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Press Release: Congressman Sali Helps Halt Anti-Gun, Anti-Private Property Outrage in BATF

May 16th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal agency has halted a controversial program giving agents engraved Leatherman tool kits reminding them to focus on the seizure of private property, after Congressman Bill Sali, (R-Idaho), raised objections.
Sali said he will pursue legislation to prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from restarting the marketing program.

The ATF had ordered Leatherman tool kits, engraved with the words “Always Think Forfeiture.” Sali learned of the issue after a constituent brought the purchase to his attention. ATF said the tools were to be used as part of its Asset Forfeiture Program, which provides training to federal, state and local law enforcement. But Sali said the “Always Think Forfeiture” motto engraved on agent tools sent the wrong message to law-abiding citizens.

“Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to private property. But ATF, through its engraved motto, sends a message that these rights are secondary to the government’s apparent goal to ‘always’ seek forfeit of private property. Of course, we all want our law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute criminals fully. But I have a problem with a federal agency sending a message, even an unintended one, that law abiding citizens will apparently ‘always’ be treated the same as criminals.” said Sali.

In an email to Sali’s office, the ATF said after hearing the Congressman’s objections, the agency had “halted the distribution” of “Always Think Forfeiture” engraved items.

The ATF email said, “As part of training for ATF special agents and state and local task force officers, ATF purchased a number of Leatherman tool kits engraved with the words ‘ATF – Asset Forfeiture’ and ‘Always Think Forfeiture’ for distribution to the participants. These training aids were designed to increase awareness of the asset forfeiture concept so that persons who do not regularly employ the strategy as part of a criminal investigation might be reminded to consider it. We regret that ATF’s training initiative created a misperception. However, be assured that ATF’s Asset Forfeiture Program complies with Federal law and Department of Justice guidelines. As a result of the concerns brought to ATF’s attention by your constituents, we have halted the distribution of the training aids at issue.”

Because ATF said the program complies with U.S. Department of Justice standards and federal law, Sali said he’s drafting legislation that would prevent ATF from launching similar marketing program.

Related post links here.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Property Rights, Second Amendment | No Comments »

Press Release: Congressman Bill Sali Earns Top Rating for Conservative Voting Record

May 13th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali has been recognized by the American Conservative Union as one of the U.S. House of Representative’s “Best and Brightest” for having received a 100 percent voting record with the group.
The American Conservative Union is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative lobbying organization. The group has rated every member of the House and Senate since 1971 and the ratings are widely regarded as the definitive conservative assessment of the federal legislative branch.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by yet another organization for standing up for Idahoans and their values,” said Sali. “I believe that votes for smaller government and lower taxes are the votes that will keep our country strong, prosperous and free.”
Sali also recently received the Taxpayers’ Friend Award from the National Taxpayers Union, Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the True Blue Award from Focus on the Family.
The 2007 ACU “Rating of Congress” is available online at

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Pope Understands Source of the Greatness of America

May 13th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

With the Pope’s visit last month we were treated not only to great wisdom and insights, but a civic lesson that too many Americans either never learned or have chosen to forget these days. The contrast of the Pope’s comments with frequently referenced ecclesiastical sermons from Chicago is stark, and speaks volumes of the character and values of both.

Speaking at the White House to the largest crowd ever assembled there, His Holiness set the tone for the rest of his comments by addressing President Bush, “I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country.”

Too many Americans fall into the secular trap of moral equivalence. They see all countries as essentially equal: countries have people, geography and boundaries, and they have their respective political challenges and characters on the political stage. Those are the commonalities, yet it is the principles and values upon which countries are founded that distinguish them from the others. And there is no other country founded on the uniquely individualistic precepts of the inherent greatness and divinity of man, who is endowed by his creator with certain inalienable rights.

The Holy See articulated this uniqueness, “From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

He then placed these principles which make America great and unique into historical context. “The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time, too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideas and aspirations.

“As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more human and free society. Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience — almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, and sacrifice for the common good.

“Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling and to hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.”

Insightfully, the Pope placed a challenge before all American Catholics. He expressed his desire that his visit would “strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.” I think that challenge can be equally applied to all of us, whether Catholic or not.

This vision of faith in America is far removed from the notion that we cling to our religion because we’re bitter and angry. Our nations’ religions are not crutches, but rather constitute the pillars of our nations’ strength and the fount of our nations’ values and soul. His articulation of America sounds like the true “audacity of hope,” not the hatred and bitterness spewed from the pulpit in Chicago.

These sentiments closely align with the observation of Keith Richburg, a black journalist with the Washington Post, who covered the wars in Africa for several years. He came to the conclusion that he was grateful that his ancestors came to this country as slaves, because it made it possible for him to be raised as an American and not an African. He recognized the greatness and goodness of America.

The Pope concluded his remarks, “My fervent prayer is that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America.” To which I can only add, “Amen.”

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

Guest Post: Club for Growth Gives Sali a Score of 98, Craig a 76, Crapo a 70 and Simpson a 47

May 9th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The Club for Growth each year conducts a comprehensive examination of every lawmaker’s voting record on economic matters and pro-growth policies.

In Idaho’s congressional delegation, Rep. Bill Sali received the “Defender of Economic Freedom” award from CFG for a voting record of 98 out of 100, and ranked 9th in the House of Representatives overall.

Said Club for Growth president Pat Toomey, of the six Senators and 49 Representatives who received the award for a score of 90 or more, “These top-scoring members of Congress are staunch defenders of American taxpayers. Their votes are critical to lowering taxes, cutting wasteful spending, and promoting economic growth for all Americans.

Sen. Larry Craig and Sen. Mike Crapo graded out in the 70s, with Craig’s 76 ranking him 22nd among all senators and Crapo’s score of 70 putting him in 26th place.

Rep. Mike Simpson brought up the rear, with a grade of just 47, placing him in 162nd place among members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The ratings are based on congressional votes on key economic issues, such as making the Bush tax cuts permanent, repealing the death tax, cutting government spending, entitlement reform, free trade, tort reform, replacing the current tax code, school choice and reforming government regulation.

The Club For Growth – Congressional Scorecard

The Club For Growth – Senate Scorecard

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

Guest Post: Michigan Court Ruling on Marriage Amendment Bad News for Moscow

May 8th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Michigan passed a marriage amendment in 2004 co-authored by our good friend Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan.

As Idaho’s 2006 marriage amendment does, it prohibits government recognition of homosexual relationships for the purpose of employment benefits.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the amendment does not allow for the extension of taxpayer-funded benefits to the unmarried “domestic partners” of state and municipal employers.

The Idaho Attorney General’s office has already concluded that the Moscow City Council’s recently enacted policy of granting health insurance benefits to “domestic partnerships” – widely heralded in the national gay press as a triumph for the homosexual agenda – is contrary to the Idaho constitution, and said that the city would lose if its policy were challenged in court.

The Moscow City Council defiantly reaffirmed its policy after the AG’s office issued its findings, essentially daring the Attorney General to take the city to court. If Attorney General Lawrence Wasden does not initiate legal action against Moscow, the city is likely to get away with this flagrant disregard for the constitution, and it will not be long before other state entities – the University of Idaho, Boise State University, the city of Boise – follow suit.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature | No Comments »

Guest Post: Supreme Court Contest Vital to Pro-Life Movement

May 8th, 2008 by Halli

From David Ripley, Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho has a contested race for the Supreme Court this month – but the lack of attention this very important race has received is more than surprising: It is actually part of the plan.

Many in Idaho’s “ruling class” prefer to be in charge of the Supreme Court, despite the fact that the Idaho Constitution provides us, the People, with sole authority for deciding who should sit on the state’s highest court. The last thing these elites want is a high-profile election contest in which candidates are fully scrutinized by the public.

Justice Joel Horton is the pseudo-incumbent in this race. He was appointed by Governor Otter after the duly-elected incumbent resigned early in order to manipulate the choices presented to the public at the May 27th Primary. A select panel chose Horton. The masses were left to wonder who this guy was – and whether he would prove a blessing or curse.

We can thank John Bradbury, his challenger, for at least forcing the issue, for getting some information out to voters.

Both candidates responded to the Gem State Voter Guide – organized by Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance and co-sponsored by this organization — and we can now offer you some idea as to who these people are.

The two candidates are separated by their identification with U.S. Supreme Court justices. Both were asked which current Justice “most reflects your judicial philosophy”. Incumbent Justice Joel Horton named Antonin Scalia.

The challenger, Lewiston Judge John Bradbury, identified (former) Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. No person in modern times has done more damage to families and preborn children than former justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has concocted more bizarre case law to defend legalized abortion than any member of the court. Presumably candidate Bradbury is well familiar with her activism and finds her elitist notions of the judiciary to be quite appealing.

This may not be much information, but it might be all we get.

The Board of Idaho Chooses Life has not made a formal endorsement in this race – but it seems clear that John Bradbury should be disqualified by Idaho voters in the May 27th Primary.

There are other interesting responses by these gentlemen that are worth your scrutiny: Gemstate Voter Guide

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

Press Release: Sali Votes for Domestic Oil Production, Energy Independence

May 8th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Congressman Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali voted today for lower gas prices by promoting domestic oil production and energy independence.

The vote occurred during a House Natural Resource Committee hearing in which Sali supported an amendment that would have promoted development of American crude oil and allowed drilling on about 2,000 acres of “Section 1002″ lands in Alaska. The area was originally set aside for energy development by President Carter. The lands are near, but separate from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“Americans are paying, on average, $3.62 a gallon at the pump, and by early summer, we’re going to be at $4.00 per gallon. The time for Congress to act is far past due. My vote today for increasing American production reflects a commitment to my constituents to lower the price of their gas,” said Sali.

The amendment to H.R. 3094 offered by Congressman Young (R-AK) failed in committee by a vote of 18-12.

“This is Economics 101. We have higher demand than our crude oil supply can meet. That is why crude oil prices are at record levels. To lower the price at the pump and to break our addiction to foreign energy, we must increase production of American crude oil, not stifle it. Today the Democrats chose to stifle it by voting to continue the ban on development of this American oil source,” said Sali.

“More than 2 years ago, Nancy Pelosi claimed, ‘Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices…’ Unfortunately, the Democrats have apparently chosen to keep their plan a secret. Gas will likely be $4.00 per gallon soon. Unfortunately the Democrats continue to vote against efforts to increase supplies and relieve the gas prices.”

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | No Comments »

Press Release: Sali Questions Homeland Security Chief Chertoff on Immigration Issues

May 8th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Congressman Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During today’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Congressman Bill Sali asked Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff key questions about the relationship between immigration and national security.

“Keeping Idaho and our country safe is one of my most fundamental concerns, and my dialog with Sec. Chertoff was about how our immigration policy is affecting the security of our nation,” Sali said. “Americans deserve the assurance that the travel documents used to enter our country are secure and have not been compromised. I wanted a firsthand, public report from our Homeland Security Secretary.”

Sali also questioned the Secretary on issues concerning illegal immigrants.

“There are concerns that the ‘Matricular Consular’ cards issued by the Mexican government could be used by illegal aliens within our borders to obtain benefits that should only be available to our citizens or legal residents,” said the Congressman. “This is unacceptable and an abuse of the generosity of taxpayers in the Gem State and throughout the country.”

Specifically, Sali asked Chertoff, “Do you have any security concerns specifically with the use of the Matricula Consular card, Passport card, and the Nexus, Sentri, and FAST card? If so, what specific security concerns do you have and what is the Department of Homeland Security doing to rectify your concerns with these travel identification cards?”

Chertoff responded today that he can’t vouch for the security of the Matricula Consular card but agreed to respond to Sali’s other questions in writing.

Sali raised these questions in light of recent news of a Mexican Consulate being located in Boise and the recent focus on the security of American travel documents. Sali recently introduced H.R. 5752, a bill to require that key components of American Passports and Passport cards be made and assembled within the United States. Cosponsors of the measure include former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and current Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Colin Peterson (D-MN).

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: A Clear Choice for Idaho Supreme Court

May 6th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

The Idaho constitution provides that the justices who sit on the Idaho Supreme Court are to be elected, not appointed.

A disturbing trend has developed in recent years in which sitting justices retire early so that their successors are selected by the Idaho Judicial Council (IJC) rather than the voters, thus circumventing the very constitution these justices have sworn to uphold.

The IJC interviews the applicants and forwards between two and four names to the governor, who appoints one from that short list. Noticeably absent from this cluster of decision-makers are the voters who are supposed to be entrusted with this choice.

Thus when a newly appointed justice stands for re-election, he does so as an incumbent, which is an enormous advantage at the ballot box. In general, the re-election rate of incumbents is extremely high; in Congress, for example, incumbents are re-elected well over 90% of the time.

In Idaho, elections for judicial offices are held in conjunction with the primary election, which means Idahoans will be voting for two seats on the Idaho Supreme Court on May 27 rather than in November.

Warren Jones and Joel Horton were both appointed last summer in place of early retirees Gerald Schroeder and Linda Copple Trout.

Jones is running unopposed for re-election, but Justice Horton has drawn an election challenge from John Bradbury.

Both Horton and Bradbury were kind enough to return the Gem State Voter Guide questionnaire, and we have posted their answers to the first section of the questionnaire, which pertains to the important issue of judicial philosophy.

(Technical problems have delayed posting the second section of the questionnaire, which deals with specific provisions in the state constitution. It will be posted once the technical problems have been resolved.)

Their answers on judicial philosophy are illuminating, and we urge you to forward this Daily Update to as many friends as possible for that reason. Voters often fly blind when voting for justices, but these candidates’ have shown a commendable willingness to let voters know the kind of approach they will bring to the bench if elected.

It turns out that voters will have a clear choice of judicial philosophy between Horton and Bradbury.

Both agree with the sentiments of Idaho’s founders, who were “grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.” The words in quotes are found verbatim in the very first sentence of Idaho’s state constitution, and it’s gratifying to see that both justices are willing to publicly acknowledge God and to recognize him as the source of the great gift of liberty that citizens of Idaho enjoy.

But on the critical issue of whether the state constitution is to be approached as a “living document” or whether a judge ought to bring a “strict constructionist” view to it, voters face distinct alternatives here. On a scale of 1-10, with “1″ being “living document” and “10″ being “strict constructionist,” Horton gives himself a “10,” while Bradbury circled both “5″ and “6,” putting himself right in the middle of that sliding scale.

We asked the candidates, on a scale of 1-5, to rate their agreement with the following statement: “A judge’s role is to interpret and apply the law, not make it.” Horton circled “1,” indicating the strongest possible agreement with a limited role for judges, while Bradbury circled “2,” giving himself some latitude to legislate from the bench.

These differences in philosophy were confirmed in their choice of a favorite U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Horton selected Antonin Scalia, who is renowned as an opponent of judicial activism and a proponent of strict construction, while Bradbury picked Sandra Day O’Connor, who developed a well-deserved reputation as a swing vote on the court, occasionally siding with the originalists on the Court and at other times with the “living document” and activist crowd.

(On the choice of a U.S. president who “best represents your political philosophy,” Bradbury chose Harry Truman while Horton declined to answer on the grounds that his role as a judge is an apolitical one.)

So the bottom line is that voters on May 27 will have a clear choice when it comes to this particular seat on the Idaho Supreme Court. If they vote for Justice Horton, they will be casting a vote for an originalist view of the constitution and a strict construction of its intent, with the role of a judge limited to applying the plain meaning of the constitution and the law.

If, on the other hand, they vote for Mr. Bradbury, they will be casting a vote for a view of the constitution that tends to see it as a “living document” whose meaning must change and adapt to changes in society, a view which gives more latitude to a justice to use the power of his position to rewrite legislation that he finds out of harmony with the times.

Gem State Voter Guide: Idaho Supreme Court – Horton v. Bradbury

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | No Comments »

Guest Post: Blame It on Global Warming

May 5th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Last week in celebrating Earth Day, I mentioned that many of the tenets of the environmental movement make sense. Recycling and conservation of nature are logical activities that we should all be engaged in. Moreover, reducing our dependence upon foreign sources of carbon-based fuels is consistent with our national security interests.
Since we have no viable option now available to supplant our dependence on oil, all we can hope to do is reduce our consumption, and do all we can to expand supply by accessing the resource everywhere it is feasibly possible. If we don’t, the amount we pay for gas every month may soon rival our mortgage as our largest monthly budgetary outlay.

Energy independence and finding alternative means to quench our thirst for energy to maintain our high standard of living is prudent. But to mistake such individual or collective prudence for “saving the planet” is a non sequitur. There is no scientific basis for equating riding bikes to saving the polar bears.

If “going green” were less a matter of politics and religious zeal and were based more fully on science and economics we could all collaborate more effectively. Instead, it seems to be more founded in a “feel good” mentality that makes people who drive hybrid cars think they are saving the planet, or that by banishing the incandescent light bulb people are staving off the destruction of the planet due to global warming.

Our energy challenges are actually exacerbated by those who sensationalize the issue of global warming. They are compounded by a nearly universal effort on the part of media to make an illogical connection between proper and wise use of natural resources, and saving the planet from the global warming threat. By making that connection, the discussion of wise use of such resources is corrupted, as well as solutions to real problems that we can address.

Climate change has always existed, and will always be here, whether we’re here or not, or whether we’re emitting 34 parts per million of CO2 into the atmosphere or not. But when the cadre of global warming alarmists claims the debate is closed, and threatens us with cataclysmic events if we don’t change our consumption habits, the issue passes from the realm of possibilities to the realm of the absurd. Those who claim we have to limit our “carbon footprint” to save the polar bears fall into the same illogic of absurdity. We exhale CO2 for heavens sake! If they are so worried about their carbon footprint they should make the ultimate commitment to save the earth and just stop exhaling.

As if the missing scientific proof wasn’t enough, the cacophony of media reports ascribing natural anomalies to global warming is enough to turn daily news reports into funny papers. I recently came upon a website that includes hundreds of links to media stories blaming everything under the sun to global warming. It’s as if the mainstream media has finally realized the George Bush is not going to be on the ballot in November, so they’ve decided to blame everything on natural global temperature fluctuation instead of him.

Following is an abbreviated list of such anomalies and natural conditions that have recently been blamed on global warming: acne, end of the American dream, amphibians breeding earlier, amphibians breeding later, anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, animals head for the hills, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, anxiety treatment, Atlantic ocean less salty, Atlantic ocean more salty, Atlantic ocean cooler, Atlantic ocean warmer, attack of killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, bananas growing larger, bananas growing smaller, beer shortage, better beer, bird distributions change, bird visitors drop, birds confused, blackbirds stop singing, blizzards, brains shrink, bridge collapse in Minneapolis, buildings collapse. The list goes on and on.

In short, it’s very hard to take seriously a movement that ascribes every anomaly, aberrant behavior, global crisis, and unique occurrence to one cause, namely, global warming. But even the name had to be changed since the earth has cooled over the past 10 years. Now they call it climate change, even though it’s all still blamed on global warming. Those who buy in don’t seem to care whether their explanations are logical or not, but it fits the narrative for a sense of self-importance to “save the planet.”

A reality based discussion of energy usage is critical in our time. To cloud this discussion with nonviable emotional and unscientific theories does nothing to lower the cost of gas or the cost to heat our homes. Our strategy for future energy usage must be based on economic realities of current available energy sources not on nonviable or hypothetical non-existent technology. A healthy dose of reality must be infused into the discussion if we’re going to make it through this together.

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