They say there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. Try as we might, it's virtually impossible to escape the clutches of the Grim Reaper or the Tax Man. Both will get you eventually.
And as anyone who has been through an IRS audit or suffered a tax penalty can attest, the power that the Internal Revenue Service wields is enormous. As John Marshall famously concluded, "the power to tax is the power to destroy." Indeed it is, and because of this it is imperative that the IRS conducts itself in a sterling manner. The American people should be able to trust that an entity with so much power is completely ethical, fair, and impartial. Anything less would be a grievous betrayal of the public trust and the Constitution.
Sadly, we're discovering that the IRS has been less than scrupulous in its treatment of conservative non-profits in recent years. According to the admissions of Lois Lerner, head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, "about 75 groups with 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their names received extra IRS screening between 2010 and 2012." Specifically, conservative groups applying for non-profit status in TN, TX, KY, and OH were subjected to intrusive questions about their donors and subject to long delays. In some cases, letters were sent to big donors to these groups suggesting that their contributions could be retroactively taxed under the gift tax. more >>
Defending what the Bible teaches about homosexuality can often lead to public condemnation from gay activists. In recent years especially, Christians have been ridiculed and called bigots for their beliefs. Here are five well-known Christian leaders who have been targeted for their beliefs.
When President Barack Obama invited Rick Warren, head pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of the best-selling A Purpose Driven Life, to deliver the invocation at his 2009 inauguration, gay rights activists were furious. About 100 protesters demonstrated outside Warren's church the Sunday before the inauguration. more >>
President Barack Obama warned at a press conference on Monday that if the allegations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups are proven true, then it will have to be held accountable.
"If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it," Obama said during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"And they have to be held fully accountable. Because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they're ... applying the laws in a nonpartisan way," he added, according to NBC News. more >>
Obama has gotten a relatively free pass as president, no doubt due to the intrigue of being the first black president. Congressional investigations into his administration go nowhere. The liberal media minimizes any wrongdoing by the administration and finds a way to spin it against Republicans instead. But something unusual has started happening. Influential figures on the left are speaking up loudly and attacking Obama over his policies regarding the U.S. military and defense. Obama is accused of being worse than former President George W. Bush due to the way he is continuing to detain Guantanamo inmates.
Obama originally said when he ran for office that he would close the Guantanamo Bay prison, and after being elected in 2009, publicly instructed the military to shut it down within one year. It is now over four years later, into his second term, and the prison is still open. Most of the prisoners have been there for over 11 years without a trial. Nine have died since it opened in 2002. The scrutiny has intensified in recent months as a majority of the 166 inmates, down from a high of 684 in 2003, have gone on hunger strikes, and at least 21 of the men are being force-fed twice daily. The administration has approved 86 detainees for release, but curiously none have been released so far this year.
Obama recently closed the office of the Special Envoy to the Closure of Guantánamo, evidence that it is becoming even less likely that it will be shut down. Polls reveal that a whopping 70 percent of Americans approve of Obama keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison open, giving Obama less incentive to shut it down. Many of the detainees are from Yemen, and cannot be released there, because the administration imposed a ban on transfers to Yemen in 2009 after the Underwear Bomber attack. more >>
The only way I know we still live in a relatively free nation is that, at times, the truth does come out. The IRS announced that, yes; it did give extra scrutiny to tax returns that included the name "tea party" or "patriot" as part of their exempt applications. Too bad for Boston that the names Tamerlan and Dzhokhar weren't on that IRS watch list.
The IRS admits its blatantly illegal actions:
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. more >>
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use the terms "mother" and "father" when collecting information about a student's legal parents when those parents apply for federal student aid. Instead of using the words "mother" and "father," the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) will use "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
The announcement states that the changes to the 2014-2015 federal student aid form "more accurately and fairly assess students' need for aid" and that "Gender-specific terms fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student's parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics…. [that] provide[s] an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families." more >>