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Press Release: Sali and Western Caucus Offer Comprehensive Energy Solution while Democrats Solution is Recess

June 27th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

The comprehensive “Americans for American Energy Act” (AAEA) was introduced today by U.S. Rep. Bill Sali and the other members of the House Western Caucus. The measure would open ANWR and the OCS to increase production of American crude oil and give the right incentives to boost conservation, improved efficiency and bring alternative energy online sooner.

“This measure offers real, practical, doable solutions, things that will translate into lower fuel prices and a higher standard of living for Idahoans,” Sali said. “Regrettably, the Democrats’ solution is to distract everyone with bills that just reiterate current law. Specifically, their bill to reign in speculators just gives powers to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that the Federal Trade Commission already has. Also, the Democrat’s fixation on ‘use it or lose it’ is merely rhetoric as this is already the law. Neither of the two bills considered on the floor today will increase the supply of American crude oil.

“This is standard Washington, D.C. operating procedure: Debate an existing policy, pound the podium indignantly, make accusations and then do nothing. Idahoans and all Americans deserve more, which is what the Americans for American Energy Act is all about,” said Sali.

Under the AAEA, revenue generated by increased domestic production will be used to fund the innovation and development of our next generation of energy technologies and sources. It would require that the federal revenues derived from new production of oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf, in ANWR and oil shale would fund efforts to boost conservation and efficiency. The monies would also be used to fund and incentivize the research and development of the clean, renewable energy technologies needed to address America’s current and future energy needs.

Sali also signed the Declaration of Energy Independence, which petitions Congress to declare our nation one that renounces allegiance to foreign oil and makes this commitment good through effective energy policies.

Additionally, during debate in the House of Representatives today, Sali related the story of one of his constituents as she works to pay for fuel.

“Mr. Speaker, this young lady who is a CNA last week took her husband’s bicycle and a few other items to a pawn shop to get $37 so she could put gas in her car to go to work at (a) nursing home to take care of my mother and my sister. This is having a horrendous impact on real live people. Mr. Speaker, it’s time for partisanship to be put aside and it’s time for Congress to get to the real answer which is increasing American production,” said Sali.

“The Majority announced today that we (will) head back to our districts for July 4th recess a day early. It is irresponsible that the Democrats are telling us to go home without offering our constituents real solutions to loosen the stranglehold gas prices have on their wallets,” the Congressman concluded.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Family Matters, National Sovereignty, Taxes | No Comments »

Press Release: Sali – Democrats Hamper Energy Development, Ignore Constitution

June 27th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican Members of the House Natural Resources Committee walked out during a hearing today to protest the Majority party’s efforts to lock-up and further restrict energy resources in America at a critical time while also undermining the form of government instituted by the Founding Fathers.

Congressman Sali, a Member of the Committee, released the following statement:

“Americans are paying, on average, $4.06 a gallon at the pump. Energy costs across the board continue to rise, whether fuel to drive, gas to heat homes or electricity. And yet today Democrats undermined our Constitutional form of government in an effort to lock up more American energy sources.

“By using an antiquated and unconstitutional statute, the Democrats tried to seize extraordinary power elevating a single committee above the rest of Congress including the full House, the Senate and the President. Our form of government contemplates checks and balances essential to the American system. I will not stand by the Chairman’s attempt to make law by a majority vote of a single committee in the House of Representatives.

“The Resolution today brought up by Chairman Rahall (D-WV) directs the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, to immediately withdraw, for three years, more than one million acres of federal land in Arizona. That land contains the highest-grade known uranium deposits in America, potentially holding upwards of 10 to 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves. The Democrat Majority seeks to legislatively withdraw these lands, by a vote, not of the House, Senate and signing by the president, but by the vote of 20 members of the House of Representatives,” said Sali.

This type of ‘legislative veto’ is clearly unconstitutional under the United States Supreme Court case, INS v. Chadha.

Sali continued, “Nuclear energy is already a source of clean power and holds great promise in meeting America’s energy needs for the future. Uranium can be mined safely, and can be turned into a clean and abundant source of energy. We need all the energy we can get from all the sources we can access, including nuclear power. We should not be locking up American energy resources especially using a process based solely on legislative fiat.”

This was not the only bill opposing American energy development moved by the Democrats today. The committee also moved Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) H.R. 415, which designates Wild and Scenic Rivers status for a section of the Taunton River that flows through the middle of a highly developed area with a road, stop lights, street signs and all, literally on its banks. The measure would block a desperately needed gas pipeline in the New England area, which has some of the nation’s highest energy costs.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Constitutional Issues, Idaho Falls Issues, National Sovereignty | No Comments »

Press Release: Sali Calls for Real Solutions to High Gas Prices

June 25th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Bill Sali today, again, insisted that Congress pass legislation to end the ban on American energy exploration and production, as a bill to impose new penalities on price gouging failed to collect enough votes to pass the House.

Sali voted against H.R. 6346, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act.

The bill would impose civil and criminal penalties for sales of fuel that are determined to be “price gouging” during any period in which the President of the United States has declared an “energy emergency.” Under this legislation, liability is based on the determination that fuels have been sold at “unconscionably excessive” prices and that a seller is taking “unfair advantage of the circumstances related to an energy emergency to increase prices unreasonably.”

“This so-called ‘anti-price gouging’ legislation throws a stick in the spokes of free-market competition,” Sali said, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Terms like ‘unconscionably excessive’ are so vague that no one can say what they mean today. That will force people into our courts to have them tell us what those words mean. Who wants that? This measure would ultimately mandate that certain private companies sell their products within a price-range that is acceptable to a handful of federal regulators during periods the President has declared an energy emergency. That’s not what Idahoans or Americans generally need or deserve.

“Today Idahoans are paying over $4 per gallon at the pump and yet the Majority insists on bringing legislation to the floor that will do nothing to ease the strain on our pocketbooks. Gas prices vary from region to region, state to state and even block to block, for a variety of reasons such as state and local tax variations, distance to the supply, supply disruptions and competition in local markets. Federally micromanaged interference in the free-market is not a realistic or effective way to lower the prices we are paying now.

“Instead of focusing on price controls, Congress must focus on the solution – increasing American supply. When supplies are increased, no one will be in a position to engage in price gouging. Increased American exploration and production of American crude oil and natural gas need to be a priority for Congress. I will be joining my colleagues in the Western Caucus in unveiling a comprehensive plan later this week that does just that,” concluded the Congressman.

H.R. 6346 needed a two-thirds vote to pass. It failed on a vote of 276-146.

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

Guest Post: Congressional Democrats Clueless on Oil Issue

June 24th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Mark Twain provided many invaluable insights into American life. Time has only validated the veracity of many of his truisms. In his inimitable way, Twain once declared, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress…But then I repeat myself.”

Many statements coming from the Democratic leadership in Congress this past week proved once again how correct Twain was. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barak Obama all parroted this week, “We can’t drill ourselves out of this problem,” referring to $135 per barrel oil prices. This was in response to President Bush and John McCain calling for expanded drilling on the outer continental shelf. Since when has increased supply not eased demand and pricing issues? We absolutely can drill ourselves out of this mess! Increased supply and reduced consumption are always solutions to market scarcities.

Crude oil production in the United States has declined 40 percent over the past 25 years even though demand has soared. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 75 billion barrels of oil have been precluded from drilling due to Congressional action over that period. That oil would be enough to replace all of our imported oil, excluding Canada and Mexico, for over 22 years. World oil demand is projected to increase by 40% over the next 22 years, and U.S. demand projected to increase by 28%, and yet Congress’ solution is to claim “we can’t drill our way out” and tax the oil companies more!

I find it unbelievable that Venezuela and China can drill 60 miles off the Florida coast but the U.S. cannot because of the power of the environmental lobby. Why is it that the Democratic Congress will not allow U.S. oil companies, empirically the most environmentally sensitive oil companies in the world, access to these areas but will allow Venezuela and China access, when they have the most abysmal records of environmental sensitivity? The argument against expanded drilling is obviously not based on environmental concerns.

Further evidence of the imbecility of Congressional Democrats on the oil issue was provided courtesy of Sen. Charles Schumer a few weeks ago. He said that even if we drilled in ANWAR it would only affect the pump price of gas by a penny. Yet when the President went to visit Saudi Arabia Schumer said if the President could convince them to increase output of 1 million barrels a day it should drop the price of gas by $.50. That is the same output potential from ANWAR, and yet he, and other obstructionists on Capital Hill continue to get away with such duplicity and idiocy. If we had started drilling there in the ‘90s when it first passed Congress, we would now have more control over our own oil production while working on viable alternative sources of energy.

Instead, what is their solution? Impose a “windfall profit tax” on the oil companies. What is that likely to do? Is that going to decrease oil and gas prices? Of course not! If they’re going to be taxed at a higher level, they have to pass on the cost of those increased taxes to their customers. Do none of these people understand economics?

And while we’re at it, let’s define what a “windfall profit” is. According to any legitimate financial dictionary, a windfall profit is “a sudden unexpected profit uncontrolled by the profiting party.” Oil companies, although they do not control the price of crude oil anymore than ethanol companies control the price of corn, they do have an impact on the pricing at the consumer level. Not only are the oil companies not engaged in “windfall profits,” but their profit margins lag behind most other industries represented by the S&P 500. And with the steady increase in oil demand and the finite availability of crude, current profit margins can hardly be classified as “sudden.”

In a free market system, supply and demand determine prices. However, in a commodity based industry like oil, commodity prices determine costs to the consumer. They are not “fixed” by oil companies, nor are they governed by OPEC. Gas prices we pay are driven by commodities traders who buy and sell contracts on crude oil based at least in part on perceived global supply and demand. These commodity prices determine the oil companies’ replacement cost for the gas currently being distributed.

If Congress authorized increased domestic drilling, even the short-term price of gasoline would likely improve because the futures prices are affected in large part by perceptions of supply and demand. With the anticipated increased domestic production, prices would start to drop.

It would appear that the Democrats in Congress are in a full-court press to make the country as miserable as possible to ensure a victory in November. And even if they win they will not change their position on domestic oil production since they’re so firmly in the back pocket of the environmental lobby. The no drill, no refining, no nuclear energy Democrats obviously want us to pay more for energy, more for government, more in taxes of all types. If they take control, our modest .6% growth rate for the first quarter of 08 will look like a roaring economy!

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Call Governor Otter to Urge Passage of “Jessica’s Law” in Idaho

June 23rd, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

According to the Associated Press, Bradley Stowell (below right), a 36-year-old man with a history of sexually abusing more than two dozen minors, has been released from prison and, according to Idaho’s Sex Offender Registry, is now living in Boise at 1703 S. Jackson St., near the intersection of Overland Road and Roosevelt Street, one block east of the Hillcrest Country Club.

He was convicted in 1998 of the molestation of two brothers, who were attending a Boy Scout camp in eastern Idaho where Stowell was serving as a camp counselor. Although according to state law he could have – and should have – been sent away for up to 25 years, he was out of prison soon enough to violate his probation in 2005 (for viewing pornography and hanging around with children) and be sent back to a prison for a 2-to-14 year stretch. But he served just three years of that sentence, and was released despite the recommendation of a hearing officer that he is still a risk and should remain behind bars.

Last December, Stowell’s hearing officer “strongly” recommended that Stowell be denied parole, and added these ominous words: “If Mr. Stowell is released into society, he will simply victimize more young and innocent children in Idaho. To protect the parents and children of Idaho, Mr. Stowell’s continued incarceration remains vital.”

As a side note, this tragic incident confirms that the Boy Scouts are absolutely right to “discriminate” against homosexuals who want to serve as Scout leaders. The rate of pedophilia among homosexuals is up to sixteen times as high as among heterosexuals (homosexuals comprise just 3% of the population but are responsible for between 34% and 40% of all instances of child sexual abuse), and the BSA has a right and a responsibility to protect the young boys under its care from predatory adults.

If the Democrat Party, Boise Mayor David Bieter, Republican Sen. Tim Corder, and the Idaho Human Rights Commission have their way next year, another effort will be made to provide special protections on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” putting the Boy Scouts directly in the crosshairs of radical homosexual activists. If such a law passes, the BSA in Idaho will be hauled into court for making any effort to protect the young boys in their care from homosexual predators like Bradley Stowell.

Bottom line: Stowell has already been released from prison twice in less than a decade for committing unspeakable crimes against children.

As the father of the two Scouts said, “Three years in prison does not compensate for 10 years of molestation and terror.”

Idaho still does not have a mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time sex crime against a child. “Jessica’s Law” statutes (named for Jessica Lunsford, right, raped and murdered at age nine) in many states now impose a minimum 25-year sentence on any adult who is convicted for the first time of violating the sexual innocence of a child.

And as Stowell’s case illustrates, perpetrators are rarely caught and convicted for their first offense. Stowell himself admits that he had victimized two dozen other children before finally being caught and convicted. Each pedophile who receives his first conviction has almost certainly left a trail of other victims, damaged for life psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, in his wake.

But Idaho lawmakers, beginning with the governor, resist passing a Jessica’s Law in Idaho for one reason and one reason alone: money. The administration estimates it would cost $279 million over the next 25 years to implement a Jessica’s Law here, primarily due to the need for more prison space.

But $279 million is only slightly more than the $240 million in increased funding the governor claims we need for just one year of road-building in the Gem State.

In other words, if just one year’s funding for roads is directed into the prison system, the Jessica’s Law funding issue will be largely resolved.

I remain convinced that most of Idaho’s moms and dads would gladly dodge potholes for an extra year to see their children protected from the likes of Bradley Stowell. And the parents of his next victims – and according to his hearing officer, there will be more – will be outraged that Idaho’s public officials cared more about pavement than kids.

Please call Governor Butch Otter today at (208) 334-2100 with a simple, courteous and firm message: “It’s time for Jessica’s Law in Idaho.” You may email him at governor@gov.idaho.gov.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Guest Post: Bannock County Assessor’s Office Ineptitude – Truly Time for Change

June 19th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

One of the side affects of a horrendously out-of-control county budget is the fact that the Assessor’s office has to generate the tax revenue to pay for it. With apparent questionable operations and the lack of ethical guidelines and competence previously characteristic of the Assessor’s office, the County has been able to generate the necessary property valuations to meet the budgetary demands of a 30% increase in the County budget this year.

This past week I’ve visited with dozens of individuals who have had dealings with the Assessor’s office, and the emerging picture is downright ugly. Having been run with competence and fairness for years under the leadership of Diane Bilyeu, it is now a veritable cess pool of cronyism, incompetent leadership, retribution against taxpayers, and unethical operations.

Since Jo Lynn Anderson took the helm at the Assessor’s office, the department has steadily declined in professionalism and competence. According to the State Tax Commission, the office is out of compliance with state guidelines, and it appears it will be so again this year. After two years of being out of compliance, the state can intervene to remedy the situation and the County can lose State revenue. That appears likely to occur.

Our current Assessor and her assistants, “the management,” have refused repeated offers to receive management training to improve operations. She came into the office with no management or assessment experience other than drawing maps for 35 years for the department. Consequently, the de facto managers of the office are her assistants. Jo Lynn also no longer attends Idaho Association of County Assessor’s meetings since they sometimes go into Executive Session where only Assessors can attend, and since Jo Lynn has no functioning knowledge of the appraisal business, she won’t attend those without her assistants.

Much of the problem seems to be the hostile work environment that the management has created. The professional appraisers who are or have been there have been coerced to perform unethical adjustments to assessments contrary to standards of the industry. The appraisers’ reluctance to make such adjustments created significant tension between them and management, and has resulted in the loss of all but two certified real property appraisers and one manufactured home appraiser, where there should be at least seven altogether. The Assessor has hired unqualified friends and political supporters who draw pay at the high end of their scale. The Assessor brags that the reason they receive such high compensation is because she brought in so much revenue for the County last year.

The Assessor’s office is required to abide by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) developed by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB). These standards mandate equitable and ethical appraisal of property values. Yet my research consistently turned up examples of excessive valuations next to properties virtually unaffected by reassessment, in spite of more improvements made to the neighboring properties. Also contrary to USPAP standards, if the Assessor’s office can’t gain access to a residential property, management has instructed department appraisers to value the property with a half-finished basement. When the reluctant appraisers were told to engage in these unethical practices, the issue was forced by telling them they have to do it “because I’m management.”

Commercial assessments are now being done by an appraiser not trained or experienced in commercial appraisal. This has created profound inequity in assessments in similar properties throughout the county, significantly higher than similar properties in neighboring cities.

When the rare successful appeal of an assessment rescinds the Assessor’s valuation, an attitude of retribution is assumed. Within earshot of many witnesses, a member of the management team told one taxpayer who was successful in his appeal, “We’ll get you next time you son-of-a-b****.” And to another, “You got me this time, but we’ll get even.” One of them, after a successful appeal by a residential taxpayer, inquired “How quickly can I go after (taxpayers’ name) again?” Management demanded a $20,000 higher assessment on a residential property declaring, “He’s a tax crybaby and he needs to learn a lesson.”

We all saw the headlines earlier this week of how the Assessor’s office is attempting to “tax-rape” ON Semiconductor. This is unacceptable, and all too characteristic of how the Assessor’s office now operates. If something isn’t done immediately to remedy the situation, Bannock County will be decimated. Retirees will be forced out of their homes, residents forced to relocate outside of the county, and businesses forced to close their doors because of the exorbitant tax rates. It would be disastrous if ON closed shop here because of property taxes. And we’re dreaming if we think new businesses will be willing to locate here when they get a whiff of what’s happening with property taxes.

I don’t think we can wait for two more years when the Assessor’s term ends. It’s time for a recall and time to clean up the Assessor’s Office!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Pocatello Issues, Taxes | No Comments »

Guest Post: Sad Day for Victim’s Family – Idaho Supreme Court Orders Re-sentencing for Cold-blooded Killer

June 19th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

After going through the anguish of the trial for the brutal murder of young Samantha Mayer, her family will now have to face the agony of going through another sentencing trial after the Idaho Supreme Court set aside his death sentence.

In the course of vacating the sentence, the Court kicked the Bible out of Idaho’s judicial system for good measure.

The murderer, Darrell Payne, was found guilty of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Mayer, a BSU coed, and has been on death row since 2002. In truth, he should have been executed six years ago, satisfying the demands of justice and allowing Samantha’s family to find closure and some measure of peace.

In the summer of 2000, Payne had previously sexually assaulted two 14-year-old girls in Barber Park and raped another Boise woman in her apartment before abducting and murdering Mayer while she was on her way to class early that fall.

The Court’s ruling recounts the brutal and heinous nature of his crime. According to the ruling, which you may read at the link following this column, the murderer forced his young victim into her own car at gunpoint and then raped her, “leaving bruises, cuts and scrapes on her face, back and buttocks.”

Then, after raping her, he shot her in the back of the head, tossed her body in the back seat of her car, drove her back to his home and dumped her body in a concrete drainage tank containing water and garbage, after putting a plastic bag over her head. When her body was found, she was found with her clothing leaving her body in a sexually exposed position.

He then went into his house, ate some left-over pizza, took the victim’s keys, purse and credit cards and took a drive to the Oregon coast. If there ever was a man who without question deserves to die, and deserved to die six years ago, Darrell Payne is it.

But, according to the Idaho Supreme Court, District Judge Thomas Neville impermissibly allowed victim impact statements from individuals other than Samantha’s immediate family, allowed them to express their opinions of Payne and the sentence he deserved, and quoted the Bible in support of the death penalty.

Samantha’s family members and friends, whose lives were utterly devastated by her inhumane murder, variously described Payne, according to the ruling, as “evil, a waste of aspirin, a sociopath, a cold-blooded killer, unremorseful, a predator, cold and calculating, not a man, not even human, selfish, a coward, a pathetic monster, a wimp and a man without a conscience.”

Anybody got a problem with that? If your daughter were kidnapped, raped, murdered and dumped in a concrete tank by a guy who then had a spot of lunch and used your daughter’s car and credit cards to take a jaunt to the coast, I believe you’d think – and be willing to say – much the same thing. And you would be convinced that your opinion regarding what should be done to the man who wantonly took the life of your daughter should count for something in our system of justice.

Well, the Court ruled that “none of these statements were admissible,” and set aside his death sentence on the grounds that such statements were impermissibly “inflammatory.” The Court added insult to injury by emphasizing in the text of their ruling that victim impact testimony took a full day, as if her family and friends did not even deserve eight hours of the court’s time to describe their loss.

Further, the Court ruled that friends of the family should not have been permitted to recount the impact of the crime on them, even though they were as ravaged by the crime as Samantha’s immediate family.

Two of the disallowed impact statements were from Samantha’s best friends, both of whom were in her wedding, and will experience this tragic loss for the rest of their lives.

And then to add frosting to this sorry cake, the Court unanimously ruled, even though every homicide statute in the United States is founded upon the Sixth Commandment, that the mention of any passages from the Bible that call for the death penalty for murder is likewise inadmissible since they represent “calls to religious authority as the basis for punishment.”

Samantha’s own father, in his victim impact statement, was the one who told the court, “Numbers 35:16 states, ‘If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.’”

He also quoted the words of Deuteronomy 22:25: “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.”

When a father cannot appeal to Scripture in asking for justice for his own murdered daughter our courts are on the verge of losing any pretext to moral authority they might have.

As Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has said, “Citations to the incorporation of this Commandment (‘You shall not murder’) from colonial times to the present are legion. Courts have been very candid in tracing the prohibition against murder back to the Sixth Commandment.”

Well, if such declarations are “inadmissible,” our system of justice has no proper foundation at all because the Founders based our entire system of government on a “call to religious authority,” the conviction that our civil rights – which include Samantha’s right to life – are gifts to us from our Creator.

If the Court were to be consistent on this matter, it would have to prevent any American citizen or attorney from so much as even referring to the Declaration of Independence in a court of law.

Forcing Samantha’s family to relive their pain in a second sentencing hearing strikes me as cruel and unusual all by itself. Where do they go for justice and fairness?
The victim’s father, Paul Blomberg, told the Idaho Statesman, “We want to move on with our lives, and we can’t do that until this is over.”
Justice and compassion are two sides of the same coin. When justice is done, when perpetrators are adequately punished for their crimes, it provides some expression of compassion and closure for those who loved the victim. Injustice, on the other hand, as we have here, is a gross form of hardheartedness toward the victim’s family and friends and shows no appreciation or regard for their pain and suffering.

Injustice instead inflicts a fresh cycle of agony and heartache on the victim’s family and shows an inexcusable preference for the so-called rights of callous killers.

It appears that the Court primarily cited previous court rulings rather than the law itself in its opinion. Perhaps it’s time to scrap bad precedent and go back to the law itself.

Whether or not the “law” and precedent dictated the outcome of the Court I will leave to those with more knowledge of technicalities and loopholes in code.

What I do know is that even if the “law” has been upheld, justice has not been done.

And since the only purpose of law is the implementation of justice, something is badly, badly wrong with this picture.

Idaho Supreme Court: Idaho v. Payne

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

Press Release: Sali – FDA Owes Women an Explanation for Ban on Hormone Replacement Therapy

June 19th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explain why it has distributed warning letters to pharmacists across the country, restricting the compounding and sale of a hormone replacement therapy used by women.

“Compounding” is the process in which pharmacists produce custom medicines for their customers.

Sali’s call for answers comes after his meeting with several Idaho pharmacists concerned by the FDA’s action. Sali met last week with Barry Feely, a pharmacist from Hayden who expressed concern with the implications for his Idaho customers who depend on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) drugs

“Barry and I agree that the FDA’s action seems arbitrary and could negatively impact the healthcare of women who depend on this treatment,” said Sali. “Local pharmacies have historically been able to provide an effective treatment for women who need hormone replacement therapy. The FDA owes these women an explanation for its decision. And if the agency can’t offer up a valid explanation, tied to consumer safety and tied to real data, it should reverse its decision immediately.”

“For a small pharmacy, we see a large number of patients who are choosing to use BHRT drugs to manage their symptoms. They are using this therapy successfully and with a high level of safety. This decision by the FDA takes away our patients’ access and choice of medications to use to meet their needs,” Feely said.

Sali and Feely say they are concerned that the FDA’s action could lead to bans on other medicine compounding currently practiced at pharmacies across the country. Compounding allows pharmacies to provide custom treatments for patients based on their individual needs, for example, for hospice patients, for whom drugs are not typically manufactured in bulk.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Sali said, “I am informed that the FDA is not aware of scientific evidence showing that BHRT drugs carry more or less risk than already approved alternatives. Information provided to my office on this issue suggests that the FDA warning letter was based specifically on considerations regarding the marketing of BHRT drugs and not based on health risks to the patient. Among other reasons, my constituents are concerned with this issue due to the difficulty associated with finding an effective treatment for their symptoms. Some of my constituents understand that the FDA’s decision has further restricted the options available to women seeking alternative forms of treatment.”

Sali asked the FDA to explain the process the FDA used to determine the limits on BHRT drugs that it imposed. Sali also asked whether the FDA is considering further limitations on BHRT drugs and for the agency’s position regarding the health and safety record of such drugs.

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

Press Release: Sali Introduces “Always Think Freedom” Legislation to Prevent Repeat of ATF Forfeiture Issue

June 12th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Bill Sali today introduced legislation addressing constituents concerns with the practices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“The Second Amendment is clear: ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Unfortunately, the ATF chose to use the troubling phrase ‘Always Think Forfeiture.’ This slogan creates the perception that the agency will not give our Constitutional rights the priority they deserve,” said Sali.

The ATF has had a program in which agents are given engraved Leatherman tool kits reminding them to focus on the seizure of private property.

H.R. 6253, The Always Think Freedom Act of 2008 will prevent the ATF from purchasing, using or distributing any hand tool or tool kits on which any reminder about “forfeiture” appears.

“Many Idahoans have told me they do not appreciate what they see as an anti-gun, anti-private property message from a federal agency. The ATF should always think freedom rather than forfeiture,” said Sali.

Original cosponsors of H.R. 6253 include: Rep. King(R-IA), Rep. Goode(R-VA), Rep. Davis(R-TN), Rep. Brown-Waite(R-FL), Rep. Walberg(R-MI).

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

Guest Post: Fresh Dawn for Idaho GOP – Semanko Jumps into Race for Chairman

June 10th, 2008 by Halli

FRESH DAWN FOR IDAHO GOP: SEMANKO JUMPS INTO RACE FOR CHAIRMAN

Former congressional candidate Norm Semanko sent a widely distributed email out last night indicating that he will allow his name to be placed in nomination for the chairmanship of the Idaho Republican Party at this weekend’s state convention in Sandpoint.

He has, correctly in my view, determined that current chairman Kirk Sullivan does not have the support necessary to be re-elected. Despite the frantic and occasionally heavy-handed tactics of the governor’s office and others to prop Sullivan up, his support among grassroots Republicans has evaporated.

The grassroots wants closed primaries, and have made that abundantly clear by repeated votes that should have been binding on Mr. Sullivan’s actions, but were not. Thumbing his nose at his own party faithful, Sullivan has obstructed every effort to close the primaries, including delaying obligatory legal action long enough to make sure no ruling could be issued until after this weekend’s GOP state convention.

He even had the audacity to declare in a televised interview on primary night that he remains unconvinced that a closed primary is a good idea, as if the decision was his to make, once again displaying an elitist disdain for the will of the people that has infuriated the party faithful.

GOP headliners have been planning all along to attempt to reverse the party rule on closed primaries at this year’s convention, and I expect that effort will now collapse with Semanko’s announcement. The party faithful have made it abundantly clear that they are insistent on closing party primaries, and I believe Semanko will honor their decision.

Sullivan has further angered social conservatives in the party by making efforts to remove God and pro-family planks from the state GOP platform.

Indications are that Sullivan will refuse to step aside, and a loss to Semanko at the state convention would be an embarrassing public defeat not only for him for the entire party establishment, which has expended its not inconsiderable resources in what is likely to prove an unsuccessful attempt to prop him up.

A Sullivan victory at the state convention – by best accounts an unlikely prospect – would be sure to fracture the party and tempt many disgruntled conservatives to disengage from the party altogether.

The smartest and wisest course of action would be for the governor to ask Sullivan to step down in the interest of party unity in the present and party effectiveness in the future.

Word on the street is that Semanko may receive some high profile endorsements today from leading conservatives in the party, which is likely to seal Sullivan’s defeat.

Should Rod Beck step aside in deference to Semanko, as he has indicated he will, the path will be clear for Semanko to be elected to the position of party chair, perhaps by acclamation, which would serve as the first step on the road to restoring party unity.

Semanko is an unapologetic fiscal and social conservative, is universally well-liked, and will make sure that everybody plays by the rules and is treated fairly and evenhandedly, whether they are party commanders or foot soldiers. This will ensure a level playing field for all and relieve the agitation among conservatives who watched as Sullivan blockaded the clear will of party regulars, refused to enforce party rules in order to help his favored candidates for office, and blocked others from full participation in the party process.

Semanko’s election to the post of party chairman will represent a clear and unambiguous victory for conservative principles in the party, and a major step toward returning Idaho’s GOP to its fundamental principles of fiscal and social conservatism.

There is still time for the Idaho GOP to avoid the catastrophe that has befallen the party at the national level, which has lost power and credibility because it has abandoned conservative principles of governance.

This convention may be the last and best chance for conservatives to regain leadership of the Republican Party in the Gem State and return it to its roots.

The possibility now exists that the Idaho GOP, from the top down, can once again become the advocate for smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal restraint and family values that Idaho citizens need and deserve.

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

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