Constitutional Concerns

Obama’s DHS pick is ex-Pentagon attorney: Specialties include cybersecurity and drone strikes

President Obama plans to nominate former Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson as the next secretary of Homeland Security, a White House official said Thursday.

Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department during Obama’s first term, will be introduced by the president at a ceremony on Friday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would replace Janet Napolitano, who left the administration to run the University of California education system.

“The president is selecting Johnson because he is one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the world,” the official said.

The official said that during his tenure at the Defense Department, Johnson exhibited “sound judgment” and provided “prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the president and secretary of Defense.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet made his public announcement.

Johnson would be the fourth head of the Department of Homeland Security, created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The White House official described Johnson as “a critical member of the president’s counterterrorism team,” and someone who worked closely with Homeland Security officials during his years at the Pentagon.

His specialties include cybersecurity, the official said. He played a key role in repealing the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly gay servicemembers.

Johnson, who left his Pentagon post in 2012, also provided legal guidance in the use of unmanned drones against terrorism suspects overseas, and in the use of military commissions — rather than civilian courts — to try suspects.

The Homeland Security nominee also led a crackdown on unauthorized news leaks at the Defense Department, including a warning to a former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

During a speech at Britain’s Oxford University last year, Johnson said that the nation’s war on terrorism should not be endless, and the focus should shift to law enforcement and intelligence operations.

“War must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs,” Johnson said. “In its 12th year, we must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the new normal.”

These and other subjects could well surface at a Senate confirmation hearing.

Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First, said Johnson “grappled with the challenges of protecting national security while respecting human rights and upholding American ideals” during his time at the Pentagon.

“These are key issues in the Department of Homeland Security, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with him should he be confirmed to lead DHS,” she said in a statement.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticized Obama for nominating a “loyalist and fundraiser” to lead what he called a “mismanaged” department.

“This is deeply concerning,” Sessions said. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

An early political supporter of Obama, Johnson — a native of Wappingers Falls, N.Y. — also served as general counsel to the Air Force during President Clinton’s administration.

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by USA Today
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US Army defines Christian ministry as 'domestic hate group'

US Army defines Christian ministry as ‘domestic hate group’

Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values. The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis,… Read more →

Emails released Wednesday revealed that Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS’ top ObamaCare official, advised White House executive staff on legal challenges from groups claiming the HHS contraception mandate violated their religious freedom. Redactions in the emails indicate they contained confidential taxpayer information.

Prior to heading the IRS office in charge of implementing ObamaCare, Ingram directed the office responsible for overseeing tax-exempt nonprofit groups, the same office that has been accused of targeting conservative, pro-life, and Tea Party groups.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that the emails, which were released by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, demonstrate that Ingram and others at the IRS violated the agency’s role as an impartial administrator of the tax code by counseling the White House about an issue that is both political and controversial.

Currently, there are 73 cases and over 200 plaintiffs that represent church organizations, hospitals, universities, businesses, schools, and individuals who have filed lawsuits against HHS based on the claim that the contraception mandate is unconstitutional and infringes upon religious liberty.

Several names and blocks of text are redacted in the emails, with notations citing section 6103 of the IRS Code that prohibits the release of tax return information by IRS agents.

In emails sent July 20, 2012 from White House official Jeanne Lambrew to Ingram and White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, and copied to Health Care Counsel at IRS Catherine Livingston and IRS Manager in Exempt Organizations David Fish, Lambrew wrote:

Thanks. David, thank you for the information on [6103]

I am still hoping to understand whether the 50 percent rule is moot if the organization does not offer goods and services for sale to the general public. Do we assume that organizations like [6103] do offer goods and services for sale? Does any fee for any service mean it meets this test?

Thanks again.

Another from Lambrew:

Thanks. One more.

It looks like Rev. Proc 2011-15, 2011-3, IRS 322 says that an organization is assumed to be internally supported unless it both meets the 50 percent test and “offers admissions, goods, services, or facilities for sale, other than on an incidental basis, to the general public…” The question is: [6103] does not meet the “for sale” prong of the test, so since it fails to meet that, why isn’t it considered an integrated auxiliary?

This is time sensitive – possible to get an answer by noon? Thanks.

On July 19, 2012, Hall wrote (in italics), in response to Lambrew’s questions:

I have tried to collect the 6033 questions to ensure you have what I have from the team. I realize that there have been interim calls and that Treasury OTP is handling the church plan questions. Jeanne’s latest questions are at the end.

Can you help us out quickly with the below three questions on non-filers of 990s:

1. Are schools automatically exempt from filing? See the [6103] and the [6103]below order. These schools, while exempt from filing, would not meet the reg’s religious employer test unless they are a church or integrated auxiliary of a church.

Colleges would generally be required to file Forms 990…

(The large, well known [6103] universities –e.g., [6103] – do not appear to be part of the [6103] group ruling. They also file returns.)

2. Would a free standing groups of schools like the [6103] file 990s? See link below.

Each entity would have to be evaluated separately to determine whether it had an exemption from filing. These schools appear to qualify under the exception for schools below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order. Again these schools, while they could be exempt from filing, would not meet the religious employer test unless they are a church or integrated auxiliary of a church.

3. The [6103] letter refers to [6103]…” What does that mean? Can you give an example of this type of organization?

Very generally, these organizations, under the control of the church (not Goldman’s or Fidelity) manage the church’s investment portfolio or retirement fund that covers the ministers and employees. As noted in the USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] letter, these organizations qualify for an exemption from filing only if they meet the test for “integrated auxiliary.”

[6103]

Ingram testified before the oversight committee Wednesday, stating she could not recall what was underneath the redactions, and adding that she was simply advising the White House on the current IRS rules.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) hammered Ingram on the sharing of American taxpayers’ personal information:

Jordan: In that correspondence that resulted in most of those cases being dismissed, you shared personal taxpayer information with the White House. And now under the Affordable Care Act, Americans have to give personal information to the IRS—to the same organization that potentially shared all kinds of information with the White House political people. That’s what people are nervous about. That’s what scares a lot of people.

Ingram: I cannot answer what is under those blocks, so I can’t answer whether that information originated with the White House.

Jordan: So it was OK for political White House to get the unredacted version from the same entity that targeted groups who came into existence because they opposed the Affordable Care Act, but Congress can’t get it? That’s unbelievable.”

Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, a nonprofit government accountability organization that has sued the IRS over similar documents, said, “If in fact the White House received confidential taxpayer information, then we have a White House that is complicit in the biggest violation of the law since Nixon.”

When Cause of Action filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents requested by the White House from the IRS that fell under section 6103, the IRSresponded it had “no record of request from the White House or President of the United States pursuant to IRS 6103(g)(1).”

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has requested unredacted versions of the emails, citing a prohibition from using section 6103 “for the purpose of concealing information from a congressional inquiry.”

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by the Conservatives at Breitbart

MSNBC Host Declares the Present Crisis to Be ‘the Constitution’s Fault’

“We are right now, as we speak, as you listen to my voice, headed towards a full-blown constitutional crisis,” Hayes declared. “That’s the growing consensus among a number of extremely astute political observers.”

Hayes displayed a graphic noting that these “astute” analysts of modern American politics write for such publications as The Washington Post, Slate, and New York magazine.

Those scholars argue, Hayes says, that “the political dysfunction that has brought about the shutdown and now threatens default, isn’t so much gridlock. It is exposing the fatal flaw in our Constitution and highly distinct system of government.”

Police arrest 8 Democratic House members at immigration rally

Police arrest 8 Democratic House members at immigration rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least eight Democratic members of the House were among about 200 people arrested Tuesday after they blocked a main street near the Capitol during a massive rally seeking to push Republicans to hold a vote on a stalled immigration reform bill. Police would not identify those arrested. Representatives of the social policy organization Center for Community… Read more →

Pentagon Sued for Documents of Anti-Christian Activist

Pentagon Sued for Documents of Anti-Christian Activist

I recently wrote about a Judicial Watch lawsuit seeking records from the Obama Defense Department regarding the U.S. Air Force’s decision to remove the words “So help me God” from the oath given to USAF inductees. This shocking departure from history and the U.S. Constitution may seem to be from out of left field for many of you, but it will… Read more →

On Monday, TruthRevolt Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro appeared on Fox News to discuss the government shutdown, explaining, “The problem is that you keep racking up the credit card bill as long someone extends you a line of credit…The president has a severe problem, which is that if he allows us to go over the debt limit, we’re going to watch our bond rating tumble, we’re going to watch the economy collapse. It’s going to be on his watch.

“Now,” Shapiro continued, “he is a lame duck president, and he is hoping he can blame that on Congress. But the bottom line is that he’s still the president of the United States, and this is still his economy.”

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by the Conservatives at Truth Revolt

Illegal immigrants allowed to practice law in California

Illegal immigrants allowed to practice law in California

(Reuters) – Illegal immigrants can be licensed to practice law in California under one of eight bills expanding immigrant rights that were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday. The California Supreme Court, which finalizes requests of applicants to be licensed as a lawyer in California, is now authorized to approve qualified applicants regardless of their immigration status. Other new… Read more →