4 Comments »

Guest Post: Illegal Alien Amnesty

June 27th, 2007 by Halli

By George Reimann, Idaho Falls

To my Congresspersons:

Just when I thought the Congress and its attached bureaucracies were maxed out on being out-of-touch with the nation I was proven wrong once again. As a nation we are prohibited from drilling for oil, unable to build refineries, incapable of constructing reactors, unwilling to guard our borders, and refuse to allow the best military on the planet to properly conduct a war. But when considering a bill to convert the U.S.A. into a third world nation the Senate is all efficiency and haste. The approval of Congress is down to 14 percent, leaving room for still further decline.

The current amnesty bill, mislabeled immigration reform, was conceived in the Council on Foreign Relations and then handed off to the “best and the brightest” for conversion, in secret, to a legislative monstrosity intended to be approved quickly by the Senate with minimum discussion and limited amendments. But this subterfuge was exposed by talk radio so “we have to deal with that problem,” either by applying the “Fairness Doctrine” or by modifying McCain-Feingold with some “legislative fix.” And then the blogs must be dealt with. The government must have the power to decide who has the right to free speech.

The proper remedy would be to kill off S. 1348 (now S. 1639) and drive a stake through its heart so it never re-emerges in any form. But this leaves the labor shortage and illegal alien situation unresolved. No problem. The Secure Borders First Act of 2007 is being drafted for introduction in the House. This is a better place to manage such matters since all Representatives must run for re-election every two years so their hearing is much better. Hopefully the King-Smith bill will accumulate many cosponsors.

In addition to improving border security, this bill proposes, among other things, to: (1) ban matricular consular cards that allows illegals to open bank accounts and get mortgages; (2) require employers to check the legal status of all workers; (3) enforce employer sanctions systematically, not just sporadically; (4) allow for a market-based number of temporary agricultural workers each year; (5) hold 25% of workers’ pay in escrow to be collected when they leave; (6) make alien street gang members inadmissible and deportable, (7) Three drunk driving convictions means deportation; and (8) English becomes the nation’s official language.

Something seems strange if the Congress feels the need to enact laws to require the executive the enforce previously-enacted laws.

I would hope that amendments are added to eliminate all the freebies that serve as a magnet to attract illegals. This should include some attention to the Constitution for a change, specifically the “subject to the jurisdiction” phrase of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment which has meaning of fundamental importance to the naturalization policy of this nation. The phrase meant full and complete jurisdiction. Therefore, any child born on U.S. soil to parents who were temporary visitors to this country and who, as a result of the foreign citizenship of the child’s parents, remained a citizen or subject of the parents’ home country was not entitled to claim birthright citizenship.

Also, as distasteful as it might be, the overall situation has now deteriorated to the point that counterfeit-proof driver’s license/ID cards have become necessary. “Your papers please.” These cards would be presented and passed through a card reader before an individual could vote for any candidate for Federal office. The Constitution reserves to the states the power to set voter qualifications in state and local elections, but the Constitution gives Congress the final authority to establish voter qualifications for federal elections and the Congress should assure by appropriate legislation the integrity of the election process without producing an unfunded mandate.

Atlas still shrugs.

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

Guest Post: Immigraton Policy and America’s Redemptive Purpose

June 27th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

As a firm believer in the Judeo-Christian tradition, I believe that God has a redemptive purpose for each nation. In other words, God in his providence assigns certain purposes to individual nations, purposes which assist him in his overall plan and purpose for the world.

(What I have to say in this portion of the update will not resonate with everyone, and is directed specifically to those who, as I do, embrace the Scripture and believe that it is the revelation of God to man.)

Israel is clearly one example of such a nation. Even a casual reading of the Old Testament indicates that God made the sons of Israel his chosen people in order to manifest himself to them and reveal to them his standards for living. This was in order that Israel in turn might share that knowledge with the nations of the world. The surrounding nations were to be drawn to Israel’s God as they observed how prosperous, peaceful, and secure a nation could be that reverenced him and obeyed his statutes.

According to the ancient prophets, other nations of the ancient world also served God’s purposes, in some cases even by coming against Israel militarily to discipline the wayward nation for turning its back on him.

I believe the United States similarly has a redemptive purpose, and while we may disagree in some particulars, most people of faith believe that part of that redemptive purpose involves being the “shining city on a hill” that the Puritans and Ronald Reagan spoke of so eloquently, a metaphor drawn directly from the teachings of Jesus and the vision he set before his followers.

America’s destiny is to offer to the world an example of what a nation can be when its public life is shaped by the spirit and ideals of Christianity, and whose values and standards for life are drawn from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Central to fulfilling that divine purpose is preserving a strong sense of national unity, so that we demonstrate to the world the harmony that is possible when the people of a nation share certain ideals, such as the grounding of individual liberty in the rights granted to us by our Creator, and the grounding of individual responsibilities in the truths revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai 3,500 years ago.

It naturally then will be the heart of such a people to welcome strangers to its shores, so that they may be drawn up into those values, embrace them, assimilate willingly into their newly adopted culture, and assist us in spreading that vision to the rest of the world. It should always be the heart of the American people to receive the distressed and those hungering for liberty and spiritual freedom.

But also central to fulfilling this redemptive purpose, in my judgment, is that such open-hearted welcome be carried out in an orderly and well-managed way, to ensure that our process of assimilating newcomers is effective in enabling them to adopt the values that made America their destination of choice in the first place.

If well-managed immigration leads to integration and assimilation, our integrity as a nation is preserved, and our ability to carry out God’s redemptive purpose for our nation is enhanced.

But if immigration policies allow newcomers to fundamentally alter the cultural values that have made America the envy of the world, and results in the Balkanization of American society instead of preserving its unity, not only will our children and grandchildren suffer as a result, we will lose our capacity to carry out the unique redemptive purpose God has assigned to our people.

It is my judgment that uncontrolled immigration is threatening our national unity, fundamentally altering the DNA of our culture, and dimming the light of our “city on a hill.”

Thus I believe that regaining a sure and secure control of our borders as the first order of business is sound public policy for many reasons. Uncontrolled immigration not only threatens our national security, our national identity, our public health and our national stability, it also interferes with our ability to carry out God’s redemptive purpose.

The U.S. Senate will vote tomorrow on whether to keep alive the current “comprehensive” immigration bill, which I believe is bad for America because it weakens the rule of law by rewarding illegal behavior (it is, in my judgment, an amnesty bill), provides no meaningful assurance that newcomers will assimilate into American life, and will allow newcomers to transform American values rather than being transformed by them.

Without passing any judgment on the motives of those who support the comprehensive immigration bill, I feel compelled to oppose it for a host of reasons, not the least of which is its negative impact on America’s God-given role on the world stage.

It is particularly important that our senators hear from their constituents today. Sen. Crapo voted against reviving this bill yesterday, while Sen. Craig voted to keep it alive. Both will have another and even more important vote to cast tomorrow, and there is still an outside possibility that Sen. Craig may be persuaded to change his mind and vote against this “amnesty” bill.

If you think this bill is poor public policy, for whatever reasons, please call and urge our senators to vote “No” on “comprehensive immigration” in tomorrow’s procedural vote. One thing we all agree on is that much is at stake here, and regardless of where you stand on this issue, your senators represent you and need to hear from you today.

You may reach Senators Craig and Crapo at 202-224-3121.

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

Guest Post: New Idaho Supreme Court Justice – Inclined to Circumvent the Constitution?

June 27th, 2007 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance

Warren Jones is the newly appointed Idaho Supreme Court justice, obtaining his position through an appointment process instead of through the direct election process spelled out by our state constitution.

Based on his interview with the Idaho Judicial Council, Jones seems inclined to repeat the pattern established by Justice Schroeder and Justice Trout, of circumventing the constitution by retiring early so that the choice of his successor is placed in the hands of an unelected committee rather than being in the hands of voters, where it belongs.

Jones was asked in his interview whether he preferred the appointment method or the direct election method of selecting judges. Jones said that the “best process is the appointment process,” because a direct election “opens up the process too much” to political dynamics. He said nothing about the constitutional directive that, politics or not, the selection of justices should be in the hands of the electorate.

This naturally raises questions about how strictly he will interpret the constitution. If he is able to cavalierly set aside the constitution when it comes to the election of judges, why would he not do the same with some other part of the constitution he happens to dislike?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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