In the USA...United Surveillance AmericaMicrosoft ordered to produce overseas customer email addresses by US judge
Microsoft and others had challenged a criminal search warrant for the emails, in case that drew concern from privacy groups
Reuters in New York
theguardian.com, Thursday 31 July 2014 22.10 BST
Microsoft Corp must turn over a customer’s emails stored in a data center in Ireland to the US government, a US judge ruled on Thursday in a case that has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies.
Microsoft and other US companies had challenged a criminal search warrant for the emails, arguing federal prosecutors cannot seize customer information held in foreign countries.
But following a two-hour court hearing in New York, US District Judge Loretta Preska said the warrant lawfully required the company to hand over any data it controlled, regardless of where it was stored.
“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” Preska said.
The judge said she would temporarily suspend her order from taking effect to allow Microsoft to appeal to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The case appears to be the first in which a corporation has challenged a US search warrant seeking data held abroad.
It comes amid a debate over privacy and technology that erupted last year when former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the government’s efforts to collect huge amounts of consumer data around the world.
AT&T Inc, Apple Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Verizon Communications Inc all submitted court briefs in support of Microsoft, along with the privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The companies are worried they could lose billions of dollars in revenue to foreign competitors if customers fear their data is subject to seizure by US investigators anywhere in the world.
In a statement, Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, said the company would appeal.
“The only issue that was certain this morning was that the district court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process,” he said.
Thursday’s ruling concerned a warrant New York prosecutors served on Microsoft for an individual’s emails stored in Dublin, Ireland. A magistrate judge in April ruled the warrant was valid.
It is unclear what type of investigation led to the warrant, which remains under seal.
US companies say they have been hurt by fears about government intrusion: companies such as Cisco, Qualcomm Inc , International Business Machines Corp, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co reported declines in China sales since the Snowden leaks.
European telecom carriers such as Orange and Deutsche Telekom started pitching local data storage soon afterward, and companies from start-up Silent Circle to software giant SAP SE have also sought to capitalize.
In August last year, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimated the Snowden revelations could cost the American cloud computing industry $22bn to $35bn over the next three years.
US judges are grappling with privacy concerns over personal data. The US supreme court in June ruled that police officers almost always need a warrant to search an arrested suspect’s cellphone, noting the enormous wealth of data on mobile devices.
Several magistrate judges across the country also have been divided on whether prosecutors can use search warrants to seize emails from providers.
Craig Newman, a lawyer who follows privacy legal issues and attended Thursday’s hearing, said the issue was far from settled.
“One thing we can say is that traditional notions of search and seizure and fourth amendment law don’t fit comfortably in the digital world,” said Newman, who is not involved in the case.
Joshua Rosenkranz, a lawyer for Microsoft, said in court that the law does not permit warrants to be executed overseas and called the request a bid for “extraordinary power.”
But Serrin Turner, a prosecutor from the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, said the warrant did not involve a search in Ireland but simply required Microsoft to provide documents it controls.
“It makes no sense for Congress to make the government go on a wild-goose chase ... when the provider is sitting here in this country and can access the data at the touch of a button,” he said.
And Preska pointed out that US banks have long been required to provide records in response to subpoenas, even when stored overseas.
Rosenkranz raised the specter of foreign governments turning the tables and seeking US-based data via warrants issued in their own countries, which he said would be an “astounding” violation of our sovereignty.
Preska acknowledged that such a scenario was “pretty scary” but said she could not consider the potential actions of other governments when interpreting the law.
***************Supreme Court asked to review Obamacare subsidy case
Friday, August 1, 2014 7:09 EDT
The petition requests the U.S. high court decide the issue after two lower U.S. court rulings created uncertainties last week regarding the legitimacy of subsidies for individuals enrolled on federally run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is coordinating and funding the cases, filed the petition, according to the not-for-profit’s website. (http://bit.ly/1tA8r5x
The twin appeals court rulings, handed down by three-judge panels in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, fell in line with partisan disagreements over healthcare reform. Two judges appointed by Republican presidents decided against the administration in the District of Columbia and three judges appointed by Democrats ruled in favor in Virginia.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the language in the Affordable Care Act dealing with subsidies shows they should only be provided to consumers who purchase benefits on exchanges run by individual states.
However, plaintiffs in the D.C. Circuit case, known as Halbig v. Burwell, claimed that Congress did not intend to provide subsidies through federally operated marketplaces.
While the Supreme Court has broad discretion over which cases to take, a split among lower courts can be a big factor in its deciding whether to hear an appeal.
The Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare law on constitutional grounds in 2012 but allowed states to opt out of a major provision involving Medicaid coverage.
Analysts estimate that as many as 5 million people could be affected if subsidies disappear from the federal marketplace, which serves 36 states through the website HealthCare.gov.
***************Senate Republicans block $2.7 billion bill addressing Central American refugee kids
Thursday, July 31, 2014 20:45 EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate legislation giving President Barack Obama $2.7 billion to deal with tens of thousands of Central American migrant children amassing at the southwestern U.S. border was blocked on Thursday by Republican opposition.
By a vote of 50-44, 10 short of the 60 needed, the bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle. Republicans objected to the cost of the measure and complained that it would not be effective in discouraging rising illegal migration of children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Earlier on Thursday, the House of Representatives failed to pass a $659 million funding bill that the White House had threatened to veto. House Republican leaders are trying to figure out a way to bring a border-security bill back to the chamber for passage.
******************Private companies to profit as US shelters immigrant children
Friday, August 1, 2014 7:20 EDT
By Mica Rosenberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) – For a handful of U.S. companies that have exclusive or longstanding contracts with federal agencies dealing with illegal immigrants, the recent wave of children crossing the southern border with Mexico is a business opportunity.
Private prison companies Geo Group and competitor Corrections Corporation of America, for example, stand to gain if Congress approves any emergency funding for family detention facilities. The two companies have thousands of unoccupied beds in their prisons and jails that potentially could be modified to house immigrant families.
In the past six years, Geo Group was awarded nearly $880 million from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to government contracting data compiled by SmartProcure.us. In July, ICE, the agency responsible for immigration detention, modified its contract with Geo Group to convert the company’s adult detention center in Karnes County, Texas to house families.
The biggest potential windfall would come if Congress approves a White House request for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the crisis. But such a large package seems unlikely to make it through a deeply divided Congress and a resolution looks difficult before lawmakers’ leave for their summer recess.
The Obama administration has been scrambling to house tens of thousands of children mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who have flooded into the United States in recent months, hoping to escape gang violence, poverty and domestic abuse. Some are traveling with their families and others are crossing the border alone.
An ICE spokesman declined to break out the cost of the Karnes facility. Geo Group declined to comment and CCA did not respond to requests for comment.
FLIGHTS AND MONITORS
The Geo Group could also benefit if lawmakers opt for programs that promote alternatives to detention like electronic monitoring systems used to track immigrants awaiting deportation.
The company’s Colorado subsidiary Bi Incorporated is ICE’s sole provider of ankle bracelets for immigrants who have been caught for violating immigration laws but released while their cases are being processed. Bi has earned more than $211 million from ICE since 2008 by providing GPS tracking devices and case managers for the immigrants, according to the same government contracting data.
A Senate bill proposed by Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake would mandate the monitors for juveniles 15 to 18 years old while their immigration hearings are pending. ICE does not currently use ankle bracelets for juveniles, the agency said. The bill does not specify a supplier.
ICE uses the New Mexico-based CSI Aviation to provide charter flights for deportations. The company has won more than $657 million in contracts from ICE since 2008, SmartProcure data shows. CSI referred all questions about its contracts to ICE. ICE said the company is the sole contractor for ICE Air, which conducts deportation flights.
President Barack Obama has vowed to swiftly return the children and other illegal migrants from Central America to their home countries. That could mean an increase in the number of ICE charter flights in the coming months.
The federal government has also been buying tickets on American Airlines for commercial flights to shuttle unaccompanied kids and immigrant families to detention facilities or shelters around the United States.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller declined to say how much the government has spent on these flights or how many tickets they have purchased. He said American did not have formal contracts and that the tickets were being purchased on an as-needed basis.
SHELTERS, SOCIAL WORKERS AND INTERPRETERS
Contracts to provide services and emergency supplies for children arriving without their family members are handled mostly by the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, which is legally responsible for kids that cross the border alone.
The agency – tasked with sheltering unaccompanied children and then placing them quickly into homes of relatives or family friends – says it spends between $250 and $1,000 on each unaccompanied child per day. More than 57,000 have arrived since October, according to the U.S. Border Patrol, and the government estimates that number could rise to 90,000 by the end of September.
HHS has turned to General Dynamics Information Technology, or GDIT, a unit of the defense contracting giant General Dynamics, to supply case-management services for kids being released from temporary shelters, a Reuters review of government contracts found. The job entails reviewing children’s cases to identify if they have special needs and to ensure the kids are being transferred to safe homes.
Since 2010, GDIT has won around $13 million in contracts to help the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of HHS, coordinate the placement of unaccompanied minors, according to the contracting data.
The company recently put out a flurry of online job advertisements seeking bilingual social workers to handle immigrant children’s cases in Arizona, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and New York.
A GDIT spokesman said the company “offers expertise in various areas, including … social work specializing in protective services and human rights.” He declined to elaborate.
Some government contracts have gone to businesses that provide emergency clothing and supplies for the youth shelters and for translation services used in asylum hearings and immigration courts.
Lionsbridge Technologies, a translation company from Waltham, Massachusetts, has seen government need for its services “heighten over the past 60 to 90 days” as courts scramble to wade through the flood of immigration cases, said Eric Munz a vice president at Lionsbridge.
The company provides over-the-phone and in-person interpreters, including for obscure indigenous languages spoken in small Mexican and Central American communities.
And then there are companies like Products Unlimited, a small outfit in Justin, Texas that depends wholly on government work. The contracting data shows it was awarded about $40,000 worth of contracts so far this year to provide diapers and pull-ups for babies and toddlers at an immigrant processing center in Houston and a federally-run family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico.
*************Hypocrite Boehner Demands Obama Act Alone On Border Crisis While Suing Him For Executive Action
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, July, 31st, 2014, 3:46 pm
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was forced to cancel the vote on his border legislation after he didn’t have enough votes to pass it. Boehner then issued a press release demanding that Obama act alone to secure the border.
Roll Call reported, “We don’t think we have the votes,” said Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, one of the architects of the bill. But she said the whip count was “very close” with about 214 supporters, including Democrats. “There are people who just don’t want to do anything,” she said. “They don’t want to spend the money.”
After being forced to pull their own bill, House Republican leaders issued a statement that was full of the sort of crazy-making that the nation has come to expect from the GOP.
The statement told the president that the House is useless, so the president needs to act alone on the border crisis, “This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws. There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries. For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible. Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference. We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”
So, it is not okay for Obama to take executive action unless the House is paralyzed by Republican infighting? Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans can’t have it both ways. They can’t claim that President Obama is a tyrant, and then tell him to act without them.
On an issue as important as the humanitarian crisis on the border, the House of Representatives must weigh in. Boehner has to realize that his own inability do the most basic part of his job is not going to help his lawsuit.
Laughably, the neutered House Republican leadership is demanding that President Obama stop the flow of children over the border by just telling them to stop coming. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), who is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “It’s stopping the inflow. He can do that just by his word, to announce that the policies he’s had in the past are rescinded and he’s not going to let these people in. Be more forceful; I don’t think it’s a matter of money, it’s a matter of sending the message out there.”
Rogers also said that Obama should use his power responsibly to stop the crisis. Thus confirming that Republicans only think that President Obama is a tyrant when he is doing something that they disagree with.
The next time someone in the media laments that both sides do it, and Washington is broken, remember this moment. Both sides don’t do it, and Washington isn’t broken. The Republican Party has broken Washington because their constant infighting has made it impossible for the House Republicans to accomplish anything.
It isn’t President Obama’s fault that John Boehner has let the lunatics run the asylum.
**************Democratic Congressman Says That GOP Senator Ted Cruz Is Essentially Speaker Of The House
By: Justin Baragona
Thursday, July, 31st, 2014, 6:09 pm
On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) appeared on MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss the recent decision by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to pull the Republicans’ own border crisis bill from the floor. Boehner had to pull the bill during the vote on Thursday as it was clear that it was not going to reach 218 votes and pass. The night before, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had held a meeting with the most right-wing members of the House Republican Caucus and convinced them to go against the bill as, in his opinion, it wasn’t conservative enough.
Cruz, by doing this, made Boehner look like a complete idiot on Thursday. Currently, Boehner is trying to appease Tea Party Republicans in the House by pushing a bogus lawsuit against President Obama. With the lawsuit getting approval from the House on Wednesday, Boehner publicly chastised the President Thursday morning before voting took place on the House floor. The Speaker told reporters that since POTUS wasn’t going to do anything, it was up to Congress to act. Of course, due to Cruz’s interference, Boehner wasn’t even able to get a totally watered-down spending bill that would have barely addressed any real needs at the border. Even with some moderate Democrats expressing support for the bill, Boehner was forced to tuck tail and run.
All of this was not lost on Democrats. Van Hollen told Wagner that “we’ve seen this movie before.” He pointed to last October and the federal government shutdown. Van Hollen stated that at that time, Boehner said he did not want to shut down the government, but Cruz stepped in and “essentially became Speaker of the House” and took over leadership of the House GOP. We are now seeing a repeat of that moment, where Boehner has been rendered impotent by Cruz’s sway with the extreme wing of the House Republican Caucus. Due to Cruz’s interference, and just hours after Boehner insulted President Obama and said Congress would take care of the border crisis, the Speaker had to call on the President to act alone and solve the crisis with whatever executive orders he can pass.
***************GOP Self Destructs As Boehner Won’t Let Republicans Leave Until They Pass Border Bill
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, July, 31st, 2014, 4:55 pm
The Republican Party is again self destructing in front of the entire country as John Boehner is refusing to let House Republicans go on vacation until after they pass the border bill.
The Hill reported:
House Republicans plan to delay their August recess to stay in Washington until they have enough votes to pass a bill responding to the border crisis.
But just as it appeared the conference would leave town for the five-week recess having done nothing to respond to the crisis, Republicans held a closed-door conference meeting and emerged stating they would extend their workweek to try to get something done.
“We’ll stay until we vote,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said after the meeting.
It is a shame that grown men and women have to be threatened to do the job that the taxpayers are paying them to do. All of the recent chaos was started by Sen. Ted Cruz, who met with a group of House Republicans and encouraged them to oppose the border bill. House Republican leaders were forced to pull their meager bill dealing with the border crisis after it was clear that they did not have enough votes for passage.
After trying to blame Obama for their inability to pass legislation, Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership moved on to Plan B, which is to not let House Republicans go on vacation until he gets his way. The border bill has turned into yet another Republican caused train wreck.
The Republican Party is not fit to govern. They keep proving this point by failing to complete even the most basic tasks associated with legislating. Lawsuits against the president can’t conceal the fact that this is the worst Congress in modern history.
****************Nancy Pelosi Rips The Mask Off Boehner’s Fraud: The Lawsuit Is Really About Impeachment
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, July, 31st, 2014, 9:20 am
Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party aren’t going to let John Boehner fool the American people. At a press conference, Pelosi ripped the mask off of Boehner’s lawsuit fraud.
At a press conference after the lawsuit vote, Rep. Pelosi said:
The other question and other point that I will make is about standing. This House of Representative does not have standing to sue the President. And because of the actions that they are taking – misusing the public’s time and resources – because of budgets that they have presented to the Congress of the United States, the Republicans in Congress do not have standing to talk to the American people about solving their problems. They do not have standing to say: ‘We want to create jobs here at home,’ when in their decision they are giving tax breaks to companies to send jobs overseas. They do not have standing to say: ‘Let’s build the infrastructure of America. Let’s have Build America Bonds,’ because they prefer to use those resources to give tax breaks to special interests – tax loopholes for special interests.
So when we don’t have the money to have this suit – they don’t have the money to do better things for the American people. We shouldn’t be spending money on this. They don’t have the standing to do what’s right for the American people, and they certainly don’t have standing to sue the President of the United States. As I said on the floor today: This isn’t about this lawsuit. You don’t sue somebody unless you want to prove that they are wrong. This is about the road to impeachment. And if it is not, the Speaker can say one simple sentence: Impeachment is off the table. That’s what I had to say in 2007. That’s what Speaker Boehner should be saying now.
Democratic Leader Pelosi was correct. This lawsuit is setting the stage for Republicans to impeach the president if they win majority control of the Senate. The idea that the House Republicans will stop at the lawsuit is laughable. This is a House Republican caucus that shutdown the government over Obamacare. This group of Republicans caused our debt to be downgraded and has taken the nation to the brink of economic crisis on numerous occasions.
These House Republicans don’t do moderation. Speaker Boehner has repeatedly demonstrated that he can’t control his own Republicans. His statements on any issue are worthless. Boehner had to go back on a “grand bargain” with President Obama because his members rebelled. John Boehner isn’t running the House. A group of Southern far right Republicans are driving the lower legislative body. This same group of Republicans took turns coming to the House floor yesterday to call President Obama a tyrant.
The lawsuit is a mask for what the House Republicans who are running the show really want. They want impeachment, and they aren’t going to be satisfied with a silly lawsuit that they are destined to lose.
****************Evangelical Churches Are Blatantly Violating The Law By Electioneering From The Pulpit
Thursday, July, 31st, 2014, 11:38 am
It is beyond refute that criminals, from petty shoplifters to vicious mass murderers, adhere to the principle that they do not have to obey laws or rules. Like American corporations, the fossil fuel industry, and Wall Street institutions, they think they are immune to and above the law; likely because of their wealth and influence over Republicans in Congress. That mindset of supremacy over the laws of the land, and really, special entitlement to disregard laws, for whatever reason, still makes violators criminals. One thing those who believe they are above the law share with common criminals is crying foul and claim they are victims of persecution when they are held to the same standards as every other American; this is particularly true of the religious right.
Americans should prepare themselves for an outcry of biblical proportions from the religious right in the near future after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) won a lawsuit and a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service. The lawsuit demanded that the IRS start cracking down on churches and religious groups who blatantly violate the rules of their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by “electioneering from the pulpit.” The IRS agreed to start doing its due diligence and enforcing the law against mainly Christian evangelical churches that “have been blatantly and deliberately flaunting electioneering restrictions” with impunity because they believe they are above, and immune from, the nation’s laws; because they are evangelical Christians.
At the rate evangelicals blatantly violate the law, one might think there are myriad scriptural admonitions to Christians to openly disobey laws imposed by governments of man, but they would be patently wrong. According to the Christian bible in Romans 13:1-2, Christians are commanded to “Be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
The bible goes farther in verses 5-6 where Christians are warned that “It is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of (god’s) wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes.” Well, god in all his wisdom could not possibly have known that in America, churches and the clergy class are so special they do not pay taxes, but they are not special enough in the eyes of the law to be free of paying taxes if they campaign from the pulpit. Now, the IRS will finally begin enforcing that small requirement to be free of taxation and the Alliance Defending Freedom is outraged that a court ordered the IRS to force evangelical churches to do precisely as god commanded; “be in subjection to the governing authorities.”
In the FFRF’s lawsuit against the IRS, besides citing a number of specific complaints against churches violating the IRS rules, it informed the court it had filed 27 complaints with the IRS that were never even investigated. The lawsuit asked the court to force IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman “to authorize a high-ranking official within the IRS to approve and initiate enforcement of the restrictions of 501(c)(3) against churches and religious organizations, including the electioneering restrictions, as required by law.” The IRS received a similar court order in 2009, but naturally deferred to the Christian prerogative and supremacy over the law and failed to comply with the court order. The new court-approved settlement means the IRS adopted new procedures to follow through and begin investigations into church and religious non-profit groups in general that are violating the law.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious tax-exempt non-profit that sponsors and organizes “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” where thousands of evangelical preachers actively campaign for Republicans from the pulpit, videotape the violations, and send them to the IRS daring them to take action was incensed at the court’s decision. After wildly celebrating the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, the evangelicals predictably lashed out at the court settlement as a violation of their religious supremacy over the government and American people. The Christian legal group claims their legal agreement with the IRS is unconstitutional because churches have always been above American law. ADF senior legal counsel Erick Stanley said, “For almost the first 200 years of America’s history, pastors frequently spoke out with great boldness about the great moral and social issues of the day and about the candidates running for office. Yet today, the voice of the Church has been silenced by the Johnson Amendment – an unjust and unconstitutional law. Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS. It’s outrageous for pastors and churches to be threatened or punished by the government for applying Biblical teachings to all areas of life.” It is a typical criminal mindset that regards having to abide by the law as being “threatened or punished;” especially evangelicals claiming persecution for not being allowed to run roughshod over the people and established law.
First, the Johnson Amendment did not happen “today;” it became a legal government statute in 1954 because a preponderance of churches were violating the Founding Fathers’ Constitutional separation of church and state. Second, “the church” is not being silenced, it is being required to abide by the conditions of its 501(c)(3) status to get free welfare from American taxpayers according to the government god commanded Christians to be in subjection to out of “conscience” and to avoid god’s “wrath.” Third, if evangelical “pastors” were applying “biblical teachings to all areas of life,” they would be preaching to their congregants to “be in subjection to the governing authorities” like god commanded, and lead by example by abiding by their agreement to continue receiving welfare from taxpayers. Taxpayers, by the way, that are in subjection to the governing authorities and abide by IRS rules that takes their money and pays for services evangelical churches use for free.
There is a very simple solution to put a screeching halt to these ADF-inspired evangelicals violating the law and god’s commandment in Romans 13:1-2, and save American taxpayers more than $82.5 billion annually not include a rash of unknown subsidies because churches are not required to keep financial records. It is damn high time to strip tax exemption from every church in America, let evangelical pastors preach according to Republican dictates, start paying their fair share instead of leeching off law-abiding taxpayers, and save them from facing god’s wrath for opposing “governing authorities.”
The reason evangelicals “assume” they are above the law and have supremacy over the governing authorities, women’s bodies, and gays is because they do not pay property taxes on their land or buildings. Do not pay sales taxes when they make purchases, do not pay capital gains taxes when they sell property at a profit, and when they spend less than they take in, do not pay corporate income taxes. Further, priests, ministers, rabbis, and their underlings get unfair “parsonage exemptions” that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent, and other living expenses when they do their income taxes; they also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes. Religion is a very profitable business and it is time churches start paying their fair share like every other American; except their American corporate partners-in-crime.
Republicans condemn Americans who receive taxpayer-funded assistance as moochers, lazy, and entitled, even when they pay in to Social Security, Medicare, and sales and gas tax, but they never complain about their reliable evangelical campaigners’ draining billions upon billions from the rest of Americans. It is because of the preferential treatment, and free taxpayer dollars, that the religious right feels entitled, with Republican and Supreme Court support, to flaunt their criminal disregard for the law and force their religion down the rest of the population’s throats.
Most Americans are sick to death of entitled evangelicals leeching Americans’ tax dollars and imposing their dictates on the public. The Freedom From Religion Foundation finally got a court to force the IRS to hold evangelicals accountable for violating a sixty-year-old law the god of the bible says will “bring condemnation upon themselves.” God may condemn them in that bizarre concept of Judgment Day, but until then, a court ordered the IRS to investigate and condemn them to lose their 501(c)(3) status for “electioneering from the pulpit.” For Americans sick and tired of paying evangelicals for violating the law, it is about time. Thank dog for the FFRF.