Since I wrote the article titled “Disarming America’s Heroes” I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from veterans and the families of veterans. The horror stories I am hearing are proof that the VA and the Obama administration have launched an all out assault on the Constitutional rights of our nation’s wounded warriors and other veterans.
Veterans are being declared incompetent not because they have a serious mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others, but because they have a physical disability resulting from their service in the armed forces or because they simply let their spouses pay the family bills.
If veterans have minor issues with PTSD, have expressed that they are depressed sometimes, or even in the case of Vietnam veterans admit that they are getting older and sometimes forget to pay their bills on time, the bureaucrats at the VA will seek to declare them incompetent. (I am a 65 year old veteran and often forget where I put my car keys, does that make me incompetent to handle my own financial affairs and even worse mean that I can’t own a firearm?) According to the VA it apparently does.
All of this has resulted in America’s heroes being declared incompetent by a process that blatantly violates their rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Then, for reasons that have not been explained these same veterans are also being denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Many of the veterans I have heard from were initially both scared because of what was happening to them, and hurt because it is their own government that is causing this fear. After all, when they joined the military they signed a blank check to their country to defend it and its Constitution even if it cost them their lives. Yet, now their own government is turning on them and taking from them the very Constitutional rights they fought to preserve.
However, now something else is happening; the fear and betrayal that these veterans felt is turning to anger. Their training and instincts as warriors is coming forth and they are once again prepared to fight for their rights and the rights of other Americans. I think that the Obama administration has picked a fight with the wrong dog. Veterans are fighting back.
As Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (www.usjf.net) I am committed to helping these veterans and protecting their Constitutional rights. We are putting together a top notch legal team that is already exploring several potential avenues including administrative procedures and a class action lawsuit.
It will be a huge undertaking since we have veterans who have just received the letter telling them that the VA is considering declaring them incompetent, veterans who have already been declared incompetent and lost their Second Amendment Rights, and even veterans who have gotten the incompetence ruling reversed, but are still blacklisted when it comes to buying firearms. There will be no charge to any veterans or their families that we represent. We will raise the money to finance our efforts from private sources.
There are those detractors who claim that the letter from the VA is not real even though several reporters have contacted me and said they have talked to representatives of the VA and it is confirmed that it is sending out these letters. The VA apparently downplays this by saying it is not a big deal. I suggest that to the veterans who are losing their rights it is a very big deal and we intend to join them in the fight.
If you are a veteran or have a friend or family member who is a veteran and has received one of these letters or already been declared incompetent, please contact me and the USJF. We intend to come out swinging. Our veterans deserve nothing less.
– Michael Connelly, Constitutional Attorney and United States Army Veteran –
How often have you heard a Democrat prattle on and on about how well Barack Obama has done with the economy, given the mess he inherited? Usually, it’s some version of, “Things are getting better, but the economy the President started with was so awful, so he’s done as well as anyone could expect.”
When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter in ’81, things were actually worse economically compared to when Obama took over from George W. Bush in ’08.
Consider these three important comparisons of economic indicators, then and now:
- Unemployment was at 10.8% versus 7.7%
- Inflation (Consumer Price Index) was at 13.5% versus 2.7%
- Interest rates (prime rate) was at 21.5% versus 3.25%
In other words, Reagan inherited a bigger mess. Yet, there’s this chart of job growth:
Yes, you read that right: net job growth has declined under Obama. And by the end of the second year of their terms as President, economic growth under Reagan averaged 7.1% , under Obama an anemic 2.8%.
So, how did Reagan manage it? Across-the-board tax cuts, non-defense spending cuts, a restrained monetary supply, and deregulation.
What’s Obama done? Tax increases, spending increases, a massive money-supply increase through “quantitative easing,” and an explosive increase in regulations.
Game, set, and match to Ronald Reagan – and a sound, conservative economic policy.
A new powdered alcohol product announced just days ago has had its approval promptly reversed following a barrage of negative publicity surrounding fears that it could encourage irresponsible – and even underage – drinking.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Palcohol’s powdered vodka, rum, and other cocktails ‘in error,’ Tom Hogue, the agency’s director of congressional and public affairs, told The Associated Press via email. The agency did not respond to further questions.
The company behind Palcohol, Tempe, Arizona-based Lipsmark, said that ‘there seemed to be a discrepancy [about] how much powder’ is in the packets, which are meant to be mixed with water.
According to the website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, multiple varieties of Palcohol received ‘label approval’ on April 8.
Palcohol had previously announced six varieties of powdered alcohol, including vodka, rum and four cocktails – Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita and Lemon Drop.
The company agreed to surrender its approvals on Monday and has said that it will resubmit the product for approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
No sooner had Palcohol announced its initial products than critics where questioning the potential dangers of a powered form of alcohol which could fit into a pocket, making it more portable than a bottle or flask of liquor.
The company initially did little to discourage these fears as the Palcohol website featured a lot of information on how the product could be used to consume alcohol in unusual ways and little about promoting ‘responsible drinking’.
‘Maybe you’re a college football fan. So many stadiums don’t even serve alcohol. What’s that about; watching football without drinking?! That’s almost criminal. Bring Palcohol in and enjoy the game,’ stated the website.
As well as adding the alcoholic power to water, the site also suggested that Palcohol could be poured over food.
‘Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favorites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right.’
There were even some rudimentary cooking instructions: ‘Remember, you have to add Palcohol AFTER a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it… and that defeats the whole purpose.’
The company also appeared to be encouraging users to try snorting their product: ‘You’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose.’
Those posts were quickly taken down and the company claims it was simply experimenting with ‘edgy marketing’ that wasn’t meant to be seen by the public.
‘As Palcohol is a new product, we have yet to understand its potential of being added to food,’ the website now states, along with warning people that the powder shouldn’t be snorted.
According to the site, the product’s founder Mark Phillips came up with the idea because he is an ‘active guy’ and wanted a way to enjoy an adult beverage after long hours hiking, biking or camping without having to carry around heavy bottles.
‘What we can say now is that we hope the product will be used in a responsible and legal manner. Being in compliance with all Federal and State laws is very important to us. Palcohol will only be sold through establishments that are licensed to sell liquor.’
Powdered alcohol is not a new concept. Such products are already being sold in other countries including Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands.
According to some, alcohol laws would in general only apply to liquids.
This would mean that powder-based alcoholic beverages could be sold to minors and that the powder would be exempt from alcohol tax and laws, as is the case with certain products in the Netherlands.
You might have heard that the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 today that states have the right to ban racial preferences, euphemistically known as “affirmative action,” in public-university admission, but that’s not quite right. On that point the justices (save for Elena Kagan, who sat the case out) were unanimous. “When this Court holds that the Constitution permits a particular policy, nothing prevents a majority of a State’s voters from choosing not to adopt that policy,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissent joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But in the case styled Schuette v. BAMN, Sotomayor endeavored to make nothing into something. She and Ginsburg would have upheld a decision by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held illicit the method by which Michigan’s voters accomplished that end: a ballot initiative, approved in 2006, that amended the state constitution to bar racial discrimination.
We noted the case, and offered a lengthy analysis, back in 2011, when a three-judge Sixth Circuit panel first ruled in favor of the unwieldily named Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary. We pegged the case then as a likely one for the high court to take up, and we didn’t expect the Sixth Circuit’s ruling to stand. But we’re disappointed the court didn’t repudiate BAMN’s arguments more clearly.
The background, in brief: As there was no colorable argument that the substance of the Michigan amendment was unconstitutional, BAMN invoked what the appellate court called the “political process doctrine.” It rested on two prior cases, Hunter v. Erickson (1969) and Washington v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (1982), in each of which the high court struck down a ballot measure repealing and banning a policy that, as Justice Harry Blackmun put it in Seattle, “inures primarily to the benefit of the minority.” In Hunter, the policy in question was a fair-housing ordinance enacted by the city council; in Seattle, a forced-busing program instituted by an elected school board.
The six justices who voted to reverse the Sixth Circuit and let the Michigan amendment stand split 3-2-1 on the grounds for doing so. The result is a clear outcome but a doctrinal muddle. We thought it would be amusing and enlightening to go through the four main opinions in descending order of clarity.
Clearest of all is Justice Antonin Scalia’s concurrence in the judgment, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas. “It has come to this,” Scalia begins portentously. “Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires?”
Scalia and Thomas’s view, thus far joined by no other sitting justice, is that racial discrimination in public-university admissions is flatly unconstitutional. The prevailing view on the court is that such discrimination is permissible, but only for the purpose of realizing “the educational benefits” of a “diverse student body,” as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).
As Scalia notes: “Were a public university to stake its defense of a race-based-admissions policy on the ground that it was designed to benefit primarily minorities (as opposed to all students, regardless of color, by enhancing diversity), we would hold the policy unconstitutional.” The Sixth Circuit had to reach just that conclusion in order to fit the Michigan amendment into the political-process doctrine.
Thus, as we noted in 2011, Grutter and BAMN were on a collision course. Either the racial preferences the court upheld in Grutter were unconstitutional or the political-process doctrine didn’t apply. Scalia and Thomas recognized this contradiction squarely and would have dealt with it by both holding the preferences unconstitutional and overturning Hunter and Seattle.
Justice Stephen Breyer concurred in the judgment on much narrower grounds. He was part of the Grutter majority in 2003 and still thinks racial preferences are constitutionally permissible. He ducked the question of whether the political-process doctrine applied to the substance of the Michigan amendment by saying it didn’t apply to the process. Because racial preferences were imposed by unelected university administrators, he argued, the process change isn’t a “political” one at all. It appears to be a way of evading the central questions of the case, but it does have the virtue of being relatively simple.
Then there’s the Sotomayor dissent, which begins as follows: “We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But…” An empty piety, followed by an equivocation, followed by a total of 58 pages – you know this is going to be a tough slog.
The most quoted part of Sotomayor’s opinion is this: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” This is a rejoinder to Chief Justice John Roberts’s assertion, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” (Roberts in turn rebutted Sotomayor in a separate concurrence to today’s decision, which we’re leaving out of our ranking by clarity.)
Roberts’s statement was trivially true, which means that Sotomayor’s defies logic. Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination is a form of racial discrimination–that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Also Orwellian is her claim that she wants “to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” Such an assertion is almost always disingenuous. After all, the way to speak openly and candidly is to speak openly and candidly. Declaring one’s intention to do so is at best superfluous throat clearing.
And while Sotomayor may be open, she isn’t candid. She presents a potted history of race in America in which there is a straight line from Jim Crow segregation through literacy tests to the Michigan amendment, which “involves this last chapter of discrimination” – even though it bans discrimination, and even though Sotomayor acknowledges that its substance is perfectly constitutional.
Yet for all the faults of the Sotomayor opinion, she does score some points against the plurality opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Kennedy refrained from either reversing the Hunter and Seattle precedents or distinguishing the Michigan amendment from those cases by noting the contradiction between the Sixth Circuit’s finding and the high court’s rationale for upholding racial preferences in Grutter.
Instead, he essentially rewrites Hunter and Seattle, as Sotomayor notes (citation omitted):
Disregarding the language used in Hunter, the plurality asks us to contort that case into one that “rests on the unremarkable principle that the State may not alter the procedures of government to target racial minorities.” And the plurality recasts Seattle “as a case in which the state action in question… had the serious risk, if not purpose, of causing specific injuries on account of race.” According to the plurality, the Hunter and Seattle Courts were not concerned with efforts to reconfigure the political process to the detriment of racial minorities; rather, those cases invalidated governmental actions merely because they reflected an invidious purpose to discriminate. This is not a tenable reading of those cases.
Although Sotomayor is right about this, she goes on to make an error that is the mirror image of Kennedy’s, in citing the 1996 case of Romer v. Evans (omitting another citation):
Romer involved a Colorado constitutional amendment that removed from the local political process an issue primarily affecting gay and lesbian citizens. The amendment, enacted in response to a number of local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against gay citizens, repealed these ordinances and effectively prohibited the adoption of similar ordinances in the future without another amendment to the State Constitution. Although the Court did not apply the political-process doctrine in Romer, the case resonates with the principles undergirding the political-process doctrine. The Court rejected an attempt by the majority to transfer decision-making authority from localities (where the targeted minority group could influence the process) to state government (where it had less ability to participate effectively).
Actually in Romer the high court, with Justice Kennedy writing for the majority, rejected the Colorado Supreme Court’s application of the political-process doctrine. Instead, Kennedy held that the amendment itself violated equal protection–something even Sotomayor concedes is not true of the Michigan measure.
The plurality opinion is frustratingly muddled, but it’s likely to be seen as the controlling one, since it reflects the farthest position in either direction that a majority of justices are willing to go. In effect it means that it will be difficult if not impossible to challenge state ballot initiatives banning racial preferences at public universities. And while the court did not overturn the Hunter and Seattle precedents, they do not look like especially robust law, now that they’ve been rewritten by Justice Kennedy.
As for the Roberts-Sotomayor kibitzing, it’s actually a continuation of a conversation that started many years earlier, when the late Justice Harry Blackmun, in an opinion in University of California v. Bakke, wrote: “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”
Blackmun wrote those words in 1978, when Sonia Sotomayor was a law student. Thirty-six years later, Justice Sotomayor wrote these words:
Race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”
Are Sotomayor’s lamentations evidence that Blackmun was right, or that he was wrong?
“A freedom-destroying cocktail.”
That’s how Justice Antonin Scalia characterized Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling that law enforcement officers may pull over and search drivers based solely on an anonymous tip.
The justices ruled 5-4 Tuesday to uphold a traffic stop in northern California in which officers subsequently found marijuana in the vehicle. The officers themselves did not see any evidence of the tipped reckless driving, which was interpreted as drunkenness, even after following the truck for several minutes.
Justice Clarence Thomas said the tip phoned in to 911 that a Ford pickup truck had run the caller off the road was sufficiently reliable to allow for the traffic stop without violating the driver’s constitutional rights.
But Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the dissent in Prado Navarette v. California, had strong words about the decision’s implications for the future.
Here are some of Scalia’s points, in which he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor (emphasis added):
* Law enforcement agencies follow closely our judgments on matters such as this, and they will identify at once our new rule: So long as the caller identifies where the car is, anonymous claims of a single instance of possibly careless or reckless driving, called in to 911, will support a traffic stop. This is not my concept, and I am sure would not be the Framers’, of a people secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.
* Anonymity is especially suspicious with respect to the call that is the subject of the present case. When does a victim complain to the police about an arguably criminal act (running the victim off the road) without giving his identity, so that he can accuse and testify when the culprit is caught?
* The Court’s opinion serves up a freedom-destroying cocktail consisting of two parts patent falsity: (1) that anonymous 911 reports of traffic violations are reliable so long as they correctly identify a car and its location, and (2) that a single instance of careless or reckless driving necessarily supports a reasonable suspicion of drunkenness. All the malevolent 911 caller need do is assert a traffic violation, and the targeted car will be stopped, forcibly if necessary, by the police. If the driver turns out not to be drunk (which will almost always be the case), the caller need fear no consequences, even if 911 knows his identity. After all, he never alleged drunkenness, but merely called in a traffic violation—and on that point his word is as good as his victim’s.
* Drunken driving is a serious matter, but so is the loss of our freedom to come and go as we please without police interference. To prevent and detect murder we do not allow searches without probable cause or targeted Terry stops without reasonable suspicion. We should not do so for drunken driving either. After today’s opinion all of us on the road, and not just drug dealers, are at risk of having our freedom of movement curtailed on suspicion of drunkenness, based upon a phone tip, true or false, of a single instance of careless driving.
As the Internal Revenue Service grapples with budget cuts, a newly reported audit reveals the federal tax collection agency doled out bonuses and other rewards to more than 2,800 workers who had conduct and tax-evasion issues.
The audit – issued March 21 by an IRS watchdog agency, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) – showed that between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, the IRS gave out more than $2.8 million in monetary awards, 27,000 hours in time-off awards, and 175 other awards to employees who had tax compliance problems and other work issues.
“With few exceptions, the IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards or most other types of awards,” TIGTA stated, noting the audit was part of new federal guidelines that require agencies to reduce spending on awards programs.
“Thus, while not specifically prohibited, providing awards to employees with conduct issues, especially those who fail to pay [f]ederal taxes, appears to create a conflict with the IRS’ charge of ensuring the integrity of system of tax administration,” the audit added.
Overall in fiscal year 2012, the IRS gave out $86 million in cash awards and almost 490,000 hours of time-off awards to 67,870 of its approximately 98,000 employees, the report found.
In a written statement to USA Today, David Krieg, the agency’s chief human capital officer, responded: “We take seriously our unique role as the nation’s tax administrator, and we will strive to implement a policy that protects the integrity of the tax administration system and the reputation of the service.”
While the audit revealed that the IRS, for the most part, complied with federal requirements to limit its awards spending, this issue is yet another eyesore for an agency that has been charged with corruption for targeting Tea Party groups and wasting $4.1 million in taxpayer funds on a lavish conference that included $64,000 in free “swag” for attendees.
In 1979, there was a student takeover of the United States Embassy in Tehran. For 444 days, 52 Americans were held hostage. Then President Jimmy Carter was lambasted for his weak foreign policy which lead the Iranians to view him as an inconsequential leader. Therefore, they did not fear America. When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, with the spinelessness of Jimmy Carter purged from the White House, the hostages were released on the very day of his inauguration.
But, the pain of those nearly 15 months in captivity would linger not just for those held hostage, but for America as the people remembered that horrible time in our history. The country would have to recover and again position itself as a world leader to be feared and respected.
We have seen our position of power in the world erode over the last 5 years, with the most recent indicator being the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative who is unafraid of Obama’s weak warnings.
As the world has watched this invasion, events that some believe are a signal to the beginning of another Cold War, the pain caused by the Iran hostage crisis some 35 years ago is being renewed.
Hamid Abutalebi has been selected by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as their United States Ambassador. Abutalebi was one of the hostage takers of those 52 Americans. While he claims he only served as a translator and negotiator, the United States Congress voted unanimously to deny his entry into the United States, since the U.N. meetings are held in New York.
The bill passed by Congress was authored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Congressman Doug Lamborn from Colorado. After the bill passed unanimously with bi-partisan support, Cruz and Lamborn released the following statements in calling for Obama to sign the bill to prevent terrorists from obtaining visas to enter the U.S. as U.N. ambassadors.
Congress has voted unanimously in support of a bill to reject Iran’s deliberately insulting nomination of a known terrorist – one of the 1979 hostage-takers – to be their ambassador to the United Nations,” said Sen. Cruz. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting it, and urge the President to act quickly. We, as a country, can send an unequivocal message to rogue nations like Iran that the United States will not tolerate this kind of provocative and hostile behavior.”
“I have been working hard with House Leadership to move this bill even before it passed the Senate,” said Congressman Lamborn. “I appreciate House Leadership’s rapid response to my request to quickly bring the Cruz/Lamborn bill to the House Floor for a vote. It will give the President the power to prevent an Iranian terrorist from entering our country with diplomatic immunity. This is a great example of leadership in action by both Houses of Congress. After Senator Cruz worked to ensure Senate passage earlier in the week, I felt that it was extremely important that the House respond in-kind by considering the Cruz/Lamborn bill in an expedited manner. It is great to see Congress send a strong, bipartisan message that Iranian evildoers will be treated like terrorists, not tourists. Terrorists, from Iran or elsewhere, should not be allowed to walk the streets of Manhattan with diplomatic immunity.”
Individuals with diplomatic immunity cannot be prosecuted or even charged with so much as a traffic ticket, let alone an act of terrorism.
Eight days later, President Obama has signed the bill into law, but, according to the Washington Examiner, he immediately released a statement saying that he would not enforce the law. While Obama recognized the concerns of Congress regarding allowing a terrorist to gain access to our country, he stated the following to explain his decision to ignore the law of the land.
“Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation.”
When Bush was president, then Senator Obama was extremely critical of him for signing such statements stating that, “Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it.” The statements that Bush signed did not grant a terrorist unfettered access to our country.
Now that Obama is president, he has demonstrated time and again his complete disregard for any laws that he does not like. Certain laws, like his signature legislation Obamacare, are deemed the law of the land that must be followed. However, he very often changes parts of that law unconstitutionally via executive order to fit his political needs. With others, such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he would, in his lawlessness, decide that he would not enforce the law.
His decision to sign the bill into law, but immediately state that he will not enforce it flies in the face of the rule of law upon which this country was built and endangers America.
Obama’s disregard for the law as passed by Congress and signed by him, thereby allowing a known terrorist who committed an act of terrorism against the American people unto American soil, comes days after the one year anniversary of the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Iran was insistent that the terrorist Abutalebi was their choice for ambassador. When the U.S. threatened denial, they requested an investigation by the U.N.
Thanks to Obama, no investigation is needed. The President of the United States is going to allow a known terrorist to violate the law with no repercussions and give him complete access to America and its citizens with diplomatic immunity.
Ah, Obamacare deals out yet another blow to the American public. Apparently Obamacare enrollee’s better make sure they want to tie the knot – or better yet if they can afford it, before signing up.
As we all know, the Affordable Care Act, isn’t as affordable as the president would like to have us think. That being said, couples living together, could potentially save $10,000 over the couple who are doing the same thing, but possess the legal document.
That’s right, Obamacare is punishing you for being married.
The way this loophole works is based on income levels. You see, when you are single, it appears that you only make so much, and having less than a married couple, you can afford less. But when you live with someone, and aren’t married you incur half the cost of living expenses. Obamacare does not factor this in.
This in turn makes it look like you are making less than the married folk, but in all reality, the income may be exactly the same between competing couples.
In a mathematical demonstration, Britbart explains:
“In order to receive a government subside, a married couple must earn less than $62,040. Therefore, a married couple with each spouse making $35,000 annually for a combined income of $70,000 dollars would not qualify for a healthcare subside. In contrast, an unmarried couple with each partner making $40,000 for a combined income of $80,000 could qualify for thousands of dollars in subsides.”
The fair thing to do here is to base the insurance on household incomes, but that may just be the point.
Robert Rector, a senior research fellow with Heritage Foundation, speculates that the “law was formulated on ideological grounds,” because, “unmarried couples often vote Democrat and married couples lean Republican.”
What do you think – just unfair, or liberal ploy?
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of law students that it might be a good idea to revolt if taxes become too high in the future.
While speaking at the University of Tennessee College of Law on Tuesday, Justice Scalia was asked by a student about his interpretation of the constitutionality of the income tax, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The longest-serving justice currently on the bench answered the student by saying that the government has the constitutional right to implement the tax, “but if it reaches a certain point, perhaps you should revolt.”
Justice Scalia continued to tell the students that they have every right to express criticism of the government.
“You’re entitled to criticize the government, and you can use words, you can use symbols, you can use telegraph, you can use Morse code, you can burn a flag,” he said, according to the News Sentinel.
The Justice was invited to deliver the annual “Rose Lecture” and the Tennessee law school. He discussed pivotal events in his time in the Supreme Court including the decision in 1989 to rule that flag-burning was constitutionally protected speech.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Justice Scalia to the Supreme Court in 1986.
He told the law students that the justices do not give credence to partisan politics, and that he doesn’t care which party controls the White House. He stands by a theory of originalism, meaning that the Constitution is a fixed law and not open to change or interpretation over time.
“The Constitution is not a living organism for Pete’s sake,” he said. “It’s a law. It means what it meant when it was adopted.”
TIM CAMERON AND MIKE LEWIS
FRANK TOMLANOVICH, JEFF RICKABY, KENNY MARKS AND SCOTT CELELLO
When a young man or woman joins the United States military, one of the first things they do before even being shipped off to boot camp is take the loyalty oath. “I (state your name) do solemnly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” The oath of enlistment goes on to say that the service member will follow orders of the president and the officers appointed over them per the regulations of the uniformed code of military justice. Most service members, at least I hope anyway, understand that there are illegal orders, and any order that goes against the Constitution is, in fact, an illegal order.
This oath means something to military personnel because most of us joined to defend the rights and liberties of all Americans, even those that don’t share our views. Sadly, many people have been inundated with the belief that the Constitution is an oppressive document that stands in the way of government creating the perfect paradise. In fact, in a report called Rightwing extremism: Current economic and political climate fueling resurgence in radicalization and recruitment the government calls anyone who refers to the Constitution and the limits of government power a domestic terrorist. Anyone who owns a gun is a terrorist, anyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a racist terrorist and anyone who is buying more than seven days of food at a time is now even referred to as a potential terrorist. Veterans are potential terrorists, probably because the government fears them finding out how they have been used, abused and lied to. Also, those who hold anti-abortion views are domestic terrorists.
Many of you may be wondering what the significance of all of this is. Harry Reid just referred to the Bundy ranch protesters as domestic terrorists and claimed that he was told a special task force is being set up to “deal with them.” A task force, mind you that is not loyal to the U.S. Constitution, but has likely been beaten down with the same lies and propaganda that is published in that fallacious report.
I don’t about the rest of you, but I have seen the way the U.S. government deals with terrorists. The fact that they are referring to their own people as possible terrorists should concern all of us.
How did we get to the point where a sleazy politician like Harry Reid, who for days now, reports have been surfacing exposing his involvement in this federal land grab, can get away with it and call average citizens domestic terrorists? I will tell you how, but you are not going to like it America. You became fat, lazy, and uninterested in defending the very liberties that were passed on to you from previous generations. You let the politics of envy, employed by selfish radicals and their lies; beat you into submission out of fear of appearing “uncompassionate” or uncaring. You let the politics of fear overwhelm your senses as little by little mental associations were created between what you fear the most and the unknown, until the point came when you let the government convince you that your neighbor shouldn’t be trusted if he questions the motives of big government. In other words America, you went to sleep and passed on your responsibility to someone else who didn’t share your same values.
The hour is later and much darker than most care to know. Many in America see no problem with the federal government that has the intestinal fortitude to surround one man and his family with three hundred armed troops, and then lie by claiming it’s about taxes and turtles. There are so many other ways this situation could have been dealt with folks, especially if Cliven Bundy was truly in the wrong. They intentionally set out to spark a confrontation so they could identify the resistors as domestic terrorists. Everything they need to eliminate the opposition is written into law or policy. The Patriot Act, The National Defense Authorization Act, both give the government broad powers when dealing with domestic terrorism. Some of us realized many years ago that someday those powers would be turned on us; others went to sleep, allowing the government to classify us as domestic terrorists for being concerned about such a thing.
This is the ultimate betrayal to all those who served in this nation’s uniform. They swore to defend the liberties of American citizens, and some gave their lives doing so while others showed up at the Bundy ranch to do it again. There is nothing in the Constitution that grants the government the right to do anything outside of its delegated authority folks. I know one thing for certain, sicking 300 armed federal agents on one man, from an unaccountable bureaucracy, is not in the job description of the federal government. If you are a liberal and can’t see this, then there is no hope for you. If you can’t understand that this power will turn on you the minute you disagree with them, then you get what you deserve. In my honest opinion, anything that happens from this point on is squarely in the hands of all of those on the right or the left that sat on the sidelines and did nothing.
It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.
More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.
“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.”
Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.
The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.
“What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,” Lockhart said.
Fielder, who described herself as “just a person who lives in the woods,” said federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and severe federal budget cuts.
“Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands,” Fielder said, who lives in the northwestern Montana town of Thompson Falls.
“We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms,” Fielder said.
Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said Idaho forests and rangeland managed by the state have suffered less damage and watershed degradation from wildfire than have lands managed by federal agencies.
“It’s time the states in the West come of age,” Bedke said. “We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.”
Ivory said the issue is of interest to urban as well as rural lawmakers, in part because they see oilfields and other resources that could be developed to create jobs and fund education.
Moreover, the federal government’s debt threatens both its management of vast tracts of the West as well as its ability to come through with payments in lieu of taxes to the states, he said. Utah gets 32 percent of its revenue from the federal government, much of it unrelated to public lands.
“If we don’t stand up and act, seeing that trajectory of what’s coming… those problems are going to get bigger,” Ivory said.
He was the sponsor two years of ago of legislation, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, that demands the federal government relinquish title to federal lands in Utah. The lawmakers and governor said they were only asking the federal government to make good on promises made in the 1894 Enabling Act for Utah to become a state.
The intent was never to take over national parks and wilderness created by an act of Congress Lockhart said. “We are not interested in having control of every acre,” she said. “There are lands that are off the table that rightly have been designated by the federal government.”
A study is underway at the University of Utah to analyze how Utah could manage the land now in federal control. That was called for in HB142, passed by the 2013 Utah Legislature.
None of the other Western states has gone as far as Utah, demanding Congress turn over federal lands. But five have task forces or other analyses underway to get a handle on the costs and benefits, Fielder said.
“Utah has been way ahead on this,” Fielder said.
Senator Rand Paul scolded Democrat Harry Reid last night for rhetoric Paul claims will lead to violence. Harry Reid called the Bundy Ranch supporters “domestic terrorists” several times this week after the standoff last weekend.
The Daily Caller reported:
Republican Senator Rand Paul called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “calm the rhetoric” on Cliven Bundy, arguing the Nevada senator’s “domestic terrorist” comment was “liable to stir up” the situation and lead to violence.
The Kentucky senator spoke Thursday night with Fox News’ Eric Bolling, who was filling in for Sean Hannity. “Is there any need to call Americans domestic terrorists?” Bolling asked.
“No, I think what we should all be calling for is for calmer heads to prevail,” Paul said. “I don’t want to see violence on either side.”
“There is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be,” Paul admitted. “But I don’t think calling people names is going to calm this down.”
“I think it’s liable to stir it up,” he continued. “So I think all parties – including Senator Reid – should calm the rhetoric a little bit. Let’s try to have a peaceful resolution to this.”
The EPA is in the process, right this very minute, of seizing control over all private land in the United States. They are following the United Nations blueprint, their minion Gina McCarthy is implementing it, and B. Hussein Obama is facilitating it.
Anywhere in America where it rains or where water collects or through which water moves will now, according to this new rule change they are implementing, be under their control. Not because Congress or the people give them that authority or jurisdiction, but simply because they are seizing the power. It is just another component of the illegitimate tyranny which is oppressing the American people.
On Tuesday the agency which operates as the misnamed Environmental Protection Agency unveiled their proposed change to the Clean Water Act, which would extend their regulatory control to temporary wetlands and waterways.
This definition consists of any water, including seasonal ponds, streams, runoff and collection areas and irrigation water. It could include runoff from watering your lawn, or puddles on your own property. They will control the presence of and can prohibit through regulation, your right to the water and your actions regarding water upon your own land. The opportunities for their abuse would be limitless.
Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, offered an understated precautionary objection stating, “The… rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history.”
The EPA proposal would extend their authority to include “pollution regulations” to “intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands” – which are created temporarily during wet seasons or following rainfall.
Recognize this for what it is America; The EPA is giving themselves legal jurisdiction to replace our rights with their permissions anywhere it rains or water exists.
They are expanding the same kind of California fish-based drought or Nevada tortoise land restrictions or Oregon spotted owl tyranny to every square inch of the United States.
The EPA is asserting that all ground water, whether temporary or not and regardless of size is part of the “waters of the United States.”
Their position is in contradiction to the Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006, restricting the EPA to flowing and sizeable, “relatively” permanent bodies of water such as “oceans, rivers, streams and lakes.” Of course, progressives just keep trying until they get what they want, and they never have enough.
The proposed rule change is now in a 90 day comment period during which they will assess just how much they can get away with, based upon public outcry and pushback.
Senator Vitter accused the EPA of “picking and choosing” their science and of attempting to “take another step toward outright permitting authority over virtually any wet area in the country.” He also warned that if approved, more private owners could expect to be sued by “environmental groups.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) shares Vitter’s concerns, warning of potential economic damage and questioning the EPA’s motivations.
She said, “[I]t appears that the EPA is seeking to dramatically expand its jurisdictional reach under the Clean Water Act. If EPA is not careful, this rule could effectively give the federal government control of nearly all of our state.
Of course, that is exactly what they are after, as well as 49 other states and territories.
Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza traveled to Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., on Friday to embark on a “fact-finding” mission. Prior to attending a “big rally” made up of hundreds of the cattle rancher’s supporters, D’Souza planned to talk to some of the people who Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has labeled “domestic terrorists.”
Broadcasting live from Bundy’s Nevada ranch on “The Kelly File,” he revealed that supporters – made up of men, women and children – were wearing “domestic terrorist” name tags on Friday. D’Souza said seeing children wearing the tags shows just how absurd Reid’s allegations are.
He also told Megyn Kelly that he is now “sensitive” to situations where an individual is targeted by the federal government because of his current case involving a violation of campaign finance law. Some have speculated he was targeted following his anti-Obama documentary.
“My case is going to trial in May and I am preparing for it. It’s created to in me a feeling of vulnerability and, of course, a sensitivity to these kinds of issues of justice,” he said. “But, of course, I didn’t have SWAT teams on me, I wasn’t in the sights of snipers – so I feel that these guys have been facing some real domestic terror from their own government and that’s a very scary idea here in America.”
The filmmaker behind “2016: Obama’s America” and the soon-to-be released film, “America,” told TheBlaze in a phone interview that he is “less concerned about the specifics of the case and whether [Bundy] paid his grazing fees” and more concerned about federal overreach and questions surrounding whether the government is treating all people and groups equally under the law.
“There is a big clash going on between people who see themselves as patriots standing up for the principles of 1776, equal rights under the Constitution, and the federal government,” D’Souza said. “We want to live in a country where Lady Justice is blind and you don’t have her looking out through just one eye.”
D’Souza also characterized Reid’s inflammatory remarks as a “vastly unjust portrayal of domestic terrorism.” He argued the senator is intentionally “stirring the pot” and called on President Barack Obama to condemn Reid’s statements and urge him to apologize.
However, that seemed unlikely to happen as Reid doubled down on his “terrorist” comments on Friday.
The conservative filmmaker urged Bundy and all of his supporters to refuse to let that kind of rhetoric cause them lose their cool. It’s the kind of case that can “make your emotions run away with you,” so both sides need to show restraint and prevent the situation from escalating into a Ruby Ridge-type of incident, he added.
One of the themes in his new documentary, “America,” which is scheduled to be released in June, revolves around “equal justice,” D’Souza said. That’s part of the reason he decided to make the trip to Nevada and try to figure out who Bundy and his supporters really are.
“The issue of equal justice transcends politics completely,” D’Souza told TheBlaze. “Unfortunately, there’s a sense that this core issue is being manipulated.”
He cited the Obama administration’s habit of selectively choosing which laws it enforces, bringing up same-sex marriage and federal immigration law as examples. The IRS targeting scandal also raises concerns about “equal justice” under the law.
As TheBlaze has previously reported, “Bundy reportedly owes the federal government roughly $1 million in grazing fees, an amount he accumulated after he “fired” the Bureau of Land Management in 1993 over its decision to turn public land into a protective habitat for the state’s desert tortoise.”
Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid refused to back down from his inflammatory branding of Cliven Bundy supporters as “domestic terrorists,” calling people who turned out to support the rancher “domestic, violent terrorist wannabes” on Friday and sparring with his Republican counterpart who labelled them “patriots.”
Reid took hits from many sides yesterday for his controversial comments – including from Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who called on Reid to “calm the rhetoric” or risk inciting real violence.
But instead of cooling it, Reid doubled down during an appearance with Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller on “What’s Your Point,” a local Las Vegas news program.
“Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is valid, he believes the United States is a foreign government,” Reid claimed. “He doesn’t pay his taxes, he doesn’t follow the law. He doesn’t pay his fees.”
“And if anyone thinks by any figment of their imagination that what happened up there last week was, people rallying to somebody that was oppressed,” he continued, “600 people came in, armed. They had practiced, they had maneuvered. They knew what they were doing.”
He noted that some of the protesters had set up firing positions opposite Bureau of Land Management agents, who had been menacing unarmed Americans with high-grade military weaponry for days.
“If there were ever an example of people who were domestic, violent terrorist wannabes, these are the guys,” he declared.
“But no one called Bundy a domestic terrorist,” Reid also hastened to add. “I said the people that came there were.”
Heller had a very different interpretation. “What Sen. Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots,” he asserted.
Reid hit back: “If these people think they’re patriots, they’re not,” he said. “I use that word typically. But if they’re patriots, we’re in big trouble.”
“Well it’s a pretty broad brush,” Heller countered. “Pretty broad brush when you have Boy Scouts there. You have veterans at the event. You have grandparents at the event.”
“I take more issue at the BLM coming in with a paramilitary army than individuals with snipers,” the Republican lawmaker. “And I’m talking to people and groups that were there at the event. And having your own government with sniper lenses on you, it made a lot of people very uncomfortable.”
“There was no army!” Reid replied. “And that land – 300,000 acres, federal land – has been basically decimated by this guy.”
A Republican congressman from Texas has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would stop the government from paying Attorney General Eric Holder’s salary.
Rep. Blake Farenthold’s “Contempt Act” would prohibit any federal employee who has been found in contempt of Congress from getting a taxpayer-funded paycheck.
In 2012, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt over his refusal to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
Farenthold specifically referenced Holder in his statement about the legislation.
“In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers,” the lawmaker said.
During a contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing last week with Holder, Farenthold alluded to the legislation: “If he continues to refuse to resign, my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary.”
Farenthold also noted how the House is expected to to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about her role in the agency’s targeting of conservative and tea party groups. But he noted that because Lerner has already resigned, this bill will not affect her.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” he said. “If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.”
Judicial Watch today released a new batch of internal IRS documents revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner communicated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013.
The newly released IRS documents contain an email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-Chief of Staff to then-Acting-IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The exchange includes the following:
May 8, 2013: Lerner to Flax
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ… He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folks [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s – saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs.
I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…
May 9, 2013: Flax to Lerner
I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?
Lerner then “handed off” scheduling the issue to Senior Technical Adviser, Attorney Nancy Marks, who was then supposed to set up the meeting with the DOJ. Lerner also decided that it would be DOJ’s decision as to whether representatives from the Federal Election Commission would attend.
Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had held a hearing on April 9 during which, “in questioning the witnesses from DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities.” Lerner described the impetus for this hearing in a March 27, 2013, email to top IRS staff:
As I mentioned yesterday – there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.
But in an email sent a few minutes earlier, Lerner acknowledged prosecutions would evidently be at odds with the law:
Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat – there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard.
The documents also include email exchanges showing that before Lerner’s May 10, 2013, speech to the American Bar Association blaming “low-level” employees in Cincinnati for targeting tax-exempt organizations, the IRS Exempt Organizations division was scrambling to defuse the emerging targeting scandal:
May 1, 2013: After receiving an email from an assistant showing that 501(c)(4) applications had increased from 1591 in 2010 to 3398 in 2012 , Lerner wrote back, “Looks to me like 2010-2012 doubled too. Oh well – thanks.”
May 2, 2013: Discussing an upcoming conference call with approximately 100 congressional staffers on May 22, Lerner cautions aides, “Need to be careful not to mention sequester/furlough unless asked although can allude to budget and resources restraints.”
May 2, 2013: In response to an email reminding her about the upcoming conference call with congressional staffers, Lerner responded, “Arrgh – I just saw it. Sharon [White] could skate, but Cindy [Thomas] is the person who could answer that stuff. We need to give them some type of language in the event that type of question comes up” [apparently in reference to earlier email referencing “sensitive issues”].
The new documents obtained by Judicial Watch also include emails exchanged after Lerner’s May 10 ABA speech:
May 10, 2013: In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she “can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum” who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that “The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.”
May 10, 2013: An email from former Cincinnati program manager Cindy Thomas excoriates Lerner for her comments blaming “low-level” employees in its Cincinnati office for targeting tax-exempt organizations that had “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names during the 2012 election. Highlighting the words “low-level workers” in bold-face type each of the seven times she used it in short, pungent email, Thomas asked, “How am I supposed to keep the low-level workers motivated when the public believes they are nothing more than low-level workers and now will have no respect for how they are working cases?” Lerner’s response nearly an hour later was a terse, “I will be back shortly and give you a call.”
May 15, 2013: In an email from an aide to Lerner, the aide specifically mentions “Tea Party Organizations”, the “Tea Party movement,” and “Tea Party Patriots” as organizations targeted by the IRS.
The Judicial Watch FOIA requests came on the heels of an explosive May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The IG probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).” According to the report, the illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
Lerner, who headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, refused to testify at a May 2013 hearing before Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House Oversight Committee, demanding immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Lerner retired from the IRS with full benefits on September 23 after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her ouster, according to news reports. On April 9, 2014, the Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution. On April 10, 2014, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”
In a bombshell article, the New York Times reported earlier today that the U.S. Census Bureau planned to radically alter its method of calculating the number of people without health insurance in the U.S. The result? The changes will be so radical that “it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.”
From the NYT:
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.
The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.
An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.
You know what else is due this fall? A big election in which the effects of Obamacare are sure to weigh on voters’ minds.
Don’t worry, though. Census officials said the timing of the change was “coincidental” and “unfortunate.” The latter is most certainly the case, but unfortunate for whom? Certainly not the White House, which mere days ago was bragging, Mission Accomplished-style, about how amazing the Obama implementation was going. Does anyone actually believe this White House would want to change and obscure favorable numbers in the weeks and months ahead of an election?
It turns out the suspiciously timed changes aren’t the only remarkable aspect of that NYT story. Apparently the government’s statisticians knew for some time that the old method of collecting data on the uninsured significantly overstated their numbers:
Census officials and researchers have long expressed concerns about the old version of insurance questions in the Current Population Survey.
The questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and is prone to “measurement errors,” said a working paper by statisticians and demographers at the agency.
So not only will the new numbers be close to useless when it comes to using them to figure out if Obamacare has had its intended effect, it turns out the old numbers – which the White House used to cram the law down America’s throat – were bogus as well. Heads they win, tails you lose. But remember: all of this is totally coincidental and really unfortunate.
Unrelated: remember that time the Obama administration tried to force the head of the Census Bureau to report directly to the White House, rather than to the Secretary of Commerce, as required by law?
President Obama has decided to have the director of the U.S. Census Bureau work directly with the White House, the administration said today, a move that comes as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct the 2010 census that will determine redistricting of congressional seats.
We’re sure that was just a coincidence, too.
As reported yesterday, hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.
Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.
According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.” Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle.
“If they do that kind of raid, I don’t believe there’s any way that could happen without bloodshed,” Mack told Swann.
Mack spoke about the tactic that protesters could use by putting women at the front of the line facing the federal agents to make them think carefully before opening fire.
“I would’ve gone next. I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here,” said Mack.
Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,” said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877.
Mack decried Nevada governor Brian Sandoval for declaring this situation unconstutional while doing nothing to stop it. “He could have called in the state’s national guard, could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy, that’s cowardly.”
Sheriff Mack also called out media including radio host Glenn Beck who he says is siding with the BLM on this issue.
“I can’t believe that there are some Americans, and some media like Glenn Beck, that are supporting the BLM in this and it’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Local rancher Cliven Bundy may have his cattle back, but his supporters say they are still preparing for an imminent threat.
Militia groups from all over the country say they are flocking to the Bundy ranch to protect the family from a feared federal government raid.
The Bureau of Land Management allowed Bundy to release his cattle Saturday, after they felt threatened.
Bundy now has a whole contingent of armed guards surrounding him 24 hours a day.
“They’re just there, trying to make sure something crazy doesn’t happen to him,” Bundy’s son Ammon Bundy said.
His security detail and family feel he is someone to be protected because of what the federal government could do.
“There were snipers on the hills and armed guards and you know, military forces with cameras all over.” Ammon Bundy said.
Cliven Bundy fears that the government could gather up again because they never reached a formal deal.
He is also trying to determine whether federal agents damaged any of his cattle before they released them.
The BLM only allowed the family to open up the gate of the pen where the animals were being held because officers were afraid of violence. As of now, no one has cleared him to take back his cattle for good.
Taking the stage to address supporters Monday, Bundy was quickly obscured behind his guards. The detail told 8 News NOW they are now patrolling the area 24 hours a day looking for federal snipers.
“You never know, you never know,” Ammon Bundy said.
According to the BLM, Bundy has allowed his cattle to graze public land illegally for the past 20 years. Following two court orders, the feds started rounding up the cattle last week.
The agency also says Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees for trespassing on federal lands since the 1990s.
Saturday, the BLM agreed to pull out of the area but hundreds of protesters flooded a BLM holding station, aiming to release hundreds of Bundy’s cattle.
Monday, Bundy says he never told his supporters to flood a federal cattle pen, using weapons. Members of Bundy’s security details say more militia groups are on their way and will be there for weeks to come.
Ammon Bundy says he was awake last night fearful the feds were going to come in and arrest his family.
No law enforcement have talked about arresting anyone in this dispute, and there is still no clear resolution to the fact that Bundy is grazing cattle on federal land without paying fees.
Clive Bundy may have prevailed over the weekend in his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management regarding his Nevada ranch and disputed ranch, but that’s just the first phase, according to Harry Reid.
“Well, it’s not over,” he told Reno’s KRNV. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it, so it’s not over.”
Last week, the BLM began rounding up Bundy’s cattle amid controversy over whether he owed the federal government millions in grazing fees for his cattle being on their land. Bundy and his supporters, who gathered in Bunkerville, Nev., say that the rancher and his family have had rights to the land for over a century.
With tensions high, the BLM and federal agents backed off on Sunday, prompting some to think Bundy had prevailed. Reid’s comments may mean the government’s withdrawal was temporary, or that it will take a different approach to addressing the situation.
Today’s the day Americans send their hard-earned tax dollars into the IRS. But this year, the IRS is going to receive something else: a lawsuit.
The Republican National Committee is suing the IRS. Why? Because they’ve failed to provide documents we’ve requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Last May, the RNC requested copies of IRS correspondence related to the targeting of conservative groups. We wanted to find out why they were targeted, what criteria were used to target them, and who gave the orders. Clearly, the IRS wasn’t going to come clean on its own, so, like others, we took action.
Since then, the IRS has delayed and delayed and delayed – for 226 business days. They have provided documents to other organizations, so we know they’re capable. But they still haven’t answered our request.
So we’re filing a lawsuit.
Americans deserve to know how the IRS interprets and enforces the tax laws – and why it would deliberately target people because of their values and beliefs.
We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records. On Tax Day especially Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they’re sending their taxes.
If the Obama administration doesn’t have anything to hide, why can’t they answer a simple request? Are they trying to cover up their actions? Are they taking cues from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who refuses to answer questions before Congress?
We have to keep fighting to hold the IRS and the administration accountable. It’s a simple issue of fairness. Americans deserve a government that treats them fairly. They shouldn’t be the victims of an administration that uses the IRS to go after its perceived political enemies.
The Obama administration surely hopes we forget about what happened and about what the IRS did to groups of Americans. We won’t forget. We’re going to keep working to expose what really happened – so that we can ensure it never happens again.
The North Carolina Board of Elections discovered THOUSANDS of residents who voted in both North Carolina and another state in the 2012 elections.
The investigation also found 81 deceased voters that had voter activity since they died.
But you wouldn’t know this from Barack Obama’s speech on Friday.
Obama decried “bogus” accusations of voter fraud in his speech Friday to the Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
The Hill reported:
President Obama labeled complaints about voter fraud “bogus” and accused Republicans of cynically trying to prevent Americans from accessing the polls in a fiery speech Friday at a civil rights forum hosted by Al Sharpton.
Obama argued that attempts in some states to impose new voter identification restrictions were actually efforts by Republicans to make “it harder, not easier to vote.” And the president said that while voter fraud should be prevented, it rarely occurred.
“So let’s be clear, the real voter fraud is the people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” Obama said.
Obama sad that the efforts betrayed a weakness within the Republican Party, saying his opposition needed to restrict poll access to remain competitive.
“If your strategy depends on fewer people showing up to vote, that’s not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness,” Obama said.
“What kind of political platform is that?” he added. “Why would you make that part of your agenda, preventing people from voting?”