DOJ Banning Veterans From Owning Firearms In Surprising Numbers

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Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants to know why so many of our nation’s veterans are being barred from exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

In a letter dated this week to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley outlines his concerns that far too many veterans are being denied the right to purchase or own weapons due to an overly broad reporting policy adopted by the Department of Veterans Administration (VA). The senator noted that 99.3 percent of all names reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in “mental defective” category were supplied by the VA, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service Report.

A 2013 senate report mirrored this percentage, finding that the VA reported 83,000 veterans as “mental defective.”

The standard the VA is supposed to use in reporting veterans to the NICS is whether the veteran poses a risk to himself and/or others. However, according to Grassley:

The VA reports individuals to the gun ban list if an individual merely needs financial assistance managing VA benefits. Although the VA process is not designed to regulate firearm ownership, it results in veterans and their loved ones being barred from exercising their fundamental, Constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights.

The senator explains that the burden of proof actually falls on the veteran, not the VA, in proving competency to manage his or her benefits; and wrapped up in that determination is the veteran’s ability to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights.

Regardless, Grassley argues that competency to manage financial benefits and meeting the standard of not posing a risk to themselves or others in owning firearms are two separate issues.
“A veteran or dependent shouldn’t lose their constitutional rights, because they need help with bookkeeping,” he said.

In light of this current, overly broad VA reporting policy, the senator wants answers to the following questions from Holder:

1. Is the primary purpose of the NICS list to preclude firearm ownership and possession by individuals who are a danger to themselves and/or others? If not, what is the primary purpose of the NICS list?

2. Is the primary purpose of the VA’s reporting system to report the names of individuals who are appointed a fiduciary?

3. Out of all names on the NICS list, what percentage of them have been referred by the VA?

4. Do you believe that a veteran adjudicated as incompetent to manage finances and appointed a fiduciary is likewise mentally defective under the ATF standard? If so, what is the basis for that conclusion?

5. Does the standard employed by the VA to report names to the DOJ for subsequent placement on the NICS list comply with the protections of the Second Amendment? If so, please explain how, in light of due process concerns described above.

6. Given that the VA adjudication process can result in a complete infringement of a person’s fundamental Second Amendment right, do you believe that the use of the “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard is proper? If so, why?

7. Is the DOJ satisfied that all names reported from the VA for placement on the NICS are, in fact and in law, persons who should not own or possess a firearm because they are dangers to themselves and/or others? If so, what evidence supports that conclusion?

8. Given that 99.3% of all names in the NICS “mental defective” category are reported from the VA, has the DOJ reviewed the VA’s reporting standards and procedure? If so, please provide a copy of the review that took place. If no review took place, please explain why not.

9. What review process does DOJ have in place to ensure that names are properly on the NICS list?

10. How many individuals have appealed their placement on the NICS list? How many individuals were successful in their appeal?

11. In light of the fact that the Supreme Court has held the Second Amendment to be a fundamental right, has the DOJ changed any processes and procedures relating to the NICS system which were in existence prior to that holding?

12. Besides the VA, what other federal agencies have reported names to the NICS list since 2005? And how many names were reported by each agency since 2005?

Grassley requested that the attorney general have answers to his questions by April 30, 2015.


This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Bi-Partisan Group Of Senators Investigates Guest Worker Program Being Used To Take Americans’ Jobs

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Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are among a group of 10 senators seeking answers about the apparent abuse of the H-1B guest worker program by corporations.

The program is apparently being misused to lay off thousands of Americans and, in some instances, corporations are adding insult to injury by forcing workers to train their replacements.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, the senators called for a probe into the hiring and firing practices of companies taking advantage of the H-1B visa program.

In addition to Sessions and Durbin, the other senators who signed the letter include Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, David Vitter, R-La., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Among several questions the signatories have for the department heads is whether the companies involved with replacing American workers participated in illegal “citizen discrimination,” and whether these companies maintained an employer-employee relationship or used the H-1B program to hire contract employees at a lower rate.

The H-1B program is designed to bring in highly-skilled workers on a temporary basis to fill in a shortage in the American labor market. The visa holders can stay for up to six years, but must get paid the equivalent of American workers.

The senators cite Southern California Edison (SCE) as an example where hiring abuse using H-1B visas appears to be practiced. Former IT workers with the second largest utility company in the Golden State wrote testimonials to the senators about being fired and replaced with lower-paid guest workers, who they were forced to train.

As reported by Fox News:

“We had no choice in this,” one anonymous worker, who claimed to have been one of those let go from Southern California Edison, said. The worker described how, when the two vendors were picked – Infosys and TCS, both major Indian companies – SCE employees were told to “sit with, video chat or do whatever was needed to teach them our systems.”

One worker added, in a letter to the senators, “we would be fired and not receive a severance package” if they failed to train their replacements.

“Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an Edison employee wasn’t already performing,” another worker told Computer World.

SCE countered the complaints about replacing Americans with guest workers by stating that the company reduced its IT department by over 500 employees (from 1,400 to 860 workers), and of these, 97 percent are California residents and 3 percent are H-1B visa holders.

According to ComputerWorld, 65 percent of H-1B visa holders approved last year came from the computer-related fields.

A bi-partisan senate bill was introduced in January which would increase the H-1B visa cap from 65,000 per year to 195,000.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

REVEALED: These Two Huge Votes May Have Motivated Obama Admin To Target Dem Senator

Images Credit: Politico/Twitter

Powerful New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted on Wednesday on eight counts of bribery as well as conspiracy following a lengthy federal investigation into the alleged trading of political favors for gifts from a wealthy supporter.

It was a rare and extraordinary move by the Obama Justice Department, as The New York Times notes, “the first federal bribery charges against a sitting senator in a generation.”

The 61-year-old lawmaker has angrily denied the charges and vowed to fight them.

While the federal investigation into Menendez and his dealings with a political benefactor has been well known through the years it’s been going on, the indictment and its potential consequences for the senator’s political future, as well as possible imprisonment, have some wondering about the timing of the DOJ’s move against Menendez.

What’s reported by Politico and by The Hill provide interesting context for considering, “why now?”

Immediately after the announcement of the Menendez indictment on Wednesday, Politico reported that the New Jersey Democrat had made up his mind about voting to confirm President Obama’s pick to be the next U.S. attorney general.

In fact. the Politico piece notes in it’s opening sentence, “Loretta Lynch’s confirmation for attorney general may have been saved.”

Only last week — before the DOJ leveled the very serious charges against Menendez — the senator had indicated he was undecided on Lynch’s confirmation as the first black woman to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

Menendez’s support was critical because with his vote, combined with the rest of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the four declared Republican backers, put the number of votes for Lynch right at 50.

That means Lynch, currently the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, would be confirmed — provided that Vice President Joe Biden broke a tie.

Add to the sudden Menendez decision to support Loretta Lynch for the top job at Justice, the fact that his indictment means Congress’s chances of passing Iran legislation are now in doubt — legislation that President Obama doesn’t want to land on his desk.

The Hill reports on the critical consequence of the decision by Sen. Menendez to step aside as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

The Foreign Relations Committee is set to vote April 14 on the bill [Menendez] co-authored with [Sen. Bob] Corker calling for Senate review of an Iran [nuclear] deal.

If Menendez is out of the picture long-term, it could sap Democratic support for legislation that the White House has already threatened to veto.

The article in The Hill points out that the next most senior Democrat on the committee after Menendez is Sen. Barbara Boxer, “an ally of President Obama who opposes passing any Iran legislation before the final June 30 deadline in the talks.”

So, with a huge hammer hanging over the head of Robert Menendez — a hammer that could drop decades in prison on the senator if he’s found guilty of corruption — Obama appears to be in a much more controlling position on two items of great significance to his political agenda, as well as his legacy as president.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Justice Department Sues University In Oklahoma For Discriminating Against Transgender Employee

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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday it is suing a state university in Oklahoma because it denied a transgender professor a promotion, which subsequently led to the employee’s termination.

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Both the Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) are being sued by the DOJ for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the department announced in a statement Monday.

The reasoning was Southeastern discriminated “against a transgender employee on the basis of her sex and retaliating against her when she complained about the discrimination.” This is the background as told by the DOJ:

Rachel Tudor began working for Southeastern as an Assistant Professor in 2004.  At the time of her hire, Tudor presented as a man. In 2007, Tudor, consistent with her gender identity, began to present as a woman at work.

Throughout her employment, Tudor performed her job well, and in 2009, she applied for a promotion to the tenured position of Associate Professor. Southeastern’s administration denied her application, overruling the recommendations of her department chair and other tenured faculty from her department.

Tudor filed complaints in 2010 because she was denied tenure. She alleges she was denied the right to re-apply for tenure and promotion after the university learned of the complaints, in spite of the school’s policy allowing for re-application. After the 2010-11 school year, Tudor was fired because she did not have tenure.

“By standing beside Dr. Tudor, the Department of Justice sends a clear message that we are committed to eliminating discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

We will not allow unfair biases and unjust prejudices to prevent transgender Americans from reaching their full potential as workers and as citizens.  And we will continue to work tirelessly, using every legal tool available, to ensure that transgender individuals are guaranteed the rights and protections that all Americans deserve.

h/t: Reason

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Communist Van Jones Now Point Man For Koch Campaign

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When he left the Obama administration in disgrace, the expectation was that “former” communist Van Jones would return to Oakland, Calif., and resume his duties as an anti-police street activist. Instead, Jones, a former activist with the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), was hired as a “liberal” co-host of a new version of CNN’s debate show, Crossfire. Now, Jones has emerged as a point man for Koch Industries in a multi-million dollar campaign for “criminal justice reform.”

The spectacle of Jones appearing at a podium emblazoned with the company name “Koch Industries” became a reality last Thursday when the ACLU and the billionaire Koch brothers joined forces to sponsor an all-day “Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.” Jones orchestrated most of the conference, serving as a moderator and speaker.

While the conference included a few Republicans, there was clear evidence that the new “bipartisan” campaign is being directed from the Obama White House. Attorney General Eric Holder and senior White House officials had met with several prominent leaders of the effort on March 2.

In addition to Jones, who was forced to resign as White House “Green Jobs Czar” after his extremist background came to light, Holder was a featured speaker, calling for “a fundamental shift in our criminal justice system,” and “historic change.”

Known for his lawless actions, such as refusing to enforce federal anti-drug laws, Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding documents from them about Fast and Furious, the scandal involving a gun-running operation that put deadly weapons in the hands of narcotics traffickers from Mexico. He is also known for the “open borders” policy that has prevented a vigorous enforcement of immigration laws on the federal and state level.

Addressing an audience of about 500 people, Holder spoke of a “rare consensus emerging across the country,” adding, “Recently, we have seen conservative stakeholders like Koch Industries and Americans for Tax Reform join with progressive voices like the Center for American Progress to form a new coalition dedicated to this cause.”

The “cause,” based on what we witnessed at the all-day event, is to reduce prison populations in the name of fiscal restraint and liberal compassion.

The financial support from the Koch brothers gives this left-wing campaign a bipartisan appearance and may be intended to buy some goodwill from the “progressives” who normally target these billionaires.

But knowing of Holder’s involvement in the event and the evidence that he, in fact, helped orchestrate this conference, it was troubling to some conservative observers that members of Congress, such as Congressman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Republican governors such as Nathan Deal of Georgia, participated in this event.

Holder argued that the criminal justice system was racist against minorities, while Deal said the system was too costly and that many criminals can be re-educated, rehabilitated, and released.

Although Americans for Tax Reform was indeed listed as a sponsor, its head, Grover Norquist, was in the news for another reason. He is embroiled in a controversy over his alleged ties to Islamists, and gave an interview to Glenn Beck defending himself against the charges.

The Center for American Progress, another major player in the new “criminal justice reform” effort, is funded by the Open Society Foundations of billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros.

The new group Holder spoke about is called the Coalition for Public Safety, financed by $5 million from the Koch brothers and other “core supporters,” such as the liberal Ford Foundation. The group is run by Christine Leonard, a former Ted Kennedy Senate staffer once affiliated with the left-wing Vera Institute for Justice.

The Vera Institute is so extreme that its Project Concern had a National Advisory Board on Adolescent Development, Safety and Justice that included the former communist terrorist Bernardine Dohrn as an adviser from 1998 to 2003. Dohrn was accused of bombing a police station and killing a San Francisco police sergeant. However, she has never been brought to justice for her alleged role in this crime.

Though it tilted heavily toward the left, the new coalition and the conference had a sprinkling of conservatives, most notably former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. His firm, “Gingrich Productions,” was an official sponsor. Gingrich apparently became a friend of Van Jones when they appeared together on CNN’s Crossfire. Other conservatives or libertarians in attendance included Matt Kibbe, President/CEO of FreedomWorks, and Tim Head, Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.

In a joint statement, Gingrich and Jones declared, “Our over-reliance on prisons has failed America. It is past time for both political parties to come together and fix a bad system of their own making. We believe this moment offers a once-in-a generation opportunity for reforms that will save entire communities and transform the lives of millions of Americans. We must not let it pass.”

However, the well-documented book, Why Crime Rates Fell, by John E. Conklin, argues persuasively that crime reduction is due in large measure to putting more criminals in prison.

On one panel at the event, John Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation disputed the liberal notion advanced by Nicole Austin-Hillery of the Brennan Center for Justice that increased incarceration had no role in the drop in crime. He noted that economist Steven Levitt has estimated that approximately 25 percent of the decline in violent crime can be attributed to increased incarceration, and that Professor William Spelman has estimated that increased incarceration may be responsible for as much as 35 percent of the reduction in violent crime.

Following Governor Nathan Deal as a speaker was Piper Kerman, a convicted drug-money launderer who wrote Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a book made into a television series by Netflix.

Dr. Tina Trent, an advocate for victims of crime, is watching this campaign go forward with a lot of questions and suspicion. She was writing about the campaign for “criminal justice reform” when it was primarily underwritten by Soros. She discovered that the group Critical Resistance, a Soros-funded activist group founded by long-time communist Angela Davis, had invented the “cop-watch concept” that would be popularized by Jones in Oakland through a group called Bay Area Police Watch. Davis wrote Are Prisons Obsolete?, a book arguing that criminals are victims of capitalist society.

Trent says the campaign is well underway and aims to eliminate the death penalty, life without parole sentences, “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and other changes that states have passed over the last 20 years to reduce violent crime. Another goal is to expand voting rights for felons, who are expected to show their gratitude by voting Democratic.

She says the movement also aims to “ban the box”—a reference to removing the criminal record question from job applications—and legalize dangerous, mind-altering drugs. In this context, the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance was another “partner” in the “bipartisan summit.”

Trent has also highlighted the Soros-funded effort to “radicalize” prisoners while they are incarcerated.

The campaign to target the prisons for revolutionary purposes is actually an old one. The House Internal Security Committee in 1973 published a report, “Revolutionary Target: The American Penal System,” which examined how “groups committed to Marxist revolutionary theories and tactics were exploiting the popular issue of prison reform and had become a source of the unrest then afflicting many of the nation’s prisons.”

A different approach and analysis of what has to be done about the crime problem is being taken by veteran journalist Colin Flaherty in his new book, Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry. Flaherty argues that the Obama/Holder narrative of the alleged “racial victimization” of blacks by whites ignores the black-on-white violence that has become an epidemic across the country.

Rather than empty the prisons, he argues, more criminals need to be apprehended and punished.

Black crime rates are “astronomically out of proportion” to their presence in the population, he points out. But the media “ignore, condone and deny it.” Obama, he adds, is a “willing partner” in the deception.

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom