Guns That Shoot Chocolate

Myles, a 7-year-old from Milwaukee, wrote Vice President Biden a letter to suggest that if guns shot chocolate bullets, no one would get hurt.

The Vice President wrote back. Take a look at his response, then share it with your friends:

Dear Myles —

I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter.

I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate.

You are a good boy.

— Joe Biden

Awwwwwww.

Hey Joe, how about you give your Secret Service bodyguards guns that shoot chocolate?

How about we give IRS raiders guns that shoot chocolate?

That would be sweet wouldn’t it?

 

Guns That Shoot Chocolate

Guns That Shoot Chocolate

 

IRS Persecutes CatholicVote.org

Reader Carol K reports that CatholicVote.org is also one of the Obama opponents that was subjected to harassment and intimidation by our government, which occurred in July 2009.

From a letter from the organization:

The recent revelations concerning the illegal actions by the IRS targeting conservative groups compel me to speak out.

In July 2009, the Chicago IRS office threatened the CatholicVote.org Education Fund.

The CV Education Fund is our 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity, created to educate, inspire and mobilize Catholic voters. As you may know, 501(c)3 charities, unlike our sister org (CatholicVote.org, a 501c4 organization) are not permitted to intervene in any political campaign or to oppose or support any political candidate.

We never did.

But according to the IRS, an unnamed source provided them information, including an email that we distributed prior to the 2008 election, which prompted their ‘examination.’

The email in question was titled “Barack Obama on the Issues of Importance to Catholics” and it specifically disclaimed any endorsement or approval of any political candidate.

In fact, our email did not even offer our position! Instead, we used actual Obama press releases and news stories to provide voters information on his positions on the issues of “abortion, stem cell research, contraceptives, and gay marriage.”

We urged voters to gather the facts, and ended our email with this line: “Let’s have an informed electorate on Tuesday.”

For this, we received a lengthy letter with over 50 questions asking for everything from how many people are on our email list, bank account names, and our checking account numbers.

Yes, even our checking account numbers!

To properly respond to the IRS, we were forced to divert staff time and precious resources to pay for legal counsel. Over a period of weeks, we provided the IRS everything they asked for.

But we didn’t stop there.

As a part of our response, we cited the IRS code, which explicitly states that charities like ours are permitted to reach the public with a ‘pure issue message.’ Nothing in the law prohibits organizations like ours from informing voters about the positions taken by candidates for public office. Our 501(c)3 entity has never endorsed, supported or expressly advocated the election or defeat of ANY political candidate.

We argued that the IRS code is vague and standardless, and that no objective standard exists to regulate what might or might not constitute political intervention – thus opening the door to abuse. We told the IRS that groups like ours should not be subjected to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.

If they chose to fine us, we were prepared to sue.

The IRS ultimately chose to do nothing – they backed down.

Why is this important? Because the IRS scandal brewing in Washington D.C. suggests that their examination of the CatholicVote.org Education Fund could have been politically motivated.

Were we targeted for our political views? Who and what prompted the IRS to investigate us?

Did their investigation have anything to do with our “Imagine the Potential” viral video celebrating the gift of life, including the choice for life made by Barack Obama’s mother that was watched by millions of people? This video was released 5 months before we were investigated and received national attention including coverage on the front page of the Washington Post website.

Was the IRS investigation intended to intimidate us, or have a chilling effect on our future plans?

We may never know. But we are going to do our best to find out. Reluctantly, we have decided to retain counsel to evaluate the IRS’ conduct and determine whether we can take action to fight back against this abuse of power. We want to know who induced the IRS to come after us, or whether that was a pretext, and whether the IRS or any government agency was attempting to thwart our lawful issue advocacy.

This is America. Something must be done to fight back. What we are witnessing in Washington is disgusting and shameful. We are better than this. Those responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Thankfully we have thick skin, and some top-notch attorneys.

You can chip in to support our effort here.

But at least now you know.

And you deserve to know that we will always defend our right to speak the truth, and to provide you and every Catholic in America the resources they need to vote with an informed conscience.

Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support and prayers.

Sincerely,

Brian Burch, Director
CatholicVote.org Education Fund

 

IRS Persecutes CatholicVote.org

Salmon grilled with orange slices — Tonight’s Meal

Tonight’s meal by Chef Bill Sr. was salmon grilled with orange slices and rice pilaf. The dessert was chocolate pudding by Mrs. Chef Bill Sr. made with half and half.

The wine was an Argentinian torrontes.

Delicious.

Charles Foster Kane, James Tiberius Kirk

Charles Foster Kane, James Tiberius Kirk.

The man who got an Oscar nomination for film editing Citizen Kane in 1941 was Robert Wise, who in 1979 would be the one to direct the first Star Trek movie.

The connection, perhaps, would be more clear if you’d imagine Orson Welles as Captain Kirk and Joseph Cotton as Mr. Spock.

 

 

Charles Foster Kane, James Tiberius Kirk.

 

Toomey Queries Obama About IRS, Sebelius About Solicitations

Toomey Queries Obama About IRS, Sebelius About Solicitations

Sen. Pat Toomey has queried the Obama administration about two grave abuses of abuses of power committed during its watch.

A letter sent to the President notes that the in 2010 IRS “specialists had been asked to be on the lookout for Tea Party
applications, and the IRS Determinations Unit had begun searching its
database for applications with ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ or ‘9/12’ in the
organization’s name”
and that this practice was “well-known” in the agency.

He has also sent a letter to  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding reports that she solicited funds from health care executives to assist with the implementation of the president’s health law.

“This appears at best to be an inherent conflict of interest and, at worst, a potentially illegal augmentation of appropriation,” he said.

Here is Toomey’s letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our grave concerns and deep disappointment about the revelations in a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had specifically targeted certain organizations for extra scrutiny as part of their approval review of applications for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status. This appears to be a wholly inappropriate action that threatens to silence political dissent and brings partisan politics into what used to be a nonpartisan, unbiased and fact-based review process. The public’s confidence in the IRS relies on fair and apolitical application of the law. Actions such as these undermine taxpayers’ ability to trust its government to fairly implement the law.

According to information given to Congress in a timeline provided by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in early 2010 “specialists had been asked to be on the lookout for Tea Party applications, and the IRS Determinations Unit had begun searching its database for applications with ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ or ‘9/12’ in the organization’s name.” The report goes on to state that “By June 2011, some IRS specialists were probing applications using the following criteria to identify tea-party cases, according to the Treasury inspector general findings: “‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots’ or ‘9/12 Project’ is referenced in the case file; issues include government spending, government debt or taxes; education of the public by advocacy/lobbying to ‘make America a better place to live’; statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”

We are deeply disturbed that agents of the government were directed to give greater scrutiny to groups engaged in conduct questioning the actions of their government. This type of purely political scrutiny being conducted by an Executive Branch Agency is yet another completely inexcusable attempt to chill the speech of political opponents and those who would question their government, consistent with a broader pattern of intimidation by arms of your administration to silence political dissent.

These disclosures are even more unsettling as they contradict prior statements made by representatives of the Administration on this matter. In response to questions raised in 2012 on this issue by Republican Senators, Steven T. Miller, the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement at the IRS, specifically (and falsely) stated that there was an unbiased, technical screening process used to determine which applications for 501(c)(4) organizations merited further review. In two separate letters to Finance Committee Ranking Member Orin Hatch, Mr. Miller failed to note that explicitly political screens were used in reviewing applications, despite the fact the practice was apparently well known within the IRS as early as 2010.

Given these strong and clear statements by the Administration in 2012 that no such targeted review or specified politically motivated criteria existed, these revelations raise serious questions about the entire application review process, and the controls in place at the IRS to stop this sort of political interference once and for all. According to TIGTA these actions took place more than two years ago, yet without this information becoming public, there is no evidence that your administration would have done anything to make sure these abuses were brought to light and dealt with in a transparent way.

The American people deserve to know what actions will be taken to ensure those who made these policy decisions at the IRS are being held fully accountable and more importantly what is being done to ensure that this kind of raw partisanship is fully eliminated from these critically important non-partisan government functions. As such, we demand that your Administration comply with all requests related to Congressional inquiries without any delay, including making available all IRS employees involved in designing and implementing these prohibited political screening, so that the public has a full accounting of these actions. It is imperative that the Administration be fully forthcoming to ensure that we begin to restore the confidence of our fellow citizens after this blatant violation of their trust. We look forward to working on this critical issue with the Administration’s full cooperation.

Here is Toomey’s letter to Secretary Sebelius:

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

As the Republican Members of the Senate
Committee on Finance, one of the key committees of jurisdiction over
health care issues, we were troubled by the news reports concerning your
interactions with health care industry executives asking for donations
of money to assist with funding for enrollment efforts related to the
health care insurance exchanges. Our initial reaction is that this
appears at best to be an inherent conflict of interest and at worst a
potentially illegal augmentation of appropriation.

These calls raise several important issues.
First, soliciting funds from the very companies or organizations that
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulates could be a
serious conflict of interest. Companies and organizations should never
be pressured for money because it sends the message that contributions
are necessary to secure favorable regulatory decisions-creating a “pay
to play” environment-or to avoid regulatory reprisals. This is even more
pronounced in this instance because the individuals that you were
allegedly contacting to solicit donations head up the same entities who
may have bid to participate in the marketplace exchanges.

Secondly, the appropriations process was
designed by the Constitution to assure that only Congress, an elected
body, sets the amount of funds that can be spent to implement a given
law. Congress appropriated a certain amount of funds for use by HHS to
implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Circumventing the appropriations process to raise additional funds could
be a serious violation of appropriations law.

Finally, the manner in which Congress
learned about these actions, through the press, is also troubling. One
of the continued issues that has been raised to HHS from this Committee
over the past three years has been the lack of transparency from HHS to
Congress about what actions are being taken, and when, with respect to
implementation of PPACA. This is yet another example of the
Administration initiating actions without consulting with or informing
Congress ahead of time.

To help us better understand this issue, please provide us with answers to the following questions:

1. What legal authority permits HHS employees to solicit donations from non-government entities for PPACA implementation?
2. Who within HHS was involved in making the decision to contact private entities for donations?
3. Was the Office of General Counsel for HHS consulted and, if so, what guidance did they provide governing these interactions?
4.
Besides Secretary Sebelius, have any other HHS employees solicited
donations in their official capacity as a federal employee?
5. How much money has been raised by HHS for the implementation of PPACA through donations?
a. Is the money coming directly to HHS or is it going elsewhere?
b. If to HHS, in which account(s) were the funds deposited?
c. What agency, individual, or entity has fiduciary authority over the funds?
d. Of the donated funds, how much has been spent by HHS or other entities to date?
e. Who has donated funds?
f. If funds are donated, do the donators have the right to say which programs the funding goes toward?
6. How much money has been raised by HHS employees for other entities supporting enrollment under PPACA?
7. Have HHS employees solicited donations on behalf of any nonprofit organization? If so, which one(s) and how much
8. How many federally funded work hours were used by Secretary Sebelius and other HHS employees to solicit donations?
9.
What assurances do organizations and companies that elected not to
donate funds have that HHS would not retaliate against them in future
regulatory or contracting actions?
10. Conversely, what measures has
HHS taken to be sure that it has not favored organizations that have
donated funds? What audit or oversight mechanisms are in place to
ensure that the list of those who have provided funds is not seen by the
contracting or program employees making decisions about contract awards
and/or other determinations regarding participation in the exchanges?

We appreciate your timely response to this
request and your full cooperation in providing this information by no
later than June 7, 2013.

Toomey Queries Obama About IRS, Sebelius About Solicitations

May Motorcycle Month As Proclaimed By Pa.

May Motorcycle Month — Governor Tom Corbett has signed a proclamation to commemorate May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).

Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) shows there were nearly 4,000 crashes involving motorcycles statewide last year, resulting in 210 fatalities, up from 3,600 crashes and 199 fatalities in 2011.

Motorcyclists can improve their safety on the road by following some simple safety tips, including: wearing a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet, face or eye protection and protective clothing; wearing reflective clothing and putting reflective tape on protective riding gear and the motorcycle; and knowing how to handle a motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions such as potholes, gravel, and wet or slippery surfaces.

Motorists sharing the road with motorcyclists should also consider some safety tips, including: looking out for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots; allowing more following distance when following a motorcycle; and respecting a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.

 

May Motorcycle Month

Skinny Dipping — Off the Internet

Skinny Dipping — Courtesy of Cathy Craddock

An elderly man in Louisiana had owned a farm for several years.

He had a large pond in the back.  It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn’t been there for a while, and look it over.

He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the women shouted to him, ‘we’re not coming out until you leave!’

The old man frowned, ‘I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.’

Holding the bucket up he said, ’I’m here to feed the alligator.’

Some old men can still think fast.

Lehigh County GOP Insurgency

Lehigh County GOP Insurgency — An insurgency is occurring against the Republican establishment in Lehigh County, with candidates demanding changes for the taxpayers’ benefit against those who think the existing paradigm is just peachy, reports activist Bob Guzzardi.

The most visible battle in the May 21 primary is the one for county executive pitting the establishment’s Dean Browning, a former county commissioner, against Scott Ott, who is running on platform of fiscal sanity.

Mike Schware, the incumbent county commissioner representing the 5th District and, who has been supporting reforms is being assailed by three challengers: Norma Cusick, Kevin Ryan and Nathan Brown..

In the 2nd District, fiscal-hawk Scott Aquila is challenging incumbent Percy Dougherty, who has been doing what the bosses tell him.

 

Lehigh County GOP Insurgency