BY DAN BONGINO
When the government rules by illegitimate means, is it legitimate to peacefully stand in defiance and disobey? The answer to this question is a reluctant “yes.”
I have thought about this question for a long time and, as a former police officer and federal agent who pledged his life to upholding and enforcing the law, I take this call to action very seriously.
In a piece out yesterday by Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party, a group victimized by the IRS targeting scandal, she summarizes the despicable behavior of IRS officials since the inception of the congressional inquiry into the targeting scandal. Did you know that the IRS destroyed the backup tapes containing emails written by Lois Lerner and others, seven months AFTER the order to preserve the tapes was given? My life is political activism but, after the torrent of news emanating from the Supreme Court and from the overseas terror attacks, I nearly missed this stunning piece of information. Is this the act of a government worthy of our respect?
Combine this outrageous development in the IRS scandal with the recent Supreme Court rulings declaring that the Court has the power to unilaterally rewrite and reinterpret laws to further a destructive political agenda, and we now have a government free from any constitutional restraint, and American citizens living under the yoke of it. Although none of this happened overnight, the pace by which the liberty train is speeding away from the station is rapidly accelerating.
Fighting back strictly through the political process has proven to be effective only in delaying the day of reckoning and it is now clear that we must take from the new political aristocracy what they crave most: legitimacy and acceptance. We must pursue parallel tracks for change to restrain this out-of-control government both through the formal political process and public action.
It is time to fully embrace an Article V Convention of the States to reestablish the powers of the states and re-impose clear limits on the growing federal monolith.
If the far Left and their political overseers deem it appropriate to weaponize the IRS to assault their political opponents – to attack Christians for the sincere exercise of their religious beliefs, to use the machine of government to force free American citizens, against their will, to spend their limited financial resources to purchase government sanctioned health insurance at the expense of the health of themselves and their families, and to bankrupt the nation through a mathematically certain tax-and-spend formula for misery – then it’s time to consider open defiance to take back what has been lost.
It is time to fully embrace an Article V Convention of the States to reestablish the powers of the states and re-impose clear limits on the growing federal monolith. Former Reagan administration official, conservative activist, and popular radio show host Mark Levin has been passionately advocating for this approach since the release of his bestselling book The Liberty Amendments.
The far Left worships at the altar of inescapable federal power because they fully understand that when states act as separate incubators of policy, that Americans will choose economic, healthcare, religious, and educational freedom. And the resulting exodus from deep blue states anchored to an anti-liberty approach will discredit their agenda and destroy the patina of a public imprimatur and their false air of legitimacy. Federal power prevents an easy escape from the far Left agenda and subjects all Americans to their destructive agenda, regardless of how much they resist. And, while I appreciate the passionate advocacy opposing a convention on the grounds that it could result in a “runaway convention,” I counter by asserting that we are already living with a government engaging in a de facto ongoing constitutional convention by ignoring the plain language of the law and the Constitution to impose an increasingly liberal agenda which is dissolving individual liberty and freedom.
History has proven, without question, that when government by discretion, rather than by law is allowed to continue unchallenged, that the result is a dangerous concentration of power in a zero sum battle for freedom.
Secondly, the likelihood of 38 states ratifying a radical amendment is low given the current political power of the Republican Party. As the Supreme Court made clear with their recent rulings on Obamacare, marriage, and housing, the country is already free from its constitutional moorings and is charting a dangerous new course towards rule by men, not law. History has proven, without question, that when government by discretion, rather than by law is allowed to continue unchallenged, that the result is a dangerous concentration of power in a zero sum battle for freedom.
In the short-run, now is the time for peaceful and responsible civil disobedience. The Obama administration has been engaging in non-civil, and constitutional disobedience for many years now through their usurpation of power and their weaponizing of the tools of government. And, with a largely feckless response from a frightened and shell-shocked Republican Congress, it is up to conservatives to blaze the trail forward. If our elected Republican leadership refuses to lead, then we will demonstrate to their timid souls what bravery and sacrifice look like.
Pastors and spiritual leaders need to stand in defiance of the ongoing attacks on people of faith and speak boldly and proudly.
It is now incumbent upon conservatives to take every opportunity to respectfully and peacefully protest the attacks on our liberty and freedom. When told to sit down at town hall meetings, refuse to do so until your questions are answered. Continue to boldly question the politicians supporting this new post-constitutional path forward even as you are dragged out in protest.
As a Secret Service agent I witnessed firsthand the power of a small group, unafraid of the legal consequences, to influence and change policy by refusing to be silenced. Pastors and spiritual leaders need to stand in defiance of the ongoing attacks on people of faith and speak boldly and proudly. Let the government further discredit itself by asking an already discredited IRS to silence the millions of American voices of faith crying out to be left alone by the power-hungry, Washington DC cocktail party crowd.
When I walked away from a position I loved as a special agent with the United States Secret Service I left behind a lifetime of financial security to fight back by running for office. I didn’t prevail but I never gave up that fight and when my wife and I, as a result of our decision to walk away, came across difficult financial times we knew the sacrifice was worth it.
Faith teaches us that sacrifice is the only ticket to the second creation and we are all going to have to sacrifice something. Small acts of disobedience in the face of the existential threats we face to our constitutional republic are a small price to pay to defend the most blessed and prosperous country in mankind’s history. We were gifted this country by prior generations who sacrificed their lives, limbs and treasures to ensure we remain that shining light on the hill. It’s up to us to ensure that the light never dims.
by JOHN HAYWARD21 Jun 2015114
Heading into the weekend, we learned the Chinese hackers who hit the Office of Personnel Management had a whole year to root around in the security clearance database. Now we find out they were “root” while they were doing it.
The New York Times delivers news that will chill the bones of anyone who knows anything about system administration:
Undetected for nearly a year, the Chinese intruders executed a sophisticated attack that gave them “administrator privileges” into the computer networks at the Office of Personnel Management, mimicking the credentials of people who run the agency’s systems, two senior administration officials said. The hackers began siphoning out a rush of data after constructing what amounted to an electronic pipeline that led back to China, investigators told Congress last week in classified briefings.
Much of the personnel data had been stored in the lightly protected systems of theDepartment of the Interior, because it had cheap, available space for digital data storage. The hackers’ ultimate target: the one million or so federal employees and contractors who have filled out a form known as SF-86, which is stored in a different computer bank and details personal, financial and medical histories for anyone seeking a security clearance.
“This was classic espionage, just on a scale we’ve never seen before from a traditional adversary,” one senior administration official said. “And it’s not a satisfactory answer to say, ‘We found it and stopped it,’ when we should have seen it coming years ago.”
This is catastrophic news, because it means the hackers had access to pretty much everything at the incompetently-managed OPM.
It’s amazing to watch agency officials sleepwalk through congressional hearings with a hey, whaddaya gonna do? attitude, secure in the knowledge nobody ever faces consequences for failure in the Obama Administration, when the damage is this breathtaking. (The NYT article has a few lowlights from those hearings, including Democrats losing their cool with hapless OPM director Katherine Archuleta and describing her agency as seeming like “deer in the headlights.”)
Not only has the American human intelligence system been disastrously compromised around the world, but back here at home, the intel community is going to be playing defense for years to come, worried sick about how many government employees with security clearances might have been approached for recruitment or blackmail by China and its allies.
Administrator privileges for the hackers as they wander through the outrageously insecure OPM data wonderland also means the risk of secondary penetration is higher – the hackers might have begun tunneling into every system OPM touched, which means just about every system.
The Administration is scrambling to figure out which of its other organs might have been targeted by the intruders. It’s a long list, as the Times notes that an audit last year “harshly criticized lax security at the Internal Revenue Service, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission — and the Department of Homeland Security, which has responsibility for securing the nation’s critical networks.”
The NYT recalls Nuclear Regulatory Commission employees getting in trouble for leaving vital information lying around on unsecured network drives and laptop computers they actually managed to lose track of, while IRS employees have been known to use passwords such as “password,” the SEC had some completely unprotected components in its system, and auditors managed to penetrate what passes for security at the Department of Education (chock full of personal information from millions of student loan applicants!) without breaking a sweat.
The New York Times confirms something I’ve been saying since Day One of this crisis: the incredibly valuable trove of data stolen by these hackers has never been posted for sale on the black market, meaning the thieves are leaving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. That strongly suggests this was a state-sponsored intelligence operation, conducted with an eye toward fueling both human-intelligence efforts and further hacking attacks.
The tactics used by the hacking crew could prove effective at any of the vulnerable agencies mentioned by the New York Times. We’ve learned previously that they had some valid user names and passwords for the OPM system, which could have been gleaned through some combination of human intelligence (i.e. a Chinese agent getting valid user credentials from sources in the U.S. government, or possibly even Chinese agents working for the OPM as contractors) and “phishing,” the practice of using malware spread by email and phony websites to harvest passwords from unsuspecting targets.
On Sunday, Reuters published a look at the enigmatic crew believed to be behind the OPM hack, and attacks using similar methods on targets such as the Anthem health insurance company. Known by a variety of designations to cyber-security experts – PinkPanther, KungFu Kittens, Group 72, Deep Panda, Shell Crew – they’re more subtle than the regular Chinese People’s Liberation Army hacking crew, which has been robbing U.S. industry blind of intellectual property for years.
The Shell Crew has a fondness for using compromised email accounts to blast out emails laced with malware, including a rare virus strain known as “Sakula,” designed to harvest a rapidly snowballing pile of data from a string of users. They’ve been known to employ brute-force hacking methods to gain initial access to a system, but once they’re inside, they love nothing better than to bombard the employees and associates of a penetrated operation with emails, purportedly from trusted sources, that trick them into clicking links to virus-delivery websites. For example, if they got into Hillary Clinton’s illegal, insecure email server, the people on Clinton’s email list would begin receiving correspondence that looked like it came from the former Secretary of State, but was actually bait to lure the users into the Shell Crew’s clutches.
They’ve also set up some “watering hole” attacks, in which a phony website that looks very much like a legit site, with an address very similar to what a legit site would use, is packed full of malware and set like a mousetrap for unsuspecting users.
The Reuters article notes that Shell Crew operations usually take place in two stages: an exploratory or reconnaissance stage, in which the hackers check out the penetrated system, get a feel for what kind of data it contains, and put a high priority on avoiding detection, followed by a more active raiding stage where they begin stealing large amounts of data, seemingly after they’ve consulted with some other authority and been given a shopping list of what to take.
They don’t usually get to take such a huge amount of information, because as soon as the targets suspect they have been compromised, they roll through standard security precautions such as resetting firewalls and requiring all users to change their passwords. Phishing attacks are normally conducted on a tight timetable… but not at the OPM, where the staggering incompetence of this Administration gave the hackers all the time in the world to take whatever they wanted, and set up any additional operations they pleased. Is it possible to believe additional operations using the pilfered OPM data, especially that juicy security clearance info, aren’t already in progress… or possibly even completed?
Today I proposed the most sweeping reform to the American tax code in over a century: an over two trillion dollar tax cut that lowers taxes for every American and eliminates the current seven tax bracket structure.
Decades of entrenched corruption and over 70,000 pages of rules and regulations created a confused, torturous and unsalvageable tax code. I believe we needed to start over with a plan that’s simple, fair, and cuts taxes for all Americans.
This plan—the “Fair and Flat Tax Plan”—destroys an industry of lobbyists and lawyers gaming the system and makes everyone, rich and poor, file the same low tax rate of 14.5 percent on a one-page tax return.
In my plan, the first thing we’ll do is eliminate the most burdensome tax to workers, the FICA/workers tax. That means every single American will keep thousands of dollars more in their paycheck each year. The Fair and Flat Tax Plan also gets rid of the estate tax and all customs duties and tariffs. The plan retains the child and earned income tax credits and home mortgage and charitable deductions while eliminating all other tax credits and deductions.
For too long, politically connected cronies get taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions while poor families across America continue to suffer a disproportionate tax burden. The Fair and Flat Tax Plan ends corporate welfare by making all businesses accountable to the same 14.5 percent tax rate.
No more special tax breaks manipulated by privileged crony capitalists. No more billion dollar multi-national companies hiding income in tax shelters to pay zero while self-employed freelancers and workers dependent on tips for income face double-digit taxation. And unlike last year, never again will 29 of the CEOs of America’s 100 largest companies net more individual salary than their respective companies pay in total federal income tax.
Business benefit from how my plan will simplify deductions by getting rid of current expense depreciation schedules and making capital expenses deductible in the first year. By reducing the tax burden on businesses, we’d make America a competitive tax environment and start to welcome home iconic American brands—including Burger King, Bausch and Lomb, and Medtronic—that fled America’s high 39 percent corporate tax rate for a more competitive tax address.
This sweeping tax cut doesn’t abandon the critical goal of balancing the budget. I introduced a similar sized tax cut in 2014. This plan completely reduced the deficit and balanced the budget in five years, and still added $120 billion dollars to defense spending. It is entirely possible to cut taxes, protect our country, and balance the budget if we are willing to stand up to the Washington Machine.
According to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, my tax plan turns back the stagnation of the last decade and jump-starts the economy. It turns out that taking tax dollars from the Washington Machine and putting back with American families benefits our economy. The Tax Foundation estimates that in ten years my plan raises worker pay by 6 percent, increases the GDP by about 10 percent, and creates 1.4 million jobs.
The core principle of the Fair and Flat Tax Plan is to reward Americans working hard to achieve the American dream. I have a vision for an America where everyone, rich, poor, the working families in this room and families all across America have a level playing field. The Fair and Flat Tax Plan will reward Americans working hard to achieve their dreams.
By Curtis Houck | June 16, 2015 | 9:13 PM EDT
The top English and Spanish networks refused on Tuesday evening to cover the findings of a federal audit report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) that concluded that just under $3 billion in ObamaCare subsidies have been unable to be properly verified that, according to the audit, puts taxpayer funding “at risk.”
While English-language networks ABC, CBS, and NBC partnered with Spanish-language networks MundoFox, Telemundo and Univision to ignore this story, the Fox News Channel (FNC) program Special Report devoted a one-minute-and-48-second segment to the IG’s findings.
Fill-in anchor Doug McKelway pointed out that the report comes as “we await a Supreme Court decision that could have a huge impact on ObamaCare” and revealed “just how much confusion the President’s health care law is causing with book keepers.”
In a live shot from the White House, correspondent Kevin Corke explained that the 39-page report contained “a number of recommendations about how to deal with a potential accounting gap between what the administration has been paying insurers under ObamaCare and what it may ultimately end up owing.”
Corke detailed how “[t]he problem actually lies in the healthcare.gov web site and its unfinished back end” where insurers are supposed to “communicate enrollee information with [the] federal government,” but have not been fully able to do so to the tune of “almost $2.8 billion in subsidies or tax credits to insurers in just the first four months of 2014.”
Here’s more from the Washington Free Beacon’s (and MRC alum) Elizabeth Harrington:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit Tuesday finding that the agency did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.
“[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of nearly $2.8 billion in aggregate financial assistance payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act during the first four months that these payments were made,” the OIG said.
“CMS’s system of internal controls could not ensure that CMS made correct financial assistance payments,” they said.
The OIG reviewed subsidies paid to insurance companies between January and April 2014. The audit found that CMS did not have a process to “prevent or detect any possible substantial errors” in subsidy payments.
The OIG said the agency did not have a system to “ensure that financial assistance payments were made on behalf of confirmed enrollees and in the correct amounts.”
Instead of covering this troubling development, ABC’s World News Tonight devoted one minute and 16 seconds over the course a tease and full report previewing game six of the NBA Finals and showing video of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James when he was 16 years old.
DOUG MCKELWAY: As we await a Supreme Court decision that could have a huge impact on ObamaCare, new information on just how much confusion the President’s health care law is causing with book keepers. Correspondent Kevin Corke is at the White House tonight. Good evening, Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE: Hey Doug, good evening to you. The IG report, the Inspector General’s report, is 39-pages-long and in it are a number of recommendations about how to deal with a potential accounting gap between what the administration has been paying insurers under ObamaCare and what it may ultimately end up owing. Now, here’s how it works. The problem actually lies in the healthcare.gov web site and its unfinished back end. That’s the part of the website that allows insurers to communicate enrollee information with federal government, you know, offices, but the problem is it simply hasn’t been completed and so, that means we don’t know how bad is. I mean, the fact is it was even worse back when ObamaCare rolled out back in 2014 and just to give you an idea of the scope we’re dealing with here, the IG reported that the government doled out almost $2.8 billion in subsidies or tax credits to insurers in just the first four months of 2014, back when ObamaCare launched.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: The administration takes very seriously the mandate that we have to both be good stewards of taxpayer dollars but also make sure that those citizens across the country who qualified for subsidies that make their health care more affordable, that they get that tax credit.
CORKE: Meanwhile, the HHS is also weighing in on this. Communications Director Megan Smith saying, quote, “we are committed to continuing to improve our processes and will work with the inspector general to implement their recommendations.” Now, we are also told tonight, Doug, that the site review is ongoing and as for that back end fix? They say it is in the works. Back to you.
MCKELWAY: Kevin Corke on the North Lawn. Thank you, Kevin.
The Internal Revenue Service found 6,400 more Lois Lerner emails — but they’re not handing them over in court.
The IRS’ latest excuses are nothing short of infuriating.
Department of Justice lawyers Geoffrey J. Klimas and Stephanie Sasarak, acting as counsel for the IRS, submitted a U.S. District Court filing June 12 in the case Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service. The court filing, provided to The Daily Caller, claims the IRS received new Lerner emails from the Treasury Department’s inspector general (TIGTA) but can’t fork over the emails to Judicial Watch, a nonprofit group suing to get the emails. Why? Because the IRS is busy making sure that none of the emails are duplicates – you know, so as not to waste anyone’s time.