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Richard Larsen: A Culture of Corruption

May 22nd, 2013 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama declared, “It’s time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington.” And change it, he has done! It’s been transformed into even more of a brash, thuggish, and coercive environment than it ever was before. The current IRS scandal of politically motivated discrimination against conservative non-profit groups perfectly characterizes the disturbing ends-justify-the-means “Chicago-style politics” that Obama and his comrades have brought to Washington.

As admitted by an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official last week, and confirmed this week by the Inspector General’s (IG) special report on IRS abuses, the IRS, arguably the most onerous and oppressive government agency in the country, was discriminating against conservative, religious, and pro-Israel non-profit groups seeking 503(c) designation. What would normally take 6-12 months for such a ruling was taking up to three years. In addition, the filing requirements of such groups went far beyond the requirements specified for such applications.

To make matters even worse, IRS employees were releasing the confidential filings for such groups to the George Soros-backed liberal propaganda organization ProPublica. They admitted earlier this week, “In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved — meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financialinformation, deeming that they were newsworthy.),” according to ProPublica.

There are clearly five improprieties or crimes under one scandalous umbrella here. First, the systemic targeting of groups thought to be critical of the administration; second the demand for information that was irrelevant to the tax status filing; third, obfuscation and outright lying by IRS officials to Congress and the public about those abuses; fourth, sharing those confidential filings with an opposing political group, ProPublica; and fifth, intentional withholding of information until after the election.

And lest we think these abuses were perpetrated by just a couple of rogue employees, all requests for 503(c) status go through the Cincinnati office. The Inspector General’s Report indicated it was the entire division, referred to within the IRS as the “Advocacy Group.” The IG’s report clearly documents that Washington was aware of what the “Advocacy Group” was doing.

So what’s happening to those involved? Not much. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, has resigned, even though he was already planning on leaving the agency. And Sarah Hall Ingram, who had been serving as commissioner of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division from 2009 to 2012, the “Advocacy Group,” is now serving as director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act division. That is the unit that’s responsible for enforcing Obamacare. Now isn’t that comforting?
Although this has been going on for at least three years, if we’re to believe White House Spokesman Jay Carney, Obama only found out about it from press reports, though the IG’s report reveals that Treasury Secretary Geithner’s office knew last summer.

The President seems to know nothing about what’s happening in his administration. From the Fast and Furious gunrunning, to the IRS and the AP phone records scandals, the president knows nothing until he hears “from news reports.” Whether he knows personally about these scandalous activities of his administration or not, it seems clear that since he’s surrounded himself with compatible ideologues and sycophants, that the entire atmosphere of Washington has become an extension of his Chicago-style politics of suppressing dissent, colluding against groups opposed to his agenda, intimidating the opposition, and suppressing damaging news.

Charles Krauthammer said this week, “Obama ran as a man who would not only change Washington but change the essence of politics itself in America as a kind of Olympian historic figure. He can’t even run the bureaucracy, that’s what we’re seeing. There’s arrogance here, of course, but there is incompetence of the highest order. He poses as the bystander. ‘I learned about it in the press.’ This is an indictment of people who believe in big government, want to expand it, have it control healthcare and cannot run the minimal essence of the duties of government.”

Harry Truman famously kept a plaque on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.” If Obama had a plaque on his desk along the same lines, it would likely read, “The Buck Never Gets Here.” It could also include an additional qualifier, “And if it does, I don’t know anything about it.”

On March 7, 2010, Obama famously declared, “Ultimately, the buck stops with me.” On Sept. 23, 2012, in a 60 Minutes appearance, he said, “As president, I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree.” Yet still we have Jay Carney denying the president is responsible for anything. Obama has said of the Benghazi scandal that it’s merely “a side show.” If that is the case, this entire administration is a scandal-ridden three-ring circus, and the president is the ringleader.

Even Commissioner Miller understands the idea of accountability. In his testimony on Friday before Congress, he said, “I resigned, because as the acting commissioner, whatever happens in the IRS, whether I was personally involved or not, stops at my desk. So, I should be held accountable for what happened.” It’s too bad the head of the country hasn’t come to that same realization.

Just two weeks ago at the Ohio State University commencement, President Obama said, “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices are also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

How ironic that we’ve seen so much of his administration unmasked by his adulating media so soon after that statement, for the first definition of tyranny is, “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.” And that’s precisely what we’re seeing as the Oz curtain is pulled away revealing the tyranny of the Obama administration.

Whether the president is explicitly complicit in all of these scandals or not, his politics and leadership style have created, and are conducive with, the pattern and atmosphere of corruption and abuse now in full display by the administration.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Jefferson County’s London Bridges

May 20th, 2013 by Halli

by Andi Elliott, Jefferson County

I’ve seen the poster of the 9 bridges of Jefferson County that have been determined by the Idaho Transportation Department to be structurally deficient. And these bridges need to have diminished speed limits and weight limits and immediate repairs. I’m reminded of the nursery rhyme, London Bridge is Broken Down.

“London Bridge is broken down…How shall we build it up again?”

“We’ll build it up with gravel and stone,” or we can prop it up with railroad ties and plywood, as has been done in Jefferson County.

“Gravel and stone will be washed away….” or the railroad ties and plywood can slip and rot.

“We’ll build it up with iron and stone….” which probably would be prudent if we’re planning for long time structurally sound bridges and public safety.

One of my neighbors, upon hearing about the public safety hazards posed by the county bridge system, lamented about what would happen if a potato truck passed over such a bridge and brought it down. I’m thinking about what would happen if one of our school buses loaded with children were to result in “London Bridge came falling down”. Perish the thought and the law suits that would ensue. Am I the only one thinking that safe and reliable bridges are more important than a new high school?

Andi Elliott

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Gosnell Trial and Abortion’s Future

May 17th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The now notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell is in prison for the rest of his natural life. Given the difficult judgment facing him, one could imagine that he is hoping that prison time lasts for a long, long time. He was held accountable for but a fraction of the crimes committed, but we can give thanks for the fact that a jury of ordinary men and women had the strength of character to endure a horrific trial to render a guilty verdict.
Imagine for a moment the dire social consequences had they failed to find such a man guilty.

Now our attention can turn to the possible fallout from the Gosnell trial.

Many on the Left would have you believe that he was an evil aberration. Some would have you buy the notion that abortionists are simply kind, gentle souls rendering a public service. But abortion is, by its very nature, a grisly and bloody business. Gosnell is no by means an “outlier”. (In fact, several abortion operations have come in for public scrutiny since the Gosnell trial began – Texas and Delaware come to mind).

What is genuinely unique about the Gosnell case is that it has forced the public to see and hear the sordid details of America’s abortion culture. The nation, including media personalities impersonating journalists, have been cornered into actually seeing behind the dark curtain which surrounds abortion mills. We are collectively nauseated, our hearts hurt over the evil we silently tolerate.

Will the revulsion last? No. The nation is all too anxious to move along, to think of more pleasant things. But a deep crack in the foundation has nevertheless developed. For all our denial, somewhere in our minds the images and descriptions of industrialized child murder linger. Seeds of doubt have been planted in even the most virulent defenders of abortion. Some abortion supporters have even publicly changed their minds on the matter.

The fact that Gosnell was even tried proves that the nation’s conscience still exists, that there are boundaries of decency left.

We must take encouragement from this demonstration of decency and nurture the seeds into mighty shade trees of relief from this national scourge.

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

David Ripley: Judge Orders Plan B for Grade School Girls

May 16th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

U.S. Federal Judge Edward Korman (New York) issued an order on Friday making “Emergency Contraception” available to girls without restriction. His order was a direct answer to the Obama Administration’s attempt to limit easy access to girls 15 and older.

By the terms of Korman’s order, girls of any age can purchase the potent drug without identification or prescription from the shelves of any drug store. By the terms of his order, parents will, of course, be cut out of the process. And so will medical personnel, including pharmacists. Girls will have easier access to “Plan B” than adults do sinus headache medicine.

As we’ve noted before, this imperious social engineering will have devastating implications for the health and safety of America’s daughters. Allowing grade school girls to ingest these dangerous and powerful hormones without adult supervision is simply madness. Which is to say nothing about the deaths of untallied preborn children and the further erosion of parental authority.

Nearly every profound social ill is on display with this story: the abuse of power by our federal judiciary; disregard for the family; and an evil agenda by the American Left to destroy the lives of America’s youth by imposing a dysfunctional and degrading sexual ethic upon the culture.

With our federal and state authorities so compromised by this whole dynamic, pro-Lifers must focus significant prayer time on behalf of our nation’s vulnerable daughters.

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

David Ripley: Abortion Culture’s Vicious Attack on Children

May 6th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The unrelenting campaign to allow children free and unaccountable access to the “Morning After Pill” is nothing short of an effort by evil to destroy the innocence of children, particularly female children. The manufacturer of “Plan B” has been pushing for years to allow unsupervised and unrestricted access to their deadly product in the cause of greater profits. They have been joined by zealots in the Abortion Rights movement who seek to unfetter America from any moral concerns about sex or its consequences. Those forces have recently gained invaluable allies in the Obama Administration and the federal courts.

The first victims of their campaign to make Emergency Contraception as easily available as Luden’s cherry cough drops will be the new human beings destroyed by the drug’s powerful chemical make-up.

But the collateral victims will be the girls who use their new “Green Cards” to engage in premature sexual activity. By order of the federal government, these children will now have official permission – even encouragement – to engage in self-destructive sex before they could ever possibly appreciate the emotional, spiritual or physical consequences. Parents will be officially banned from interfering in the matter. Even doctors won’t be allowed to obstruct access to the pills painted by the media as the “solution” to whatever consequences might follow premature sexual activity.

Could anyone concoct a more heinous plot to destroy innocence and future well-being?

Sadly, the dire consequences of this policy shift don’t end there. Not by a long shot.

Official permission to access the Morning After Pill – which, again, acts as an abortifacient – will almost certainly lead to higher rates of sexual activity among the nation’s children. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that this increased rate of premature sex will lead to higher numbers of STD’s, and higher rates of teenage pregnancies. With each destructive sexual encounter, innocence is wounded. Denigrated self-esteem and guilt is sure to follow, leading to other sexual encounters as a band-aid for the spiritual and emotional pain.

And we haven’t even touched upon the ‘predator dynamic’ – the easy availability of this deadly drug without medical and parental supervision is cause for celebration among those family members or neighbors who would prey upon the vulnerable and innocent.

And then there is there is the deadly matter of the health impact of the Morning After Pill itself. No long term studies have been performed on the consequences of ingesting these mega-dose hormones into the bodies of girls right in the midst of the most profound developmental changes. During the very period when they are maturing into women, the abortion-drug cabal would allow girls to freely add powerful hormonal cocktails into their bodies.

That cocktail contains mega-doses of the standard contraceptive pill, already shown to produce heart problems and even cancer in women who use the pill for extended periods of time. What happens to a young girl who uses “Plan B” on a repeated basis? No one knows. And no one – at least in official Washington circles – seems to care.

One could go on and on about the dire implications of this movement to normalize sexual activity among children. But be assured that countless future mothers, sisters, daughters, spouses will be forever changed by this sinister plot.

But there is one more dynamic which must be added to your consideration: the Idaho Legislature.

Last month we sought to insert a “Religious Liberty Amendment” into the language creating Idaho’s new Obama Insurance Exchange. It would have prevented the exchange from forcing any employer or individual from paying for insurance covering abortifacients – like the “Morning After Pill” – if that employer had moral or religious objections to participating in the destruction of the innocent(s).

Our efforts failed. A majority of Republican senators were more interested in helping Blue Cross build an insurance monopoly in Idaho than they were in protecting human life or our religious liberties.

As a result, it is entirely possible that not only will a 12 year old child be able to walk into an Idaho Falls Wal-Mart and purchase Plan B off the shelf – she may be able to do so without a dime in her pocket. Those deadly drugs may be “free” to her under the terms of her father’s group health insurance plan.

Lord have mercy upon those children we are publicly and willfully betraying.

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

Richard Larsen: Obama Intentionally Hurting the Nation

May 6th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

We have a President who is intentionally hurting the nation and the people he’s entrusted to serve. In the name of the sequester, the White House’s own plan to clinch a budget deal last year, Obama is willfully and intentionally doing as much damage as he can. This is not subjective, but is verifiable fact.

The President rejected a proposal by the Senate Republicans to give the President more flexibility to pick and choose which programs should be cut to reach the $85 billion spending reduction over seven months mandated by the so-called sequester. That would have given him the opportunity to meet the requirements of the budget deal, without affecting the people our government is supposed to be serving. Keep in mind, that these legislatively mandated reductions are not cuts in actual spending, but only reflect a 2.5% reduction in the growth of government spending.

According to the President a few weeks ago, “There’s no smart way to do that [the sequester cuts],” he said. “These cuts are wrong. They’re not smart, they’re not fair. They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.” This is a surprising admission that his own plan is, in fact, stupid!

Actually, Mr. President, there was a smart and prudent way to do it. The third annual installment of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report spelled out a reasonable way to meet the spending-growth reduction. According to Sen. Tom Coburn, “These are among the findings in the new GAO report that found 162 areas where services are duplicated or money is being wasted in the federal government. The annual cost of duplicative or wasteful programs is estimated at roughly $250 billion. That’s 250 billion dollars a year,” Coburn said. “Just in waste, in duplication, in stupidity, and lack of efficiency and effectiveness by the federal government. (It) makes you want to pull your hair out.”

By simply incorporating the GAO recommendations, cost savings amounting to three times the $85 billion reductions specified in the sequester deal could have been realized! And there would be no impact on travelers, no impact on meat inspections, no furloughed TSA agents or Department of Energy employees, and no impact on our military’s ability to protect the nation.

But Obama rejected congressionally authorized flexibility in applying the reductions, and he opted instead to make the sequester as painful as possible. The Washington Times reports of emails to department heads that the administration intended to make good on its warnings of the “painful” sequestration cuts. According to the Times, the emails directed agency heads, “not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of.”

It’s clear that Obama intends to make the cuts painful to average Americans while he and his family continue their lives of royalty, which we bankroll to the tune of $1.4 billion per year. In the seven weeks since he announced the White House tours would be cancelled, he’s had ten trips, and two all-star concerts in the White House. The only thing being cut at the White House is White House tours. Don’t hold your breath watching for the Obama’s to curtail their extravagant travel and vacation plans! And further proving that it’s all political, and that the President still does have discretion, Obamacare employees are not being furloughed, or facing reduced pay or work hours.

For air travelers it’s a different story, as they began this past week to feel the pain of the President’s decision as the Federal Aviation Administration has furloughed 1,500, or 10% of the nation’s 15,000 air traffic controllers. This has created delays of hundreds of flights.
Sen. Rand Paul said this week, “I think that it’s inexcusable to take important things like travel, air traffic controllers or meat inspectors or something that most of us agree we should have, and play a game with it,” the senator said. “The same day that [President Obama] announces that we have no self-guided tours in the White House, he sends $250 million to Egypt. We’ve got money. It’s a matter of priorities, and a good leader wouldn’t cut essential services. So I think it’s a bit of a charade and it ought to stop.”

Clearly the White House places politics ahead of the needs and interests of the American people. It would appear that either he thinks the blame should be ascribed to members of Congress who would not agree to the budget deal last year without some spending cuts, or he is intentionally curbing high profile, required services to show that we can’t cut a dime from actual spending. Most likely, it is for both of those reasons, which places his political agenda ahead of our interests.

The President rejected flexibility in applying the spending cuts, ignored the GAO report of where reductions could be made without adversely affecting services, and his agency heads are being instructed to make the cuts “as painful as possible.” This is not leadership; it’s ignominious politics, Chicago-style!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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