Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New ad from Minnick for Congress

By John Foster - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 09:23 AM

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walt endorsed by hunting/sportsmen group

By John Foster - Friday, October 17, 2008 at 05:42 AM

Yesterday Walt was endorsed by the American Hunters and Shooters Association.

AHSA President Ray Schoenke announced:
“We are proud to endorse Walt Minnick, and give him an “A+” on gun issues and conservation issues.  As a gun owner and avid outdoorsman, Walt knows that you need both a gun and a place to hunt, so he will protect both our 2nd Amendment rights and our wild lands.  Walt knows the district, he knows its people and he knows its mountains. Walt gets it, and that is why we endorse him.”

From the AHSA website:
“A former Washington Redskin great and avid hunter who now runs a 300-acre hunting farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Ray Schoenke is the president of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA).  Located in Maryland, AHSA is an organization committed to supporting the right to keep and bear arms, responsible gun ownership, and conservation.”

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sali and his Congressional/campaign staff

By John Foster - Friday, October 17, 2008 at 05:29 AM

Earlier this week, Bill Sali and Walt Minnick took part in a candidate debate hosted by the Boise City Club. At one point, Walt highlighted elements of media reports on Sali’s Congressional office being outside the District and his use of his Congressional staff to run his campaign.

At right about the same time, the Huffington Post reported that the Congressman has three taxpayer-funded staffers working on his campaign.

An online Sali campaign roster, stamped “completely confidential,” lists Wayne Hoffman, Tina Jacobson and Jonathan Parker, respectively, as campaign media manager, North Idaho campaign director and campaign strategist.

“It amounts to mere minutes a day, a few days a week. It’s hard to take a leave of absence for five minutes a day,” [spokesman Wayne Hoffman] explained. (It should be noted that this one conversation itself lasted more than five minutes.)”

The web page of the “confidential” list has been pulled. But you can see a screenshot here

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Minnick slams Sali for veterans votes

By John Foster - Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Bill Sali has a poor record on veterans issues. As Walt pointed out earlier this week at a campaign forum, that record does not match Sali’s campaign-year rhetoric.


Missed a vote providing full funding for programs to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Sali skipped a vote on a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). The bill included programs helping to rehabilitate wounded soldiers returning from combat with brain injuries. (That includes an estimated two-thirds of those who injured.

Voted against G.I. education, benefits. Sali voted against a motion to concur amendments to appropriate $21.2 billion for domestic programs, military construction and foreign aid programs. The amendment would provide a permanent expansion of education benefits for post-Sept. 11 veterans, offset with a 0.47 percent surtax on modified adjusted gross income above $500,000 per year for individuals and $1 million for couples. The bill also increased benefits under the GI BILL to be paid in amounts linked to the amount of active duty served in the military after 9/11. Generally, veterans would receive some amount of assistance proportional to their service for 36 months, which equals four academic years.

Voted against help for veteran-owned small businesses. Sali voted against passage of the bill that would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs through fiscal 2010. The bill would give preference in awarding grants to businesses that are owned by veterans, located in areas with high unemployment or that have taken steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Opposed budget with record increases for veterans. Conference report on the 2008 budget saved veterans from paying increased healthcare fees totaling $355 million in 2008 and $2.3 billion over five years. The President’s budget imposed those new enrollment fees and increases copayments. Click here to see the bill and click here to see the vote.

Budget was praised by veterans’ groups. The 2008 budget, which Sali voted against, was praised by several veterans’ groups. According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the budget represented a “historic $6.7 billion increase” over the previous year’s budget.  According to the American Legion, “The American Legion and its 2.8 million members applaud ... the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Resolution.” According to the Military Officers Association of America, “...the resolution makes a strong statement of Congress’s commitment to restoring national confidence that our wounded warriors will receive the kind of first-quality care and services that they have earned...”

Voted against bill with funding for veterans health. In March 2007, Sali voted against the Fiscal 2007 supplemental. The measure included $550 million to address the maintenance backlog at VA health care facilities to prevent situations similar to those at Walter Reed; $250 million for medical administration to ensure sufficient personnel to address the rising number of veterans and to maintain a high level of service; $229 million for treating the growing number of veterans; $100 million to allow the VA to contract with private mental healthcare providers to offer veterans, including Guard and reserve members, quality and timely care; and, $62 million to speed claims processing for returning veterans. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fact-checking Bill Sali

By John Foster - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 07:47 AM

Bill Sali has become infamous for some of his outrageous comments: Abortions cause breast cancer. There are 40 barrels of oil in one tree. There are only 130 members of Congress who would be comfortable sitting in church pews. His pattern continued yesterday at a candidate forum hosted by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce.

Sali’s Claim: Alternative energy will take 25 to 30 years to get to full scale.
The Facts: Alternative energy is already being used right here in Idaho. U.S. Geothermal produces clean renewable energy for Idaho Power, and companies such as Coleman Oil in Lewiston are mixing biodiesel for sale around the northwest.

Sali’s Claim: “Much more serious than reaching across the aisle” was a system that drove “out deliberation, and drove out reaching across the aisle.”
The Facts:  There is deliberation and bipartisanship in Congress – Sali just refuses to participate. There are two examples in the past week. First, Sali skipped two oversight hearings into the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of AIG. Second, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson was recently praised for his deliberations with a variety of groups and Congressmen with whom he does not always agree.

Sali’s Claim: A preliminary estimate found that federal requirements account for up to 40% of spending on transit projects.
The Facts: According to Sali’s own website, the potential costs he refers to comes from delays, not from federal requirements.

Sali’s Claim: A system ranking Sali 423 out of 435 for Congressional effectiveness was based on how many earmarks were obtained.
The Facts: According to Knowlegis, the top three criteria for determining the rankings are position, indirect influence and legislative activity. Earmarks obtained was only added this year when Congress voted to make the process more transparent – something Sali opposed.

Sali’s Claim: The cause of the financial crisis requiring recent “bailout” legislation was the “Community Reinvestment Act.”
The Facts: As Newsday points out, the claim is laughable on its face: That the collapse of Wall Street and the U.S. banking system can be blamed on loans to low-income people. In fact, most sub-prime loans were made by firms not even subject to the Act.

Sali’s Claim: Entitlements account for half of the federal budget.
The Facts: That is not accurate, according to the non-partisan group Facing Up to the Nation’s finances.

Sali’s Claim: Cap-and-trade programs are “dumb” and don’t “reduce emissions anywhere.”
The Facts: The websites of both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama state that cap-and-trade programs have been successful in the past, and would be used specifically to reduce emissions. The Yale Forum on Climate Change cites bipartisan agreement on the effectiveness of the program.

Sali’s Claim: 80% of the paperwork burden on businesses comes from tax forms.
The Facts: In fact, the vast majority of business taxes are filed by tax professionals, according to the White House.

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