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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Two Controversial Figures To Join Surveillance Panel

A White House panel established to review federal surveillance measures is set to include a controversial former administration official who once advocated government agents infiltrate chat rooms and online social networks, this column has learned.

Also reportedly slated to join the panel is a resigning CIA official fingered in the scandal surrounding the White House’s edited Benghazi talking points.

ABC News has reported that Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory czar, will be among what President Obama has called a “high-level group of outside experts” probing government surveillance programs.

Also slated to join the investigative body is recent acting head of the CIA, Michael Morell, who announced his resignation in June, the news network reported.

Obama announced the panel’s formation two weeks ago, stating at the time the group will “consider how we can maintain the trust of the people [and] how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse.”

Sunstein’s role in the panel may not go a long way toward inspiring confidence in the group. As this reporter previously reported, Sunstein once advocated infiltrating the chat rooms and social network sites of private citizens, actions similar to what the National Security Agency is now accused of doing.

In a 2008 Harvard law paper, “Conspiracy Theories,” Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule, a Harvard law professor, ask, “What can government do about conspiracy theories?”

They continue: “We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories,” the paper answers.

In the 30-page paper – obtained and reviewed by WorldNetDaily – Sunstein argues the best government response to “conspiracy theories” is “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.” Sunstein said government agents “might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”

Sunstein defined a conspiracy theory as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Conspiracy theories recommended for covert action by Sunstein include “the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.”

Morell, meanwhile, is also slated to join the panel probing government surveillance. Morell, who announced his resignation in June, may have misled lawmakers when he told senators in a briefing that references to terrorism and al Qaeda were removed from the White House’s Benghazi talking points to “prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.”

 

Obamacare Violates The Constitution, New Book Argues

Obamacare is not only unconstitutional, but illegally bypasses Congress, infringes on states rights, and marks an unprecedented and unauthorized expansion of IRS power, according to a new book released this week.

In Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office, this author quotes scholars and legal organizations contending that Obamacare constitutes a clear case of “taxation without representation.” The book also demonstrates that Obamacare may violate multiple sections of the Constitution.

While the Obama administration may argue that the healthcare legislation was upheld by the Supreme Court, Impeachable Offenses reports the White House has been hard at work changing the implementation of key sections of Obamacare without Congressional oversight.

The Supreme Court ruled the healthcare mandate constitutional by maintaining that the legislation is a tax. However, according to experts cited in Impeachable Offenses, this tax does not satisfy any one of the three types of valid constitutional taxes – income, excise, or direct.

In May 2012 the IRS released its final regulations that would “provide guidance to individuals who enroll in qualified health plans through Affordable Insurance Exchanges and claim the premium tax credit, and to Exchanges that make qualified health plans available to individuals and employers.”

Free-market advocate Phil Kerpen, cited in Impeachable Offenses, called the regulations an “outrageous edict that attempts to up-end the ability of states to opt out of [Obama’s] health care law’s new entitlement.”

A July 2012 announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offered states six full years of funding.  Was this maneuver constitutional? Article I, Section 1 states: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

Congress does not vest the power to write and rewrite laws in HHS and IRS; nor can unelected bureaucrats impose taxes on states that legitimately opted out of a federal program, Kerpen argues.

Impeachable Offenses cites Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, which states: “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The Sacramento, California-based Pacific Legal Foundation filed a challenge to ObamaCare contending that it is unconstitutional because the bill originated in the Senate, not the House.

The foundation claims that under the Origination Clause of the Constitution “all bills raising revenue must begin in the House.” The Justice Department claimed that the bill did not originate as a spending bill and therefore it does not violate the Origination Clause.

The bill, which began life as House Resolution 3590, then called the Service Members Home Ownership Act, was stripped of its contents after it passed in the House in a process known as “gut and amend.” The legislation was replaced entirely with the thousands of pages of what eventually became ObamaCare, and given a new name.

The Obama government’s position is that while using the resolution as a “‘shell bill’ may be inelegant…it’s not unconstitutional.”

The foundation’s response, as documented in Impeachable Offenses, was that “it is undisputed that H.R. 3590 was not originally a bill for raising revenue…. Unlike in the prior cases [cited by the Justice Department], the Senate’s gut-and-amend procedure made H.R. 3590 for the first time into a bill for raising revenue. The precedents the government cites are therefore inapplicable.”

An additional argument for the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare centers around the financial penalty it affixes on Americans who fail to purchase health insurance. Impeachable Offenses argues that Congress does not have the power under the Constitution to regulate behavior in this manner.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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