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Press Release: Sali says Congress Fails Idaho Senior Citizens

July 17th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali again voted today to protect thousands of Idaho seniors from dramatic cuts to a successful Medicare program that offers greater flexibility for seniors to make their own healthcare decisions.

Sali voted to uphold President Bush’s long-expected veto of H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. While the bill prevents short-term cuts in Medicare reimbursements for doctors, it cuts $50 billion out of Medicare Advantage and does nothing to strengthen the Medicare program in the long term including far more drastic cuts scheduled for 2010. Medicare Advantage funding is used by around 2 million seniors across the country, including many in Idaho, to buy down premiums and eliminate co-pays, provide enhanced benefits such as vision and dental benefits and provide access to affordable prescription drugs. Half of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries report incomes of $20,000 or less.

“I am disappointed that Congress not only gutted the popular Medicare Advantage program but also once again missed a vital opportunity to enact meaningful legislation to improve Medicare and prevent doctors from taking bigger cuts in the near future. Even so, it would have been very easy for Congress to take up a bill that protects both doctors and their patients. Instead, Congress presented Members with a vote that pitted doctors against seniors, a dichotomy that was never inevitable.

“This bill kicks down the road some inevitable and difficult choices. The bill does not improve Medicare, does not prevent the huge, looming financial crisis that Medicare will face in the near future, and targets a program popular with rural and lower-income seniors. If this bill does anything, it sends the message that Congress is not interested in making tough decisions for the long-term and will force votes enticing Members to support policies that favor government programs at the expense of private choice and freedom.

“Our seniors deserve better than this. Our doctors deserve better than this. Unfortunately, this Congress has once again proven that it is only capable of doing what is easy instead of what is right,” Sali concluded.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Guest Post: Democrats Like High Gas Prices

July 15th, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Published – Idaho State Journal, 07/13/08
The phrase “energy independence” is used by many of us who maintain a preference for self-sufficiency in our energy needs with the corollary of increased self-determination as a nation by not being beholden to other nations. As we see with the current oil crisis, those other nations can literally hold us over a barrel in fulfilling our consumption needs.

There are many reasons why we find ourselves in this situation, but one of the most significant factors is that we have literally had our hands tied in procuring and refining oil domestically to fill our needs. Although we have ample oil reserves to meet our needs, the strength of the environmental lobby and the Democratic Congress prevent us from accessing those reserves. Many current leases for off-shore drilling by U.S. companies are not producing in existing wells because the bureaucratic requirements for permits to actually make those leases productive precludes many from being exercised.

The dirty little secret, that is not really a secret but is definitely dirty, is that the Democrats like having oil this high priced. In 2000 when President Bush took office, the price of a gallon of gasoline was about $1.44 nationally. By 2006, when the Democrats took control, it was as at $2.10. Since that time, it has spiked to over $4.00 per gallon.

The Hill, official Capital news publication, declared earlier this week, “House Democrats are in a bind on the focal point of their energy plan. Worried that a floor vote on any energy-related measure would trigger a Republican-forced vote on domestic drilling, the leadership has scrubbed the floor schedule of the energy legislation that it vowed to tackle after the Fourth of July recess.” They still, even while in control of Congress, continue to function as obstructionists to solutions for our country’s economic woes!

Recently while on the stump, Senator Obama was asked about the high price of oil. He didn’t object to it being high priced, his consternation was that it “rose this quickly.” His solution: “We need to do what I called for months ago and pass a second stimulus package that provides energy rebate checks for working families, a fund to help families avoid foreclosure, and increased assistance for states that have been hard hit by the economic downturn.” In other words, he wants a band aid to buy votes instead of addressing the causes of the oil crisis.
Recall four years ago, John Kerry, while running for the Presidency, declared that the Federal Government should impose an additional 50 cent tax on gasoline to help curtail consumption. They want prices to be high!

In Oregon last week Obama said, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times whether we live in the desert or in the tundra, and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. You guys keep on using 25% of the world’s energy even though you only account for 3% of the world population, you go ahead and we’ll be just fine.” Karl Marx would be so proud.

To liberals like Obama, economics are zero-sum gains. If we’re doing okay, someone else is not because of us. And since we Americans enjoy such a high standard of living, we’re culpable for all the suffering in the world because we’re taking from the others. For anyone who understands the dynamics of market economics, this is pure gibberish. But from the perspective of socialistic, centralized control economics, it makes sense. So to liberals, what Obama is saying is like gospel, but to those who have even a modicum understanding of economics and common sense, it is idiocy.

Plus his facts are wrong (as usual, like the 58 United States), and lacking some key insights. Americans constitute 5.6% of the world population, and with our 20% of the world energy consumption, we produce over 25% of the global GDP, according to World Bank data.

I’m convinced that the underlying reason the Democrats oppose any viable solution to increasing the oil supply is that they see America as the problem not only with our consumption, but also because it ties so nicely into their notion of global warming. They want us to not use oil, and the higher the price is the less likely it is that we will continue to use it at current levels. That means fewer carbon emissions and all the irrational “end of the world” conclusions they draw from their fallacious ideological premise.

It is unfathomable to me that we would send “leaders” to Washington who condemn our standard of living and preach a form of minimalistic egalitarianism. What we need are solutions to our current challenges to facilitate our continued growth, not defeatist, effete denunciation of our American way of life!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

Press Release: Sali Leads National Debate on Forest Fires

July 11th, 2008 by Halli

From the office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bill Sali today led a national debate on forest fires, saying Congress needs to do more to actually prevent forests and rangeland from going up in flames – as is happening now across the county. Sali, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, served as the Republican debate “manager,” allocating speaking time to his colleagues as they debated a bill to dedicate funding for wildfire suppression. During the debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complimented Sali for his leadership.

“Each year in Idaho the skies fill with smoke from fires. Last year alone more than two million acres burned in Idaho, threatening lives, homes and communities,” said Sali, a leading voice in Congress for sound forest management. “Real solutions to these deadly and growing wildfires must be found.”

While recognizing that the proposal under consideration was an attempt to address Forest Service issues, Sali lamented that the legislation, “fails to address the more critical issue – forest management. The greatest obstacle our pubic land managers face in preventing catastrophic wildfires isn’t dollars; it is having the ability to overcome mountains of red tape and lawsuits filed by extremists. The laws that Congress has created in an attempt to ‘save’ our forests, have now become the biggest obstacles to saving them from wildfires.”

H.R. 5541, the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act (FLAME Act) is aimed at dedicating funds for suppressing large wildfires. The bill passed on a voice vote. The Forest Service used to provide a source of revenue by managing federal lands and selling the harvested timber. Today, in most areas, active harvesting and forest management is non-existent resulting in less money generated by the Forest Service while there are growing fuel loads on federally managed lands.

“There is no question that there are budget issues that must be addressed. But we must address the cause of the fires as well, the increasing and unchecked fuel loads in our national forests that surround our homes and communities. We will continue to have larger and larger fires until we reduce fuel-loading,” said the Congressman. “Until we provide the tools for pre-fire forest management to reduce fuel-loading, the western United States will continue to see homes burned, watersheds destroyed and even lives lost.

“Providing tools to communities to protect their homes, livelihoods and very lives from these devastating fires is something we can and must do when addressing long-term funding to suppress these fires. This is precisely what I suggest we do in my bill, the Saving American Lives and Investing in Protecting Land and Nature Act, H.R. 4245, which I urge the House of Representatives to take up. This is a non-partisan issue about public safety and sound forest management that will benefit millions of Americans,” Sali said.

During debate, Speaker Pelosi praised Sali for his bipartisan leadership. Pelosi also echoed Sali’s call for treatments as a necessary element of a comprehensive approach to fire management. “We need prevention; we need the treatment that was described by our colleague. A long term strategy is needed…” Pelosi said during her comments today.

Sali’s bill, H.R. 4542, speeds up projects to reduce hazardous fuels and reduce risks from wildfire, insect damage and disease. Such projects help protect communities and private lands adjoining federal forest lands by reducing the risks on those lands. The bill would allow a shortened environmental review process – a categorical exclusion – as allowed under the National Environmental Policy Act. The bill would keep in place the environmental safeguards stipulated in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, would provide old growth and endangered species protections and comply with forest management plans and environmental laws.

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Posted in Congressman Bill Sali, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: The Logic of George Carlin vs. the Illogic of the DNC

July 1st, 2008 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

I’ve never been a great fan of the comedian George Carlin. His politics were dubious and his take on religion was an unmitigated attack on anyone of faith. That combined with more than his share of expletives made listening to an uncensored routine by him in his later years unbearable. Those objections aside, he did provide his share of laughs over the years.

Many from my generation will recall his role as the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman from routines on The Tonight Show. One of my favorite lines from that role was his weather forecast, “Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely-scattered light towards morning.”

Always the master of new insights to the obvious, he brilliantly captured the illogic of human theory regarding some of the most elementary truths of life. One that he nailed precisely was the radical environmental movement, and he revealed the illogic of the movement in a fashion only he could.

Quoting from his routine, Carlin said, “Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control nature. It’s arrogant meddling. It’s what got us in trouble in the first place. Doesn’t anybody understand that? Interfering with nature. Over 90% of all the species that have ever lived on this planet, ever lived, are gone. They’re extinct. We didn’t kill them all. They just disappeared. That’s what nature does. We’re so self-important. Everybody is going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails. And the greatest arrogance of all, save the planet. What?

“I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths, people trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are (bleep). The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. It’s been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little more than 200 years.

“Two hundred years versus four and a half billion, and we have the conceit to think that somehow we’re a threat, that somehow we’re going to put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun? The planet has been through a lot worse than us, been through all kinds of things worse than us, been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! We’re going away.”

That’s the inimitable George Carlin putting into perspective the arrogance of man, while at the same time, trying to maintain that we’re all simply products of nature.

When you think about it, the ideologies are all wrong here. Those who are most adamant from a secular perspective that we all evolved from the primordial slime with a few proteins adapting to form our world and humankind are the ones who think we can control nature. While those of us who believe that we were created by God seem to be the ones mostly cognizant of the fact that we are part of nature and we’re not omniscient and omnipotent and can’t control it. What a perplexing dichotomy! You would think the ideologies would be swapped.

Now let’s apply the radical lunacy Carlin identified to a real-life scenario, and voila, we have the 2008 Democratic National Convention! Vowing to make the convention the “greenest” in history, they’ve struggled to find the necessary accoutrements to make the convention environmentally friendly and politically correct. To pull this off, the DNC hired an official “Director of Greening,” longtime environmental activist Andrea Robinson.

They need the balloons to be biodegradable, as well as everything else used in the convention. Ms. Robinson hired an Official Carbon Adviser, who will measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every discarded coffee cup.

They’ve ruled out fried food, and every meal must include “at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and while.” They’ve also stipulated that 70% of the ingredients should be organic, or grown locally to cut down on shipping emissions.

I have a sneaky, uneasy feeling that this is what we can expect if these clowns ever completely run the country.

It’s really too bad Carlin graduated from mortality when he did: he could have had a lifetime of new comedy routines from just this one event!

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

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