Category: Govenment

Will U.S. Troops Stand By While ISIS Starves Thousands?
The Yazidis, members of an ancient religious sect, fled when the Islamic State overran their homes. Now they’re trapped with no food or water. Will the U.S. step in to help save them?
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information.

One week is as long as the average person can survive without water. In extreme temperatures, it may be less. So time is running out for the 10,000 to 40,000 Iraqis, mostly religious minorities, who have been trapped for days in barren mountains without food or water. They face a choice: return to their towns captured by ISIS forces and risk being slaughtered or stay in the mountains and slowly die of thirst.

On Thursday, the White House signaled that U.S. might reverse its current policy by getting directly involved in Iraq to halt the worsening crisis. So far, the American forces stationed nearby have been little more than observers to the conflict.

According to the New York Times, President Obama is considering authorizing emregency airdrops of food and water for the thousands of Iraqis still stranded in the mountains. Additionally, according to the Times’ source, the President could approve airstrikes against ISIS forces that are surrounding the Sinjar mountains.

The slow-motion massacre of the Yazidis, members of a small, ancient religious community who escaped to the mountains along with other groups after ISIS overran their towns, began with a military defeat for the Kurds, one of the closest U.S. allies in the region. The Kurds’ losses, and the subsequent plight of the Yazidis, call into question what role, if any, America is willing to play in Iraq.

Since the disintegration of the Iraqi army in June, the Kurdish military, called the Peshmerga, has been engaged in continuous battle, holding back ISIS’s advances. Until recently the Kurds seemed to be faring well, even expanding their territory. But ISIS has grown stronger even while fighting on multiple fronts across two countries, gaining new recruits and weapons from its victories.

Sometime in the night on August 2, ISIS began its assault on the town of Sinjar, the historical home of the Yazidis that had served as a refuge for other groups, including Christians, Shabak, and Shia. Outgunned and outmanned by ISIS, the Peshmerga say they ran out of ammunition and abandoned the town on August 3. Left unprotected, the Yazidis and others fled into the hills.

Last month, the U.S. sent more than 800 special operations troops to Iraq, including a contingent now stationed in Erbil, within the Kurdish autonomous region. But so far, even as the Kurds have requested assistance repeatedly and launched a new counteroffensive, the United States has been reluctant to move past its advisory role and directly enter the fray.

On Wednesday, Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman, told The Daily Beast: “U.S. troops are not engaged in a combat role in Iraq.” That position could be changing now as the president meets with his security advisors to weigh his options. Currently the military forces in Iraq are acting as “advisors” whose mission is “to assess and to advise [Iraqi security forces] as they confront [ISIS] and the complex security situation on the ground.” What kind of advice is being provided to the embattled Kurdish forces and whether advice is what they need right now are a matter of speculation.

U.S. attention, of course, is stretched thin with Gaza and Ukraine. But the near silence on Iraq is hard to square with the severity of the crisis and the initial decision to send military forces there.

If the American public and political class won’t bear any U.S. military involvement in Iraq, why were troops dispatched to the country? And if ISIS overrunning the Kurds, taking control of key infrastructure, and carrying out a deliberate slaughter of the Yazidis isn’t enough to get the U.S. forces involved, is there anything that would force a U.S. military response?

The situation is dire, but legal constraints may limit U.S. options for direct assistance to the Kurds, said Douglas Ollivant, a former U.S. Army officer who advised Gen. David Petraeus and served in the National Security Council under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

On Wednesday, it was 106 degrees in Mosul. There may be 25,000 children trapped in the mountains, according to the United Nations’ children’s relief agency.
“There might not be a legal way for us to sell arms to the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government],” Ollivant said. “The Kurds are finding out the hard way that there are huge structural barriers, totally independent of policy, being a sub-state unit.”

Though the Kurds have their own government and operate in a functionally autonomous region of northern Iraq, they still belong to the Iraqi state and are nominally accountable to the government in Baghdad. They have long advocated for full independence and the creation of their own sovereign state, but the U.S. has refused to back those efforts.

To get arms legally to the Kurds now, the U.S. military needs to send them through the central government in Baghdad.

“Foreign Military Sales and Foreign Military Financing must be coordinated with central government authorities,” said Cmdr. Smith, the Defense Department spokeswoman.

The Iraqi government traditionally has been hostile to the Kurds and their calls for independence, and a month ago, military cooperation between the two sides might have seemed impossible. But now, with ISIS advancing, Baghdad may be feeling enough pressure to approve an arms transfer.

On Monday, the Iraqi government announced a strategic alliance between the two groups. Baghdad pledged that it would cooperate militarily with the Kurds and send its air force to assist the Peshmerga in the fighting around Mosul.

And in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Washington Post, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad wrote that the United States is involved in “the direct supply of munitions to the Kurds and, with Baghdad’s agreement, the shipment of some Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program weapons to the Kurds.”

There are other opportunities for U.S. assistance that are more direct but also more fraught. “We could we get involved with drone strikes or air strikes” that would involve “little to no risk” for the U.S. military, said Ollivant, who added that the air strikes could be used to target “strategic targets like ISIS’s rear bases and logistical hubs.”

“We are not conducting air strikes in Iraq,” Cmdr. Smith said on Wednesday. By Thursday afternon that policy could change at any moment, as the White House is expected to announce what new action the U.S. will take in Iraq “imminently” according to the New York Times report.

While U.S. airpower isn’t directly involved yet, Khalilzad wrote Tuesday that the U.S. military is “coordinating Iraqi air attacks against Islamic State targets relevant to the defense of the Kurdish region.”

Whatever degree of American assistance the Kurds are receiving, they have already begun a counteroffensive. Thousands of Kurdish forces from Syria and Turkey have crossed the border, forming a rare alliance with the Peshmerga inside Iraq that has already begun clashing with ISIS to recapture the ground lost over the weekend.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis now stranded in the mountains are awaiting the outcome of those battles. As for the United States, it is “working urgently and directly with officials in Baghdad and Erbil to coordinate Iraqi airdrops to people in need,” the Defense Department said.

On Wednesday, it was 106 degrees in Mosul. There may be 25,000 children trapped in the mountains, according to the United Nations’ children’s relief agency. Forty of them have died already.

On Thursday, United Nations spokespeople and Kurdish government sources reported that rescue operations had begun for the people trapped in the Sinjar mountains. There is no confirmation yet of who is leading those efforts or how many people have been evacuated, but according to Christopher Tidey, a UNICEF official in Geneva, most displaced families are still on the mountain.

The REAL Pandemic Threat: BioBombers
Hope for the Best — Prepare for the Worst
By Mark Alexander · August 6, 2014
“A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts.” –James Madison (1792)

The 24-hour news recyclers have lately devoted a lot of airtime to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and concerns about its spread to the U.S.

In recent weeks, more than 1,300 Africans have been infected with the deadly virus, and most of them have died. There would likely not be much coverage of this regional epidemic if not for the fact that two “humanitarian workers” (read: heroic Christians), an American doctor and nurse, are infected with the virus and have been transported to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has assured Americans that, while Ebola is deadly in each of its variant forms — it is much like AIDS or HIV — transmission requires substantial direct contact with an infected person. Of course, given that in the last three months the CDC’s stellar status was tarnished by reports that its personnel were very careless with some deadly pathogens — including anthrax, avian flu and smallpox — it’s understandable many Americans question CDC’s assessment of the Ebola risk.

The fact is, CDC’s risk assessment regarding the threat of an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. is correct. There is, however, right now, a very real pandemic threat posed by what we can call “BioBombers.”

BioBombers are Islamist “martyrs” who, instead of strapping on a bomb and detonating themselves in a crowded urban area, become human hosts for virulent strains of deadly contagions. Once infected, they fly into the U.S. legally and park themselves in major airport hubs around the nation for days, where they can infect others traveling across country whose symptoms may take days to manifest — which is to say others unknowingly become hosts and spread the virus to a much wider circle in their communities and work places.

For historical background, the greatest mortal threat to indigenous American populations when 15th- and 16th-century European explorers arrived was not from armed conflict with other native peoples; it was from European strains of diseases for which they had no immunity. The reverse was also true — many Europeans suffered from American diseases.

In the 19th century, of the estimated 620,000 deaths recorded in the War Between the States, more than 430,000 died from “camp diseases.” When soldiers and support personnel from different regions of the country congregated in camps, those who arrived with a virulent strain of influenza or other contagion quickly passed it on to others, and the consequences were devastating.

In the 20th century, there were 5.1 million combatant deaths in the four years of World War I, but the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” infected an estimated 500 million people globally, including even those in remote Pacific and Arctic regions. Indeed, as many as 75-100 million people died in that pandemic — up to five percent of the world’s population, in two years.

In World War II, disease in the Pacific campaign claimed far more casualties than combat.

So how have we avoided another devastating Spanish Flu pandemic?


We’ve learned how to restrain the spread of these diseases because of our notable early detection of outbreaks and well-rehearsed preventive measures to contain and isolate the infected. (Early detection and containment is critical when dealing with bacterial and viral infections.)

We have learned a lot from managing outbreaks. In 1976, a bacterial contagion called Legionnaires’ disease claimed 29 victims in Philadelphia. More recently, a viral SARS outbreak killed 775 people in 37 countries, most of them in Asia. There have also been recurring concerns about “bird flu,” which has been spreading worldwide since 2003 and claimed its first victim two years ago in Canada.

There are also inoculation programs that have helped eliminate the spread of disease, and treatment is much better now than it was in the early part of the 20th century.

But pathogens such as these are decimating if health care providers are slow to recognize the symptoms and correctly diagnose the disease. They can spread quickly if not properly reported to the CDC for entry into its early warning and response protocols. Fortunately, dangerous strains of H5N1 influenza and other flu viruses have not adapted, or mutated, into dramatically more virulent and deadly strains.

But there are plenty of artificially engineered bio-warfare viral strains that, if released into urban population centers, would overwhelm medical facilities and claim millions of casualties. The prospect of bio-terrorism, particularly a simultaneous attack across the nation from a cadre of BioBombers, would quickly overload health care service providers and exhaust pharmaceutical reserves. In the event of such an attack, the CDC’s epidemic early warning detection map would not merely blink with one or two markers — the entire board would light up, and the probability of containment would be lost.

In fact, the possibility of such an attack was the impetus last week for the largest bio-terrorism drill in New York City’s history.

So, how real is the threat?

The primary symmetric deterrent to weapons of mass destruction in warfare between nation states is the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. But in asymmetric warfare, where Islamic martyrs serve as surrogates for states like Iran, the MAD doctrine is of little deterrence.


The prospect of another catastrophic attack on our homeland by asymmetric terrorist actors is greater now than it was in 2001, and the reason is as plain as it was predictable. But the impact of BioBombers on continuity of government and commerce will be far greater than 9/11.

In his first annual address to the nation in 1790, George Washington wrote, “To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” The eternal truth of those words is plainly evident today.

Indeed, as our nation’s erstwhile “community organizer” leads our nation’s retreat from its post as the world’s sole superpower, the inevitable consequences have been dramatic. Of greatest concern now is the resurgence of the enemies of Liberty, most notably al-Qa’ida jihadists in the wake of the Middle East meltdown (AKA, Arab Spring) in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, and now the disintegration of Iraq and the conflagration in Gaza.

At present, all eyes are on the unabated rise of the nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran, a major benefactor of worldwide Islamic terror. Iran could eventually put a compact fissile weapon into the hands of Jihad surrogates with the intent of detonating that weapon in a U.S. urban center.

But the scope and consequences of a coordinated attack by Islamic BioBombers is far greater than that of a nuclear attack. The impact on continuity of government and commerce will be far greater than the 9/11 attack.

So if the threat of a catastrophic bio-terrorism attack has increased, and if the CDC and our homeland security apparatus are not properly prepared to respond to such an attack (the response to Hurricane Katrina comes to mind), then what can be done?

Fact is, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a biological attack on our nation with a little knowledge, preparation and not much expense — and that preparation will also suffice for other types of emergencies.


The bedrock foundation of survival is individual preparedness and being prepared is not difficult. The primary means of protection in a pandemic is sheltering in place. But the Web is flooded with all kinds of preparedness and overwhelming advice from doomsday preppers. But your Patriot Post team has prepared a one-stop reliable reference page with basic instructions and advice.

As a resource to communities across the nation, we convened a knowledgeable team of emergency preparedness and response experts in 2012, including federal, state and local emergency management professionals, and specialists from the fields of emergency medicine, urban and wilderness survival, academia, law enforcement and related private sector services. They compiled basic individual preparedness recommendations to sustain you and your family during a short-term crisis. The result is a Two Step Individual Readiness Plan that enables you to shelter in place in the event of a local, regional or national catastrophic event, including a pandemic.

The most likely scenario requiring you to shelter in place would be the short-term need to isolate yourself from chemical, biological or radiological contaminants released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. (This could require sheltering for 1-7 days.)

But in the event of a bio-terrorism attack setting into motion a pandemic or a panic, you must be prepared to isolate yourself and your family from other people in order not to contract an illness. The best location to shelter in place during such an event is in your residence, and the length of time required could be 1-6 weeks.

Be prepared.

Link to our Disaster Preparedness Planning resource page.

Link to our Two Step Individual Readiness Plan

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post

» NM governor proposes work requirement for food stamps » News — GOPUSA
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration proposes to re-impose and broaden work-related requirements on low-income New Mexicans to qualify for food stamps.
Starting in October, the state plans to restore a 20-hour-a-week work requirement for an estimated 26,600 childless adults to get food stamps. The mandate was suspended in 2009 because of the national recession. On-the-job training and community service also can help meet the work mandate.

The administration also proposes to implement a new requirement for low-income parents and other caregivers of children age 6 and older. Adults would have to search for a job or participate in community service to obtain the food assistance.

Food stamp-eligible parents or other household members caring for a child — regardless of the child’s age — have been exempt from job search requirements. Pregnant women and some others, including those who are considered physically or mentally unable to work, will continue to be exempt.

About 420,000 New Mexicans receive food stamps averaging $265 a month. Children represent about 46 percent of those receiving assistance.

The Human Services Department says it’s uncertain how many people would be affected by the proposed job search changes.

But social services advocates worry the work requirements will knock poor people off of food stamps. They also contend the proposed requirements are a bad idea when New Mexico has been losing jobs recently and the economy remains weak.

“If we had a glut of jobs in this state it would be one thing to consider making this mandatory, but that’s just not the case,” said Louise Pocock, a lawyer with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.

Human Services spokesman Matt Kennicott said the 2009 waiver of the work requirement “was only temporary and was never intended to stay indefinitely.”

“These are the same broad-based job search requirements that have existed for years in most public assistance programs throughout New Mexico,” said Kennicott.

There are work requirements for people in the state’s welfare program, he said.

The department also proposes to broaden who must search for a job to include 16- and 17-year-olds if they’re not attending school or attending a training program and adults from ages 51 to 59.

The state restored the job search requirement last year for low-income adults ages 18 to 50, but continued to exempt those caring for children. The number of food stamp recipients has dropped by about 20,000 since last summer when the changes were approved, according to the agency’s latest enrollment figures through February.

The job search requirement also was suspended during the recession.

Once the new requirements are implemented, Kennicott said, about 59,000 food stamp recipients potentially will be subject to the job search requirement. That figure includes those were covered by it last year.

The department has scheduled an Aug. 29 hearing in Santa Fe to receive public comment on proposed rule changes.

People qualify for food stamps — what the federal government calls the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — based on their income.

An individual can earn up to about $1,580 a month — just under $19,000 a year — and a family of four is eligible with income of up to $3,239 a month or not quite $38,900 a year.



The Patriot Post ·
Daily Digest
Jul. 28, 2014

“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” –Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

Judge Rules DC Gun Carry Ban Unconstitutional
After a five-year court battle, a federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia’s ban on the carry of firearms was unconstitutional. This is another big win for the Second Amendment six years after DC’s total handgun ban1 was likewise overturned. Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his decision, “There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.” Of course, leftists are reacting predictably: It’s a security threat to the Washington machine, guns are scary, blah, blah, blah. Politicians forget there is a city beyond Capitol Hill plagued by violence where only the cops and criminals carry. But we’re glad to see that Police Chief Cathy Lanier instructed officers not to arrest anyone carrying a firearm legally. More…2

Stopping a Shooter in a Gun-Free Zone – With a Gun
Here’s an ethical conundrum: A bad guy brings a gun into a gun-free zone, starts shooting, but another person who carried a gun into the gun-free zone – an otherwise law-abiding gun owner – stops him. What to do? A psychiatric patient at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Pennsylvania opened fire in a doctor’s office, killing a nurse. The patient could have continued to kill but Dr. Lee Silverman, a psychiatrist, ducked behind his desk, drew his pistol and returned fire, critically wounding the patient. Chief of the Yeadon Police Department Donald Molineux said Silverman “without a doubt saved lives.” But that act could cost Silverman his license to practice. Signs at the hospital’s doors forbid weapons in the building. The hospital’s code of conduct3 forbids employees “from bringing firearms or explosives of any kind into the workplace,” and Silverman’s failure to obey the code threatens his credentials as a doctor. Citizens who choose to carry a firearm shoulder more responsibility than non-carrying citizens. And while the incident illustrates how gun-free zones are moronic, there may be consequences – even after saving lives. More…4

UN Proves Uselessness With Anti-Israel Vote
Just in case there were any remaining doubts about the utter moral bankruptcy of the United Nations, its “Human Rights” Council voted 29-1 to investigate Israel for “war crimes.” As we’ve recounted numerous times, Hamas is using civilians as human shields so when they are killed in the fighting they are of propaganda value. But “defenders of human rights” such as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and … drumroll … Russia can’t tolerate Israel defending itself against the barbarian aggressors of Hamas. Britain, France, Germany and 14 other nations abstained. It’s worth noting the U.S. delegation was the only “no” vote, so maybe Barack Obama’s “unshakeable” support for Israel is actually worth something. Not much, but something. More…5

You Say ‘Taxes,’ He Says ‘How High?’
CNBC’s Steve Liesman asked Barack Obama, “You’ve said a bunch of times that [we should be] getting the wealthy to pay a little bit more, and you’ve succeeded in raising that top tax rate to 39%, or rolling back the tax cuts. Is there a limit there? Is there a limit to how much you believe the government should take from an individual in terms of a top tax rate?” Obama cavalierly responded, “You know, I don’t have a particular number in mind, but if you look at our history we are still well below what, you know, the marginal tax rates were under Dwight Eisenhower or, you know, all the way up even through Ronald Reagan. Tax rates are still lower on average for most folks. And what that means is that we probably can make some more headway in closing loopholes that folks take advantage of. As opposed to necessarily raising marginal rates.” So much is wrong here: Reagan lowered taxes from a 70% top rate to 28%. And Obama seems to think there’s lots of wiggle room to hike taxes without crushing the economy. But a 1970s-style tax policy is wrong for America.

The Phony Threat of Impeachment
The Obama administration is supposedly worried about impeachment. The Hill reports, “Senior White House advisers are taking very seriously the possibility that Republicans in Congress will try to impeach President Obama, especially if he takes executive action to slow deportations.” White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer pointed to Sarah Palin’s call for impeaching Obama as reason to take it seriously. But despite polls showing some support for impeaching Obama, Palin may be the only Republican talking about it seriously. And she’s in no position to do anything about it. In reality, the White House is trying to rally its base for the November election with fear mongering about something that won’t happen. More…6

For more, visit Right Hooks7.

The Manipulative Core of ObamaCare
While Jonathan Gruber isn’t exactly a household name, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economics professor was one of the many architects of ObamaCare, and he’s making waves again. He’s had a few things to say about the subsidies given on state versus federal exchanges over the years, and it’s rather enlightening to see what Democrats’ true vision was when crafting the abomination of a law: Lie, coerce and manipulate.

When it comes to insurance subsides for shoppers, Democrats are now in the position of arguing the law doesn’t mean what it says – that it isn’t, after all, the “law of the land.” Recall last week’s appeals courts rulings8 on the subject. The DC Circuit Court ruled that subsidies given via the federal exchange were illegal because the law permits them only through the state exchanges. Since 34 states elected not to set up exchanges, that substantially undermines the outworking of the law.

The Fourth Circuit Court, on the other hand, said the intent of the law’s authors must have been to grant subsidies to everyone. Therefore, those subsidies stand, regardless of what the law actually says.

Cue Gruber, who argued the law means what it says. In 2012, he said9, “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits – but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens, ‘You’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.’” Translation: Subsidies are available only on state exchanges, not the federal one. And he said it before the Halbig suit (the one heard by the DC Circuit) was even filed.

Gruber now describes his 2012 comments as “a speak-o – you know, like a typo.” He explained, “Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.” We’ll agree Congress made a mistake drafting the law – it never should have been drafted. But Gruber is at best misrepresenting now what he said then. There are other instances when Gruber distinguished between state and federal exchanges. Did he commit the same “speak-o” more than once?

The answer is resoundingly no. In fact, in prepared remarks on at least two other occasions, he pointed to states not setting up exchanges as one of the primary threats to the law, saying that decision would cost citizens of those states “hundreds and millions and billions of dollars.”

Now Gruber is doubling down, adding, “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it’s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.” He didn’t think so when he was explaining how important the distinction was back in 2012. His tune only changed when his side lost a court case.

Let’s assume for a moment that it was a typo in the law. Wouldn’t that prove the danger of passing multiple-thousand page bills without reading them10?

But what Gruber now calls a “typo” was actually a Democrat strategy. As The Wall Street Journal explains in an editorial11, “Liberals feared some states wouldn’t set up exchanges, so they deliberately wrote incentives into the law so the states would do so. This was the conventional liberal wisdom until this year when it suddenly became legally and politically inconvenient for the Administration to admit it.”

Aside from what we see as ObamaCare’s primary fault – that it is patently unconstitutional – this episode highlights another serious flaw: Every one of ObamaCare’s goals is achieved through coercion and manipulation. That the law was falsely sold as one “providing health insurance for millions” is one BIG Lie12.

What Will It Take to ‘Stiffen Spines’ Against Russia?
In the dismal two weeks since the destruction of 298 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH1713, it’s become more and more apparent Vladimir Putin and Russia may get away almost scot-free for supplying the Ukrainian rebels with the surface-to-air missile that downed the doomed flight. That’s the conclusion of a lengthy cover story14 in this week’s Time magazine.

In reference to Barack Obama’s call on Putin to cooperate with the MH17 investigation, Time reporter Simon Shuster noted, “That was the crisis in a nutshell: the least Putin could do was the most Obama could ask for.”

So far the administration’s reaction of choice has been sanctions on Russia, or at least enhancement of those already put in place when the whole Ukrainian crisis began. While the sanctions are supposedly horrifying the Russian business elite15, Europeans aren’t keen on them. In both cases, it’s because Putin controls a vital function: Russian business elite are forced to keep their objections close to the vest for fear of retribution from the state, while European nations depend on Russia as both an export market and provider of natural gas. Germany and Italy lead the exporters, while Austria and the Baltic states rely on Russia’s energy resources. “As soon as the EU gets the slightest chance to turn away from Washington on the issue of Ukraine, they will take it,” predicted Sergei Markov, a political consultant.

Thus it’s truly an open question on whether the Malaysian jet tragedy will really “stiffen the spine of our European partners going forward,” as Barack Obama said. Despite Hillary Clinton insisting “the reset worked16,” the actions of the United States under Obama make it little wonder that Europe is moving, as Obama put it, “[n]ot as fast as we’d like” on sanctions.

Analyst Charles Krauthammer notes, “I think there’s a general perception that the world is going to hell and the president’s out there playing golf.” The Europeans aren’t going to follow him as long as he’s content to play 18 holes.

One place Obama won’t be playing a round of golf is Chechnya. Russia just banned the U.S. president, among others, from traveling to the area because, the Russian foreign ministry says, “[T]he Obama administration has some responsibility both for the internal conflict in Ukraine and its severe consequences.” Furthermore, Moscow is taking aim at a universal symbol of American capitalist might: McDonald’s17.

In 2012, Obama was caught on a hot microphone promising the Russians he’d have more flexibility after being re-elected. And in a debate that year, he mocked Mitt Romney, who believed Russia was a significant geopolitical threat, saying, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Well, we had a pretty good solution to the Russian problem in that decade, but Obama’s lack of leadership 30 years hence will assure us our next president will have to reset Russian relations once again on better terms for America and its European allies. As Time put it: “Cold War II is underway – and the West is losing.”


The Gipper: “Cures were developed for which there were no known diseases.”

Economist Stephen Moore: “Energy is the master resource. Without it, we return to a Stone Age existence. Life in its absence is nasty, brutish and short. Is that where the radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today, would take us? If we continue to follow their advice, electric power and fuel will become more expensive (as President Obama has admitted). [A recent] Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted, ‘as the Sierra Club, billionaire Tom Steyer and the Obama administration rage war against coal and other fossil fuel,’ we could end up seeing ‘rolling brownouts and even blackouts in the years ahead.’ In other words, the apocalypse confronting America may not be the havoc of ‘climate change,’ but a slow-motion return to a medieval lifestyle. … In fact, the editorial notes, we get about 90 percent of our power from sources that the Left is trying to shut down. … I wonder how many young people will be so excited about ‘green energy’ when … outages are commonplace and they come to the realization that life without those ‘dirty’ sources of power won’t be so wonderful.”

Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “One thing is certain: Israel will not go quietly. But if the unthinkable should come to pass, one other thing is equally certain: the appetite for Jewish blood will not be satiated, nor will that appetite be confined to the deserts of the Middle East. For those who refuse to comprehend the breadth of the threat, it is worth remembering that Islamists refer to Israel as the Little Satan. America is the Great Satan. ‘An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last,’ Winston Churchill once remarked during another existential crisis. One is left to wonder what Churchill might have thought of morally bankrupt equivocators who would stand in solidarity with the crocodiles.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “Israel would like Hamas to not launch rockets at them and Hamas would like Israel to not have Jews. Hopefully they can work out a compromise.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.


Will Tea Partiers Sink Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky Senate Reelection Bid?
The Senate minority leader, long reviled among many on the right for what they see as kowtowing to Democrats, is in a tough race for his seat—and in trouble with the Tea Party.
If Alison Lundergan Grimes pulls off an upset victory over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November, she may have Tea Partiers to thank. But don’t expect conservative voters to rally to Grimes—they simply aren’t getting behind McConnell.

Although the five-term Republican ended up winning a a tough primary challenge from businessman Matt Bevin handily, the race was one of the most vicious and ugly this cycle, with Bevin’s campaign badly damaged in a cockfighting scandal. And while some disaffected conservatives have backed McConnell in November, Bevin has still not endorsed him, and many of the Tea Party groups that supported the businessman are following suit. As a result, in a recent poll, nearly 20% of self-identified Republicans didn’t support McConnell

Scott Hofstra, spokesman for the United Kentucky Tea Party, said he isn’t backing McConnell and “taking the lesser of the two evils approach.” Many conservatives, Hofstra predicted, either will leave the box on the ballot for U.S. Senate empty or will vote for David Patterson, the libertarian candidate. The senator has alienated many Tea Partiers and has yet to reach out to bridge the gap, Hofstra said. The divide was opened further, he added, by McConnell’s open support for Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Senate runoff and McConnell’s association with pro-Cochran ads that many conservatives assailed as race-baiting. “If there were some people on the fence after what happened in Kentucky, the Mississippi incident really put them over the edge,” Hofstra said. Still, he noted that Tea Party dissatisfaction with McConnell wasn’t winning Grimes their votes. “I haven’t talked to anybody who would vote her.”

Andrew Schachtner, president of the Louisville Tea Party and a former Bevin campaign staffer, sounded somewhat more restrained than Hofstra in his comments to The Daily Beast. He said his group “was focusing on state and local issues” instead of the Senate race. In particular, he said, the Louisville Tea Party was prioritizing a local state house candidate to help Republicans gain control of the Kentucky House of Representatives. As for the McConnell-Grimes race, Schachtner said he had decided whom he would vote for but declined to disclose that candidate’s identity.

It’s not just Grimes who stands to benefit from Tea Party doubts about McConnell. Patterson, a policeman from the central Kentucky town of Harrodsburg, is seeking to get on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate. A recent poll put Patterson at 7 percent in the race and poised to be a spoiler. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Patterson said he felt confident that his team would get the necessary signatures and noted that he was already preparing in advance for any legal challenge.

Although McConnell has had a slight edge over Grimes in recent polls, most political observers consider the race a tossup, and it looks likely to be tight through Election Day.
But Patterson said that at the moment he is not directly appealing to disaffected Tea Partiers. While he said his campaign “will definitely appeal to those…who are absolutely fed up with the way McConnell has been voting in D.C.,” the Libertarian was aiming to attract those voters who feel “disenfranchised” by the two-party system. While he took pains to say he wasn’t “modeling his campaign after anybody,” he mentioned Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign as a possible inspiration: “more fiscally conservative than the Republicans and more socially accepting than the Democrats.”

Yet despite lingering anger over the primary and the potential appeal of Patterson, some Tea Partiers are rallying around McConnell. Frank Simon of the Tea Party of Kentucky said he is “very much for McConnell over Grimes…Politics is always the lesser of two evils. McConnell is always much better than Grimes. Grimes is pro-abortion.” But Simon said he couldn’t “speak for all the Tea Parties.” Instead, his group’s approach is to try “to make friends with people, because that’s the only way we’re going to survive,” he said. “We’re trying to overlook problems that we had before and trying to pull together to survive November.”

Simon said the bulk of his group’s efforts would involve a voter guide that was put out “not under this organization” but through a political action committee and another organization, which would go out to about 30,000 people. He told The Daily Beast that “unless something unforeseen happens, it will endorse McConnell over Grimes.” The bulk of the voter guides will go out through churches, which is allowed, he said, because it “also gives the pro-abortion endorsements, pro-homosexual endorsements, pro-labor endorsements.”

Although McConnell has had a slight edge over Grimes in recent polls, most political observers consider the race a tossup, and it looks likely to be tight through Election Day.

Russia’s Message on Jet: Conciliation and Bluster

President Vladimir V. Putin visited an aerospace center in Samara, Russia, on Monday.
MOSCOW — Russia presented a combination of conciliation and bluster on Monday over its handling of the downed Malaysia Airlines jet, with President Vladimir V. Putin seemingly probing for a way out of the crisis without appearing to compromise with the West.

On one hand, he offered conciliatory words in a video statement, oddly released in the middle of the night, while the separatists allied with Moscow in southeastern Ukraine released the bodies of the victims and turned over the black box flight recorders from the doomed aircraft to Malaysian officials.

However, two senior military officers forcefully demanded that the United States show publicly any proof that rebels fired the fatal missile, and again suggested that the Ukrainian military shot down the Malaysia Airlines jet despite the fact that Ukraine has not used antiaircraft weapons in the fight along its eastern border.

Pro-Russian militiamen keep watch as Dutch forensic investigators prepare to inspect bodies.Journey Home Finally Begins for the Victims of Malaysia Airlines FlightJULY 21, 2014
Obama Denounces Russia and Separatists for Obstructing Crash SiteJULY 21, 2014
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces that two black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight will be handed over by Ukrainian rebels.Malaysia Premier Brokers Deal to Recover Black BoxesJULY 21, 2014
A piece of wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines jet downed over eastern Ukraine last week shows damage, including shrapnel holes and blistered paint, that is consistent with a hit from a fragmenting warhead, according to consultants with IHS-Jane’s.Jet Wreckage Bears Signs of Impact by Supersonic Missile, Analysis ShowsJULY 21, 2014
Times Topic: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Mr. Putin seemed to respond to the outraged international demands growing daily that he intervene personally to rein in the rebels — particularly to halt the degrading chaos surrounding the recovery of the remains. But at the same time, Moscow did not concede that it was at fault.

In the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine and urged Russia to push separatist rebels for access to the wreckage site. Publish Date July 21, 2014. Image CreditGabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

“Putin is trying to find his own variation of a twin-track decision, because he does not have a clear exit,” said Gleb O. Pavlovsky, a political consultant who once worked for the Kremlin.

The pressure continued to expand. President Obama delivered yet another personal rebuke to Mr. Putin from the White House lawn over the intransigence of the rebels toward the international investigation, hours before they agreed to more cooperation. In addition, an initial expert analysis of photographs of the airplane’s fuselage found that the damage was consistent with being struck by the type of missile that U.S. officials said was used.

On Tuesday, Russia faces the threat of far more serious sanctions from its main trading partners in Western Europe.

“Of course this is a strong blow to him, a strong blow to his strategy,” said Mr. Pavlovsky, referring to the fact that Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine have been discredited globally, due to suspicions that they shot down the aircraft and their handling of the crash site.

“It touches him too,” Mr. Pavlovsky said, “He wants to get out, but to get out without having lost.”

Mr. Obama called for Mr. Putin to “pivot away” from the rebels, linking him directly to their abuse of the crash site.

Continue reading the main story
Where the Wreckage Fell UPDATED JULY 21
Satellite imagery captured by DigitalGlobe on July 20 shows debris and burned ground within the area where witnesses say wreckage from the plane is most concentrated. The wreckage was strewn across farmland over an area estimated to be as large as 13 square miles. Related Maps »

“Russia, and President Putin in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation,” he said in brief remarks. “President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation and I appreciate those words, but they have to be supported by actions.”

Mr. Putin’s statement was issued on the Kremlin website at 1:40 a.m. Monday on video, with analysts suggesting the timing was aimed more at Washington than Russia.

The world’s leaders have no real ability, nor the stomach for significant action against Russia’s current strongman. Nothing will be forgiven, but all will be soon forgotten. I
His usual swagger seemed absent; instead he looked pasty and unsure, avoiding talking into the camera directly and leaning on a desk.

The statement did not break new ground, either. The Russian leader repeated his support for a thorough international investigation, and said Russia would pursue its efforts to move the fight over the future of southeastern Ukraine from the battlefield to the negotiating table. Mr. Putin did not address directly any accusations of Russian complicity in downing the aircraft.

By the end of the day there was one small diplomatic victory. The Malaysian government dealt directly with the leadership of the Russian-supported Donetsk People’s Republic, the breakaway faction in southeastern Ukraine, in negotiating the release of the bodies and the flight recorders.

Amid all the negotiating, the Ukrainian government pressed its attack on Donetsk, firing on rebel positions in the northwest of the city and killing at least three civilians. Ukraine denied that it hit civilian areas, but heavy damage in the city cast doubt on that assertion.

In his statement, Mr. Putin also warned that he was suspicious of all the criticism directed at the Kremlin. “No one should and no one has the right to use this tragedy to pursue their own political goals,” he said.

Mr. Putin often seethes with distrust and anger that the United States seeks to exploit any opening to weaken Russia, a widespread sentiment in Russia reflected in his high approval ratings. The entire Ukraine confrontation is rooted in his determination to stop the West from wrestling Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit.

Russians, too, exhibited a certain defensive anger about the current accusations, convinced that the West leapt to condemn them no matter what the issue.

Anastasia Lukina, 30, a sales manager in Moscow, said either side might have shot down the plane. “So the West says it wants a full investigation, but they’ve already accused us of killing those people?” she said. “We all know what the conclusion to that investigation will be. So why even bother pretending? Russia is the world’s scapegoat.”

That is the theme of much of coverage on state-run television, which has also aired all manner of theories lifted from the dark corners of the web.

One such theory holds that whoever shot down the plane was actually gunning for Mr. Putin, whose plane was over Eastern Europe at the time, returning from Latin America, for example

What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
An updated summary of what is known and not known about the crash.

Another argues that the bodies were actually from the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared four months ago — dumped only now to make the separatists look bad.

“In Russia, no one thinks that Russia is guilty,” said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist who specializes in studying Russia’s political elite.

The Kremlin actually spent months using state-run television to build the case that the Kiev government are a pack of “fascists,” bent on killing the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. It has softened that message somewhat in recent weeks, but not abandoned it.

Hence two senior Russian military commanders, sitting in a vast briefing room and dwarfed by the giant electronic screens overhead, used various satellite images and charts to raise a series of rhetorical questions that suggested that Ukraine and the United States deliberately plotted to shoot down the passenger jet. The unusual bilingual briefing was broadcast live on state-run television.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“According to U.S. declarations, they have satellite images that confirm that the missile was launched by the rebels, said Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartopolov, of the Russian General Staff. “But nobody has seen these images.”

He called for them to be released, hinting that they were taken by an experimental military satellite that was orbiting over eastern Ukraine on Thursday because Washington knew what it would photograph.

Among other accusations, the Russians said a Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 fighter jet that was airborne at the time briefly approached the same 33,000-feet altitude as the Boeing 777 and was within range to bring it down with an air-to-air missile.

As for Russia, it had nothing to do with arming the militiamen, General Kartopolov said. “I would like to emphasize that the Russian Federation did not deliver to the militiamen Buk antiaircraft missile systems, nor any other types of weapons or military equipment,” he said.

Ultimately, Russian policy might actually tilt according to what emerges from the investigation. If there is even a hint of doubt, Moscow might cling to both its support for the rebels and claims of its own virtue, analysts suggested.

“If there is not 100 percent proof, then Russia will continue to say” that they are not at fault, said Alexei V. Makarkin, an analyst at the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow. “If there is 95 or even 99 percent, then Russia will not agree with it. They can continue to support the insurgents in the east.”

Correction: July 22, 2014
Reporting was contributed by Andrew Roth and Alexandra Odynova from Moscow; David M. Herszenhorn from Kiev; Sabrina Tavernise and Noah Sneider from Torez, Ukraine; and Keith Bradsher and Chris Buckley from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


» Birthright Citizenship is Flatly Unconstitutional » Fresh Ink — GOPUSA

constitutionBecause the current policy is that any child who is born here, even to an illegal alien, is automatically a citizen of the United States, pregnant illegal aliens by the thousands commit criminal trespass in order to give birth on U.S. soil. There is also a bustling business in birth tourism, where pregnant foreigners on tourist visas are hosted by a growing hospitality industry devoted to their comfort until the day of delivery – and U.S. citizenship – arrives.

All this has led to calls to amend our Constitution to bring this misguided and misdirected practice to an end.

But we do not need to amend the Constitution to fix this problem; a correct reading of the Constitution indicates that such children born on our soil are specifically excluded from citizenship.

The clause at issue is found in the 14th Amendment, which reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United Statesand subject to the jurisdiction thereofare citizens of the United States…”

A plain reading clearly indicates that birthright citizenship is granted only to those who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States when they are born on American soil. Illegal aliens and their children, by definition, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. That’s why they can be deported. Their children are no more subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. than their parents are, and as little entitled to citizenship.

The “jurisdiction” clause was added to the 14th Amendment only after a lengthy debate. According to NumbersUSA, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan proposed the amendment because he wanted to make it clear that the simple accident of birth on U.S. soil was not in fact enough to confer citizenship.

Sen. Howard said the jurisdiction requirement is “simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already,” an apparent reference to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, about which more in a moment.

In his debate, Sen. Howard said, “[T]his will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States…”

The logic is inescapable. If the children of foreign diplomats, who are in this country legally, are not U.S. citizens by birth, how is it possible that children of illegal aliens could be?

The only Democrat to participate in the debate was Sen. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland. In debate, he said this about the meaning of this particular clause: “[A]ll persons born in the United Statesand not subject to some foreign Power– for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before — shall be considered as citizens of the United States.”

The 14th Amendment was passed in order to elevate the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to constitutionally protected status and insulate it from legal challenge. The CRA of 1866 has a virtually identical clause in it, which reads, “[A]ll persons born in the United Statesand not subject to any foreign power,excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

This makes it particularly clear, for the children of those in Indian tribes were born on U.S. soil, but were not considered citizens under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 because they were subject to a foreign power, the sovereign Indian nation to which they belonged.

As George Beck writes, “‘[T]ribal’ Indians were purposefully excluded from citizenship. The drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly defined ‘tribal’ Indians as ‘Indians not taxed,’ as not ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States.”

Ken Kuklowski puts it this way, “[T]he Civil Rights Act’s parallel language, ‘and not subject to any foreign power,’ instead shows the Jurisdiction Clause excludes all citizens of any foreign country. The Citizenship Clause was intended to overrule the most infamous Supreme Court case in American history—the 1857Dred Scottcase—and ensure free blacks born in America could not be denied citizenship. It was never designed to make a citizen of every child born to a foreigner.”

Since 1795, aliens have been required to renounce allegiance to any foreign power and declare allegiance to the U.S. Constitution to become a naturalized citizen. They are required to do so because such allegiance was never assumed or taken for granted for an alien born on American soil. For instance, our family has a framed copy of my great-grandfather’s renunciation of his allegiance to the Czar of Russia hanging on the wall of our living room. It was a prerequisite to his being granted full citizenship in the United States.

Anyone born here, on U.S. soil, whose parents owed allegiance to some foreign power, were not considered citizens of the U.S. by birth and should not be today.

Bryan Fischer is director of issues analysis for the American Family Association. He hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).


The People’s Department…NOT

Part III in a series penned by a 29-year executive level veteran of the USDA that exposes the flawed underbelly of an Agency that is corrupted to the core by reverse racism and political correctness of the worst kind.

The first two articles exposed the racism, environmental excesses and unfairness to the farmers within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that is purported to serve under Obama (see the responsibility avoidance exposed below). Those essays also exposed the cronyism within the management ranks, the racial quotas disguised as affirmative action and the self-serving liberal leadership at the “People’s Department”, as USDA calls itself.

Now let’s discuss “Double the Pleasure”, aka “redundancy”. Only three percent of Americans receive most of their income from farming. So WHY does the government have a monstrous USDA with 105,000 employees? When you figure there are 1.2 million farmers and farm workers you get a ratio of 1 employee for every 11.4 farmers. The USDA has more than 20 sub agencies some of which house more than 11,000 employees. How is this possible?

For starters, we have the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Rural Development Agency (RD). All are under the USDA umbrella and are housed in every state and territory of the United States. These agencies have offices that serve every single county of the United States. Great service delivery one might suppose. However, this is not the case at all.

In any given county across the US and its Territories there is an office with these three agencies. That means New York City, Detroit, Chicago have USDA offices. Imagine that for a moment. To support this wasteful structure there are three Level 15 ($140K/Year) Directors; three Level 13 ($125K) administrative officers; three Level 12 ($80K) human resources officers and an assortment of support staff for each agency.

Wait…it gets worse!

That bloated staff tends to trip over themselves while serving the same clientele. Taxpayer money is misspent by paying for salaries, benefits and real estate. Then we add three Level 12 District Directors plus an assortment of GS 9, 8, and 7 employees serving a few farmers in every County. They also give money to other organizations such as the Soil and Water Conservation Districts to augment and hide the actual size of the workforce.

It should be obvious that a single agency would be more efficient and less expensive. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is more than capable of supporting the needs the public and a consolidated agency would eliminate administrative redundancy and serve clients better.

Remember, NRCS serves environmental special interest groups like “Defenders of Wildlife” by diverting Congressional appropriations meant for all American farmers into “special” environmental areas. That leaves other farmers waiting a long time for technical and financial assistance. Every time there’s talk of merging NRCS and FSA, the Soil and Water Conservation District (a national organization of local volunteers funded by Federal and State agencies such as NRCS) send $1,000 “suits” (lobbyists) to Washington to stop any downsizing. The goal is to keep the standalone agencies with three monstrous administrative support systems. But this is an incestuous relationship because the lobbyists are indirectly paid by a USDA cooperative agreement (non-competitive) with various state organizations. Those state chapters are charged membership fees and the funds come from both State and Federal Funds. Find all this ridiculous?

And don’t be deceived by the Federal “Gobots”. There are Senior Executive Service government employees who are paid $200K to figure out how to keep the agency’s doors open. Innocent? Not so much when you ask how many government employees are really needed for the job. But these well-groomed “Gobots” speak and write in perfect grammar and impress Congressional Agriculture Committees whose “distinguished” members who know little to nothing about agriculture. I helped write the 2008 Farm Bill for Congressional Conference Committees. What an exercise in futility!

Would that be all? No! All of these agencies are full of employees who sue and ask for court settlements for frivolous equal opportunity and civil rights complaints. There are many USDA employees who are given consolation prizes for mismanagement or for violating laws by allowing them to work from home. Example: a State Director who was accused of misconduct is now working from home with pay as a GS 15 ($140K salary) instead of getting suspended or fired. In the meantime, honest taxpayers are working hard as employees or business owners while these incompetent USDA people retire with steady paychecks and public sector benefits.

Injustice for all!

“Wait! It’s not my fault! I didn’t know this was going on.” Sound familiar? Yes, President Obama’s response to his responsibility for Veterans Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and USDA scandals. In the meantime, your employer holds you responsible for the results of your area of work. But the President is avoiding responsibility and allows his Cabinet to do the same.

Will this continue under Clinton – Bush – Obama…Clinton?

The fourth article (Epilogue) will be very personal. Fear of eternal litigation, however, requires that I solemnly state that all the accused are innocent until proven guilty. Republicans and Democrats should be held equally responsible for cleaning up this fiscal mess.


H. Michael Hervey
Conservative Party USA
Twitter: @cpartyusa_01

IRS E-mail jeopardy

IRS Email Jeopardy
The agency had a legal obligation to retain the records it lost.

Updated June 25, 2014 5:49 p.m. ET
The IRS is spinning a tale of bureaucratic incompetence to explain the vanishing emails from former Tax Exempt Organizations doyenne Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees. We have less faith by the minute that there is an innocent explanation for this failure to cooperate with Congress, but even if true it doesn’t matter. The IRS was under a legal obligation to retain the information because of a litigation hold.

In 2009 a pro-Israel group called Z Street applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status. When the process was delayed, an IRS agent told the group that its application was undergoing special review because “these cases are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.” In August 2010 Z Street sued the IRS on grounds that this selective processing of its application amounted to viewpoint discrimination.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and legal precedent, once the suit was filed the IRS was required to preserve all evidence relevant to the viewpoint-discrimination charge. That means that no matter what dog ate Lois Lerner’s hard drive or what the IRS habit was of recycling the tapes used to back up its email records of taxpayer information, it had a legal duty not to destroy the evidence in ongoing litigation.

In private white-collar cases, companies facing a lawsuit routinely operate under what is known as a “litigation hold,” instructing employees to affirmatively retain all documents related to the potential litigation. A failure to do that and any resulting document loss amounts to what is called “willful spoliation,” or deliberate destruction of evidence if any of the destroyed documents were potentially relevant to the litigation.

At the IRS, that requirement applied to all correspondence regarding Z Street, as well as to information related to the vetting of conservative groups whose applications for tax-exempt status were delayed during an election season. Instead, and incredibly, the IRS cancelled its contract with email-archiving firm Sonasoft shortly after Ms. Lerner’s computer “crash” in June 2011.

In the federal District of Columbia circuit where Z Street’s case is now pending, the operating legal obligation is that “negligent or reckless spoliation of evidence is an independent and actionable tort.” In a 2011 case a D.C. district court also noted that “Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a ‘litigation hold’ to ensure the preservation of relevant documents.”

The government’s duty is equally pressing. “When the United States comes into court as a party in a civil suit, it is subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as any other litigant,” the Court of Federal Claims ruled in 2007. The responsibility to preserve evidence should have been a topic of conversation between the IRS chief counsel’s office and the Justice Department lawyers assigned to handle the Z Street case.

As it happens, the IRS also had a duty to notify Congress if it learned that discoverable evidence had been lost or destroyed. We now know that the IRS has been aware of Lois Lerner’s lost emails since at least February, but IRS Commissioner John Koskinen failed to mention this in his congressional testimony on March 26, saying instead that the IRS was fully cooperating with congressional requests.

Since the email destruction story broke, the IRS has pushed the narrative that losing or recycling emails was no big deal for the agency that wields the government’s fearsome taxing power. The agency isn’t nearly as cavalier about the responsibilities of groups whose tax status it handles.

One tax-exempt group represented by Washington lawyer Cleta Mitchell had a policy of retaining documents for one year. But under a deal insisted upon by the IRS, the group had to retain correspondence such as email for three years and permanently for “legal or important matters,” or it risked losing its tax-exempt status.

So much for the IRS living by its own rules, and on Tuesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing we learned of another IRS legal failure. Archivist of the United States David Ferriero said the IRS “did not follow the law” when it failed to report the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails. All federal agencies are “required to notify us when they realize they have a problem that could be destruction or disposal, unauthorized disposal” of federal records, he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder won’t name a special prosecutor, but there’s still plenty of room for the judge in the Z Street case to force the IRS to explain and answer for its “willful spoliation” of email evidence.


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