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Press Release: Sali – Recess is not the Answer to Crippling Energy Costs

July 31st, 2008 by Halli

From the office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite unbearable prices at the pump and Congress’ failure to pass meaningful legislation to bring relief to Americans, Democrat House Leadership today passed a resolution to adjourn for five weeks of recess. Sali voted against the resolution, which passed 213-212.

Congressman Sali issued the following statement:

“It is deplorable that we are leaving Americans hanging like this. Now is not the time for Congress to take a 5-week vacation,” said Sali.

“Rather than voting on adjournment, Congress should be debating long term efforts to increase production of American energy, including drilling in ANWR and offshore. We should be voting to remove restrictions on the development of oil shale; increase the number of nuclear power facilities; advance hydro- and wind-power; and incentivize new technologies, such as hydrogen and electric automobiles.

“But families also need relief while we develop American resources. That is why I recently introduced legislation to do exactly that. The Family Energy Relief Act (FERA) of 2008 will provide Americans with a tax credit of $1,000 for couples, $500 for individuals and $250 per dependent to help offset the price they are paying at the pump,” concluded Sali.

While voting against the Democrat’s adjournment resolution, Congressman Sali signed two petitions that, if they garner enough signatures, would force a vote on legislation to boost American energy exploration and production. H.R. 6107 would reduce the price of gasoline by opening the Arctic Energy Slope to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration. H.R. 6108 would reduce the price of gasoline by enabling the United States to responsibly explore its own deep water resources to produce American energy.

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

Press Release: Sali Introduces Tax Credit to Help Families with Rising Gas & Energy Costs

July 30th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali has introduced a bill that would provide real, tangible – and timely – help to the tens of millions of Americans hit hard by skyrocketing energy prices.

The Family Energy Relief Act (FERA) of 2008 will provide American taxpayers with a tax credit of $1,000 for couples, $500 for individuals and $250 per dependent. The measure already has garnered significant support.

“For ordinary families, trips to the gas station have become a financial hardship. I am hearing from Idahoans more and more that they can’t afford to buy gas to get to work, pay their mortgages or visit sick relatives. Farmers are being squeezed by increased fuel, feed and fertilizer costs. Truckers are paying nearly $5 a gallon for diesel. It is killing their industry and increasing the cost of everything we buy,” said Sali. “This is a national emergency. Congress must act to provide some kind of relief to the millions of Americans hit hard by skyrocketing fuel prices.

“Our country needs all of the energy we can get our hands on from every source possible. We need more American energy exploration and production, in ANWR and offshore, in oil sands and oil shale; new nuclear power facilities; more hydro- and wind-power; and the development of new technologies, such as hydrogen and electric automobiles. But American families can’t afford the wait. They need relief now from these crushing gas and diesel prices. My plan provides simple, clear and timely assistance for today’s high fuel prices. Idaho families would see this help in just a few months.

“I sincerely hope Speaker Pelosi recognizes the toll this is taking on our constituents. She should change her mind and allow Congress to vote on drilling in ANWR and offshore. But, that will not be enough. Americans need help now, so I hope she will also bring this commonsense legislation to the floor to give Americans the short-term relief they need,” concluded Sali.

Sali has been joined by 22 original cosponsors, including senior House Republican leaders: Roy Blunt, (R-MO), David Davis (R-TN), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Dave Weldon (R-FL), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), John Doolittle (R-CA), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Jack Kingston (R- GA), John Duncan (R-TN), Harold Rogers (R-KY), John Shimkus (R-IL), Thelma Drake (R-VA), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), Tom Cole (R-OK), Steve Scalise (R-LA).

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

Guest Post: Lesson from Socialist Europe – Time for School Choice

July 29th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Idaho has what is called a Blaine Amendment, a sad remnant of anti-Catholic bias that made its way into the state constitution.

It was a virtual condition of Idaho statehood, and a relic of a time when most public schools were Protestant in orientation and bigoted lawmakers wanted to make sure public monies stayed with Protestant schools and didn’t get siphoned off into parochial schools.

The rest of the world is beginning to move beyond this antiquated form of prejudice, and it will soon be time for Idaho to catch up.

In socialist Sweden, for example, where taxpayers fund cradle-to-grave welfare, genuine school choice was introduced into the educational system in 1992 and has proven so popular and effective that nations around the world are taking notice.

In 1992, for simple economic reasons, just 1.7 percent of high schoolers and 1 percent of elementary students attended private school.

But since, with reforms directing that education money should follow the student to the school of the parents’ choice, 17 percent of secondary students now attend private schools.

Said the enlightened head of the Ministry of Education, “I think most people, parents and children, appreciate the choice. You can decide what school you want to attend and that appeals to people.”

Sweden’s “independent schools” remain taxpayer financed, and are not allowed to charge tuition, which invites private enterprise into education to run cost-effective schools and turn a profit at the same time.

Social Democrats fleetingly considered canning the program when they resumed power in 1994, but found it so popular after just two years that they just tinkered around the edges.

In one privately-run chain of schools, children of different ages share classrooms and use curricula designed for their individual needs and aptitudes.

An education expert at the Cato Institute calls the Swedish program, while far from perfect, a “beacon,” and says that “since it’s the best thing in the rich world, it’s definitely worth watching.”

The notion has already spread to Britain, where the Conservative party is working on a similar program if they regain political power.

Voucher programs for low-income students now exist in a few places in the U.S., such as Washington, D.C. (where Democrats are working overtime to kill it dead) and in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Swedish officials observe that, far from draining funds from public education, the competition from independent schools has forced public schools to offer a better education product, raising their own academic standards and improving efficiency.

And because parents now have realistic options other than traditional public schools, they have much more influence in public schools, which now must give parents reasons to choose them instead of the alternatives.
Remarkably, even the Swedish Teachers’ Union now doesn’t “have an opinion about which owner (i.e., the state or private enterprise) is better.”
A poll conducted by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and co-sponsored by the Idaho Values Alliance found that a shockingly low 12% of Idaho taxpayers would choose a “Regular Public School” over alternatives such as private schools (39%), charter schools (25%) or homeschooling (21%).

It’s clearly time for Idaho and the rest of the United States to move from the Dark Ages of monopolistic public education into the sunlit lands of parental choice.

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

Guest Post: The Myth of “Tax Cuts for the Wealthy”

July 29th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Some Americans casually throw around words and phrases that have become clichéd, even though they are not factual. One that was immensely popular four years ago was “tax cuts for the wealthy.” Since that phrase is coming back into vogue with the current crop of presidential candidates, it might be a good time to review the data to ascertain how apropos the phrase is.

You’ll recall, the phrase gained prominence with President Bush who in 2001 and 2003, proposed, and Congress ratified, two series of tax cuts. The 2001 version reduced the income tax rates for all tax-payers, while the 2003 version cut the tax rates paid on dividend income and capital gains.

When the net benefits of both series of tax cuts are run against the actual tax collection data from the IRS, the results in absolute as well as relative terms are staggering. Dividing taxpayers into five brackets, those who benefited most were the lowest income, under $25,000 (a tax cut of 17.6%) per year, and those making about $60,000 per year (12.6%) according to IRS data. When the benefits of the second round of tax cuts are factored in, those in the $60,000 per year income level realized a total Federal tax savings of 24 percent. Those who make over $350,000 received a tax cut of 12.5%, while those who make over $1 million got about a 6% reduction. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the average Idaho household saw their Federal taxes drop by $1,811 per year.

The Wall Street Journal last week pointed out that the Bush tax cuts, in effect, triggered what may be the biggest increase in tax payments by the rich in American History. The top 1% of taxpayers, who earn $388,806 and higher, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest percentage in at least 40 years. Taxpayers in the top 10% in income, those earning over $108,904, paid 71% of the total income taxes collected in 2006, again, the highest in at least 40 years.

When we look at the lowest income taxpayers, the figures are amazing. Those below median income levels paid a record low of 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1% of the income taxes collected for 2006.

What this illustrates is the fact that our Bush tax brackets, due to begin expiring in two years, is very progressive. The cries for the “rich” to pay their fair share are hollow whines bred of class envy and socialistic efforts to separate the financially successful from their earnings in the name of redistribution of wealth. As the figures from the IRS and the Wall Street Journal prove, the wealthy are paying more of their fair share than they’re given credit for.

Even with the tax cuts, the Treasury department receipts have run higher every year since they were implemented, and each year sets a new tax receipt record. As the Wall Street Journal points out, “This is precisely what supply-siders predicted would happen with lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends and income. The economy and earnings would grow faster, which they did; investors would declare more capital gains and companies would pay out more dividends, which they did; the rich would invest less in tax shelters at lower tax rates, so their tax payments would rise, which did happen. The idea that this has been a giveaway to the rich is a figment of the left’s imagination. Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006 from $136 billion in 2003. No President has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his tax cuts. These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9% of GDP in 2006 from 3.5% in 2003.”

If you want a surefire shot in the foot of the economy, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. That will take more capital out of the economy, reduce velocity in a slowing economic environment, and assure that we not only drop into a recession (we still don’t have a recession since it’s defined as two quarters of negative GDP growth) but that ensures that the recession is deep and prolonged.

John McCain may claim to not have the economic acumen he should, but he correctly calls for making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent. Otherwise, tax rates will rise substantially in each tax bracket, some by 450 basis points; low-income taxpayers will see the 10-percent tax bracket disappear, and they will have to pay taxes at the 15-percent rate; married taxpayers will see the marriage penalty return; taxpayers with children will lose 50 percent of their child tax credits; taxes on dividends will increase beginning on January 1, 2009; taxes on capital gains will increase, also beginning on January 1, 2009; and Federal death taxes will come back to life in 2011, after fading down to nothing in 2010.

Not only should the tax reductions be made permanent, but any politician who says they should not be or calls for more taxes, should be relegated to the heap of discarded presidential wannabes represented by George Bush Sr., John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis. After all, don’t you think you can use that extra $1,800 more advantageously than your government?

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Press Release: Sali Receives Club for Growth Award

July 25th, 2008 by Halli

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Bill Sali has won the Club for Growth “Defender of Economic Freedom” award.

The Club for Growth examined each lawmaker’s voting record on 37 roll call votes.

“With his score of 98 percent, Congressman Sali is a champion of the pro-growth agenda,” said Club for Growth president Pat Toomey. “As one of 55 congressional members to earn this award, Congressman Sali demonstrates a strong commitment to economic freedom and free-market principles.”

This rating examines legislative actions which include: making the Bush tax cuts permanent, repealing the death tax, reducing and limiting government spending, and expanding free trade.

“I’m honored to be recognized by a group committed to a strong economy for Idaho and America,” Sali said. “I will continue to work for the principles of economic freedom for which the Club for Growth stands. Making tax cuts permanent and limiting government spending is vital for the future of our country and the well-being of America’s families and businesses,” said Sali.

The Club for Growth Club is a national network of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom.

This Congress Sali also received the Taxpayers’ Friend Award from the National Taxpayers Union, Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the True Blue Award from Focus on the Family, Hero of the Taxpayer from Americans for Tax Reform, Guardian of Seniors’ Rights award and the “Benjamin Franklin Award from the 60 Plus Association, Friend of the Shareholder” from the American Shareholders Association, and Guardian of Worker Freedom from the Alliance for Worker Freedom.

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

Press Release: Sali Asks Idahoans to Mail Gas Receipts for Speaker Pelosi

July 25th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

POST FALLS, Idaho – Congressman Bill Sali today urged Idahoans to send their fuel receipts to his offices so that he can forward them to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sali said he wants to illustrate for Speaker Pelosi the hardship that high gas prices are having everyday in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District.

Sali made the announcement at a Post Falls, Idaho, truck stop, where he emphasized the need to boost American energy exploration and production.

“The fact remains we need to get our hands on every drop of energy we can from every source possible. While conservation is important and alternative energy is necessary, there’s no such thing as a hybrid or electric semi. Every one of these trucks out here today will continue to need affordable diesel.

“We keep talking about $4 a gallon gas. Well, these truckers here are paying $5 a gallon for diesel, and that is impacting the cost of everything and killing the trucking industry.

“Recently, I asked Idahoans to write me and tell me how high gas prices are affecting them. I heard from literally thousands of Idahoans, nearly all urging Congress to lift the ban on American energy exploration and drilling. The comments were extremely poignant.

A Post Falls trucking company owner named Robert wrote, ‘high fuel prices are breaking me and this whole industry. After being on the road away from my home for 5 to 6 weeks at a time and busting my butt trying to stay afloat, I really don’t have to worry about gas prices because I don’t have enough money left when I get home to buy gas for my car.’

“Jodi from Middleton wrote to tell me that it’s getting difficult to go anywhere, and being summer, she has to tell her kids that gas is too high to go to the park or the library. Jodi also told me that he’s paying $165 a week for groceries that used to cost $100 a week. Jodi said, ‘if gas goes any higher, we will lose our home.’

“Mariya from Boise wrote plainly, ‘the government is stifling the nation’s economy.’

“Well, Robert and Jodi and Mariya and all the others who have been writing my office asking Congress to do something are right. And yet Congress is not acting. Speaker Pelosi is refusing to take up legislation that increases American energy production. The legislation Congress has taken up so far is pure gimmickry, smoke and mirrors and political baloney.

“Maybe if Speaker Pelosi hears directly from Idahoans, and sees just how much it is costing the families and businesses of our state, she’ll be more inclined to act. So I’m asking Idahoans today to engage on this issue in a way they never have. Save those gas receipts. Send them to my office, and I’ll make sure Speaker Pelosi gets them,” said Sali.

Idahoans who want their gas receipts forwarded to Speaker Pelosi can send them to:

Boise Office
802 W Bannock, Ste 101
Boise, Idaho 83702

Caldwell Office
704 Blaine St, Ste 1
Caldwell, Idaho 83605

Coeur d’ Alene Office
610 W Hubbard, Ste 206
Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho 83814

Lewiston Office
313 D Street, Ste 104
Lewiston, Idaho 83501

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Press Release: Gun Owners of America Applauds Rep. Sali’s Effort Against Gun Ban

July 24th, 2008 by Halli

From Gun Owners of America

(Springfield, VA) – Gun Owners of America applauds Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID) for his efforts to protect Second Amendment rights on National Park Service land.

Rep. Sali offered and amendment during a hearing of the National Resources Committee on H.R. 5853, a bill to expand the boundary of the Minute Man National Historical Park in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to include Barrett’s Farm.

Minutemen stashed arms and ammunition at Colonel James Barrett’s farm and turned back, and then used them to turn back Redcoat troops in the first victory for America in the Revolutionary War. It turns out our own National Park Service is also against firearms at the site.
Carrying firearms on land controlled by the NPS is currently prohibited, even if the state in which the land is located allows firearms. The Interior Department recently proposed new rules to partially reverse the gun ban, but they have not yet taken effect. If and when they do go into effect, most gun owners would still not be allowed to possess firearms on these lands because, among other problems with the rule, open carry would remain prohibited.

Rep. Sali’s amendment simply would require that state and local law govern firearms possession on the new land to be controlled by the NPS.

“The Founding Fathers fought and died for the freedoms we still enjoy today,” said Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. “One of the foremost of those freedoms was the rights to keep and bear arms. It is sadly ironic that the NPS would disarm citizens at a site where firearms played such an important role in our nation’s history. We applaud Congressman Sali’s effort to defend the Second Amendment against the anti-self defense regulations of the National Park Service,” Pratt said.

Rep. Sali offered similar amendments today on three additional NPS bills, dealing with: the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River; the National Trails System Act; and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The Sali amendments did not prevail in Committee. Rep. Sali has not ruled out bringing these amendments up again if there is an opportunity when the bill reaches the House floor.

Larry Pratt is the Executive Director for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members.

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

Guest Post: Minnick Selling Gem State for Big $$$’s

July 24th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Local political observer Adam Graham discovered that, as far as out-of-state money is concerned, things are worse for Walt Minnick than anybody realized. As Graham points out, when Bill Sali received significant support from the Club for Growth in 2006, the war cry of the Democrats was “Idaho is not for sale.” Apparently they’re now okay with the sale of the Gem State, as long as it’s to fat cats from New York. The non-partisan Open Secrets website reports that an astonishing 71% of Minnick’s campaign funds have come from out of state. Minnick has raised more money in New York City than in Boise. Minnick’s supporters have been suddenly and strangely silent about the danger out of state money represents to the purity of Idaho politics.

Open Secrets

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | 2 Comments »

Press Release: Sali Works to Protect Gun Rights

July 24th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Bill Sali today spearheaded an effort calling for state and local laws to govern the use of guns on National Park lands.

At a meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee, Sali offered amendments to H.R. 5853. The bill expands the boundary of the Minute Man National Historical Park in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to include Barrett’s Farm. Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates one of the most important events in our Nation’s history. In April 1775 Colonel James Barrett’s farm was used by the colonists to hide muskets, cannons and powder in the fields, having been alerted by Paul Revere of the advancing British troops. When the farm was searched by the British, nothing was found, preserving arms that would be used later that day in the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

“While the farm of Colonel Barrett will now be appropriately preserved by the National Park Service, what may be lost is our Second Amendment rights that the colonists and Founding Fathers fought for,” said Sali.

Currently, a National Park Service regulation restricts gun rights, replacing the laws of State and local governments, by specifically prohibiting the possession of fire arms in National Parks. Sali’s amendment requires that laws regarding the possession or use of a fire arm be governed by State and local governments.

“If a state or local government sees fit to impose similar restrictions, then so be it, but the National Park Service needs to stay out. The Park Service does many things well. Unfortunately the regulation of firearms is not one of them. This is a clear issue, and it affects the rights of law-abiding gun owners not only from Idaho but across the United States. The Second Amendment is a right put in place by our founders should not be abridged by the National Park Service’s anti-gun regulations,” Sali said.

Crime rates in National Parks raised concerns for Sali and he offered 3 other similar state gun rights amendments during the mark up.

“In 2006 alone, 11 visitors to National Park Service lands were murdered, 35 were raped, 61 were robbed and 16 were kidnapped. All other federal land management agencies follow state and local laws. I’m simply asking that the National Park Service follow suit,” concluded Sali.

The amendments failed in committee. The bills now await action on the House floor.

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

Guest Post: We Need Pioneering Spirit Now More than Ever

July 22nd, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Over 160 years ago, a group of Americans left the heartland of America seeking religious liberty and seeking to escape the persecution bred of suspicion and intolerance. Their creed demanded of them subservience to the laws of the land, and submission to presidents and magistrates in honoring and upholding the law. Yet due to the murders, rapes and pillaging they suffered at the hands of local residents in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, they headed west where they hoped to establish communities and settlements where they could live without fear of reprisal because of their religion.

The courage those thousands of freedom-loving pioneers is what we celebrate around the 24th of July every year. On the 24th of July, 1847 the first of the LDS people arrived at the edge of the mountains overlooking the Salt Lake Valley and their leader, Brigham Young declared, “This is the place.” A monument and a pioneer village now mark that spot in the Eastern foothills of Salt Lake City.

The thousand mile trek, navigated by some on wagon and some with crudely constructed handcarts, left hundreds of gravestone markers strewn along the way, marking the final resting spot of those who were willing to sacrifice everything for their freedom and their faith, and who ultimately did. The tales of courage, sacrifice, and determination manifest by those early pioneers stand as veritable ensigns of their character to us more than 160 years later. They also stand as reminders of the traits we will need as pioneers of our own era to preserve and perpetuate the greatness of America.

The pioneers of the 19th century faced primarily physical perils of cold, disease, and exhaustion. We are pioneers of sorts in our time, as we face a new wave of perils that threaten not so much our lives, but the quality of life we enjoy in America. In our time, we face the peril of diminished freedom for questionable causes, and cynicism of the free market system that is the economic extension of fundamental personal liberty. We face the peril of secularism which seeks to remove any semblance of religion from the public square and would have us rewrite history to remove the Judeo-Christian value system from our culture and advocates pantheism centered in worship of the earth over advancement of human civilization.

We also face the peril of indoctrination by a mainstream media that advances an ideological agenda, sometimes subtly but increasingly overt. Most susceptible to such propaganda are our young people who are bombarded with subliminal and overt messages that would have them believe there is more truth and contemporary pertinence to contemporary secularists than in the words of our Founding Fathers.

We face the peril of a continued erosion of morality and propriety as any sense of right and wrong, but what is taught is couched in strictly secular terms. By so doing, morality is made relative, having no absolute values at the foundation of our collective belief system.

I relish the fact that our local observance of Pioneer Day has become an inclusive celebration. People of all races, creeds, and backgrounds enjoy the local festivities with apparently equal enthusiasm. This is truly a microcosm of the pioneering we face for future generations of Americans as we similarly unite across socio-economic and cultural lines to preserve the greatness of America for future generations.

In 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.”

Challenges exist for any generation of Americans, and we have our share of them. But with the same determination, courage, and fortitude exemplified by our forbears we will surmount our challenges. We will thereby not only leave a better nation as an inheritance for our posterity, but will grow in character and wisdom from the sojourn, as did previous generations of pioneers.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts | No Comments »

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