Tag Archive: current-events


Russia’s Message on Jet: Conciliation and Bluster
By NEIL MacFARQUHARJULY 21, 2014

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.

 

The power to destroy

THE POWER TO DESTROY
JUDGE ORDERS IRS TO EXPLAIN MISSING EMAILS
Big court victory for government watchdog group
Published: 7 days ago
author-image GARTH KANT About | Email | Archive

WASHINGTON – The IRS will have to explain exactly what happened to Lois Lerner’s missing emails to a judge and under oath.

Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the IRS to make a sworn declaration in writing describing how Lerner could have lost all the emails she sent to other departments from mid-2009 to mid-2011. The declaration is due by August 10.

The judge also assigned federal magistrate John Facciola, an expert in e-discovery, to find out if there is another way to retrieve the emails.

Lerner claims her emails were lost when her hard drive crashed on July 13, 2011. The IRS claims her hard drive was then recycled and destroyed.

The missing emails were sent during the very period in which Lerner, the former tax-exempt division chief, improperly targeted conservative groups.

The judge’s ruling was a significant victory for Judicial Watch, the non-profit government watchdog group which had filed a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request for Lerner’s emails from 2010 to the present.

Judicial Watch has been seeking the emails since May 2013 and requested today’s hearing to have the IRS explain what happened to Lerner’s emails, and to explain why the group was never informed they were missing.

Judicial lawyer Ramona Cotca said the IRS never informed the group or the court about the lost emails, even though, she noted, the judge had ordered the department to produce requested documents monthly.

Representing the IRS, Justice Department attorney Geoffery Klimas cited a series of precedents to argue the agency was not legally obligated to inform Judicial Watch about the missing emails because they had disappeared before the group requested them.

Judicial Watch grew so frustrated with the IRS it filed a lawsuit in October, stating the agency had produced no documents related to the group’s request.

Judge Sullivan did not grant a request from Cotca to conduct a limited discovery into what happened to Lerner’s emails, which could have compelled IRS officials to testify, saying that would be premature.

However, the judge did authorize Judicial Watch to submit a request for limited discovery into the missing IRS records after September 10.

Klimas revealed that the Treasury Department’s inspector general has begun an investigation into the missing emails, and has asked the IRS not to question witnesses, so as not to interfere with the investigation.

Lerner is not the only IRS employee under investigation whose emails are missing.

Incredibly, the IRS says the hard drives of six other employees also lost their emails due to hard drive crashes.

When Judge Sullivan asked the IRS attorney if they had all lost their emails at the same time, a smattering of laughter rippled through the courtroom.

The judge isn’t the only one who may be skeptical about the extraordinary timing of the lost emails.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said after the hearing, “In our view, there has been a cover-up that has been going on.”

“The Department of Justice, the IRS, had an obligation, an absolute obligation … to alert the court and alert Judicial Watch as soon as they knew when these records were supposedly lost.”

Fitton said Judicial watch attorneys were encouraged and very pleased with the judge’s actions, and call the assignment of a magistrate, “extraordinary.”

When a reporter asked if it were not better to let Congress continue its investigations before taking legal action against the IRS, Fitton noted that Congress had only learned of numerous emails crucial to the investigation because of FOIA requests made by Judicial Watch.

Just one month ago, the IRS belatedly informed congressional committees that Lerner’s emails were missing.

The IRS then informed Congress that Lerner’s computer hard drive was recycled and apparently destroyed.

The IRS also then informed Congress that it did not keep backup copies of emails for more than six months, because they were stored on a on old-fashioned tape that is re-used every six months.

Members of Congress were incredulous that the IRS, which requires tax-payers to save records going back seven years, did not save emails for more than six months.

As WND reported, when asked by members of the House Oversight Committee on June 23 why the IRS used such an antiquated system, IRS Comissioner John Kokinen testified that the estimated cost of $10-to-30 million was too much.

Expressing disbelief, Chairman Darrell Issa,R-Calif., said, given the IRS’s $1.8 billion IT budget, should that not have been a priority?

“If we had the right resources, there would be a lot of priorities,” testily retorted Koskinen.

However, Rep. Scott Desjarlais, R-Tenn. pointed out that $10-to-30 million was not much compared to the $89 million the IRS paid in bonuses last year, including $1 million to employees who actually owed back taxes.

Lerner has admitted the IRS improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, and testimony from others has revealed the agency asked such as invasive questions as what books their members read and what prayers they said.

However, Lerner refused to testify before Congress, twice invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

After she pleaded the fifth a second time, Issa told WND that without Lerner’s testimony, investigators might never find out who ordered the IRS to target conservatives.

Investigators had hoped Lerner’s emails might reveal that information.

IRS chief Koskinen testified he’d learned of a problem with Lerner’s computer in February but didn’t learn of the missing emails until April.

Members of the Oversight committee were livid that not only did the IRS not inform Congress about the missing emails until June, someone at the IRS informed the White House in April.

GOP lawmakers demanded that Koskinen find out who at the IRS leaked the information to the White House.

Thursday’s court action follows Wednesday’s revelation of more key emails from Lerner, during an Oversight hearing, unrelated to the IRS scandal, that was actually called to look at improper government payments.

An email Lerner sent on April 9, 2013, warned colleagues to be careful about what they wrote in emails because Congress could end up reading them.

The IRS first became aware that Congress was looking into potential targeting of conservatives on Jun 3, 2011, when chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., sent a letter to the IRS.

“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails,” Lerner wrote in April.

She also asked whether the IRS instant message communications were stored automatically.

When a tech staffer said they were not unless employees copied them, she replied, “Perfect.”

Less than a month later, Lerner would use a planted question at a conference event to admit the IRS had improperly targeted conservatives.

Oversight committee members were yet again incensed it took so long for them to learn about Lerner emails requested for more than a year.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/judge-orders-irs-to-explain-missing-emails/#5ULOoDG3rYkLJ6cT.99

» 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).

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Hobby Lobby Does Want Bosses Out of the Bedroom. Why Are These Liberal Senators Against That?

Sarah Torre / July 10, 2014

Obamacare has been on a collision course with Americans’ individual liberty and religious freedom from the beginning. Last week’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case prevented Obamacare’s Department of Health and Human Services mandate from careening into the religious freedom of family business owners, on the basis of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Now some liberals would like that religious freedom protection out of the way of Obamacare’s health care dictates.

Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Mark Udall, D-Colo., introduced legislation yesterday that would essentially exempt all federal health care mandates from the protections afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The bill would force families like the Greens of Hobby Lobby and the Hahns of Conestoga Wood Specialties who run businesses and other American employers to provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices, contraception, and sterilization — regardless of religious objection. It would also prohibit employers from seeking relief from any federal health care mandate — no matter how coercive the rule or controversial the procedure.

The bill could also affect the freedom of non-profit employers like religious schools and charities.

Murray’s proposal would specifically prohibit employers from seeking relief from the HHS mandate under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – a law the senator voted for in 1993.

Passed by unanimous voice vote in the House and 97-3 in the Senate, the religious freedom law prohibits substantial burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive way possible. Congress included religious organizations and businesses in the law’s protections and its delicate balancing test has served the country well for more than 20 years.

RFRA has not, like Murray and others claim, offered a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion. Neither did the Court’s decision last week.

Nor did the Supreme Court’s decision strike down the HHS mandate, as Murray and others claim. Non-grandfathered health plans must still include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and sterilization. And all women remain free to make decisions about those drugs and devices for themselves. A handful of family businesses like the Greens’ Hobby Lobby and the Hahns’ Conestoga Wood Specialties simply want the freedom not to participate in those decisions in violation of their deeply held beliefs.

Murray, Planned Parenthood, and others would like to “get bosses out of the bedroom,” and these bosses – it turns out – would very much like to oblige, if only government bureaucrats weren’t blocking the doorway.

As the Supreme Court noted in its opinion last week, there were plenty of other ways for the government to provide no-cost contraception directly to women who wanted it – without hijacking employers’ health plans and trampling on religious freedom. Murray’s approach, however, takes none of those alternate routes, but would only accelerate the government’s running roughshod over fundamental freedoms.

Ironically, Murray hopes her efforts will “return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care.” But that won’t happen while Obamacare is law of the land, since it gave government bureaucrats the authority to decide the details of insurance plans, dictating what employers must offer and individuals must purchase.

Employees, individuals and all Americans should be able to choose health care that best fits the needs of their families and respects their freedom. And employers should be able to build businesses in accordance with their values without threat of penalties.

Americans deserve a health-care system that increases access, helps keep costs down, and allows individuals and families to provide and choose health care coverage that respects their values. They shouldn’t have their healthcare dictated by unelected bureaucrats or their fundamental right to religious freedom disregarded.

 

Analysis: New Study Did Not Prove That Gay Parents Are Better

BY NAPP NAZWORTH , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
July 9, 2014|7:07 am

Several liberal media organizations are reporting the results of a new same-sex parenting study which suggests that gay parents do a better job of raising children than the general population. There are four imporant points to understand about that study, however.

Here are a few of the headlines:

CBS News: “Children of same-sex couples healthy, well-adjusted, study finds”

NBC News: “Children of Same-Sex Parents Are Healthier: Study”

The Huffington Post: “Children Of Gay Parents Are Happier And Healthier Than Their Peers, New Study Finds”

Vox: “Largest-ever study of same-sex couples’ kids finds they’re better off than other children”

The study, though, does not warrant the conclusions suggested by those titles.

“Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey,” by lead author Dr. Simon R. Crouch at The University of Melbourne in Australia, was published June 21 by the journal BMC Public Health. The co-authors were Elizabeth Waters, Ruth McNair, Jennifer Power and Elise Davis. Power is affiliated with La Trobe University. The rest of the authors are at The University of Melbourne.

The study found that children of same-sex parents scored higher on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion than the general population of Australia. The study also measured how often the parents felt stigmatized for being gay. A high number of stigmas was negatively correlated with measures of the children’s physical activity, mental health and family cohesion.

Here are four important points to understand about the study:

1) The study did not use a random sample.

To make a generalizable conclusion about a population, scientific studies need a large, probability sample of the population, sometimes called “random sample” or “representative sample.” A probability sample means that those surveyed are representative of the general population.

The Crouch study was based upon a convenience sample, or non-probability sample. Participants for the study were recruited through gay and lesbian community email lists and ads posted in gay and lesbian press. This means that the participants volunteered for the study and were not randomly chosen from the population.

The sample had 315 parents of 500 children. Most of the children, 80 percent, had a female parent complete the survey. Eighteen percent had a male parent, while the remaining parents described themselves as “other gendered.”

As stated in the study: “Every effort was made to recruit a representative sample, and from the limited data available about same-sex parent families it appears that the [study's] sample does reflect the general context of these families in contemporary Australia.”

Convenience samples can be an important research tool when probability samples are difficult to achieve. They can also help researchers design better studies and help them resolve issues with their research before conducting large scale studies. Social scientists understand, however, that conclusions about a general population should not be drawn based upon a convenience sample.

2) The study did not compare same-sex parents to biological parents.

Previous studies have shown that kids do best when they are raised by their biological parents and those parents are married. The Crouch study, however, compares its convenience sample of children raised by same-sex parents to the general population, which includes those raised by single parents, step parents, foster parents and other same-sex parents.

The study cannot conclude, therefore, that children raised by gay parents have better or worse outcomes than children raised in two-parent heterosexual households.

3) The study relies upon parent-reported outcomes.

The health and well-being of the children are based upon what the parents say they are. While these measures are being compared to other parent-reported measures, there are reasons that gay and lesbian parents might overstate their outcomes at a greater rate than the general population.

The survey was conducted while Australia is debating redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Part of that debate deals with child-rearing. Government recognition of marriage should only be for a man and woman, proponents of traditional marriage argue, because this arrangement is best suited for the raising of children, which is a public good.

It is in the interests of gay marriage supporters, therefore, to show that gay couples can raise children just as well as straight couples. The gays and lesbians who volunteered to participate in the Crouch study likely understood the significance of the study. As a result, they may have inflated their results more than the average parent. Additionally, gays and lesbians who are raising children with poor outcomes may have been reluctant to participate in the study for similar reasons.

4) Studies using probability samples show poor outcomes for gay parents.

Two recent studies that did use probability samples showed some poor outcomes for children of gays and lesbians.

RELATED
The New Family Structures Study at the University of Texas led by sociologist Mark Regnerus found, for instance, that those who reported that at least one parent had a same-sex relationship had poor outcomes along a range of variables. They were, for instance more likely to be depressed, unemployed, have more sex partners and report negative impressions of their childhood.

A study published last December by economist Douglas W. Allen looked at a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census and found that children from gay and lesbian families were less likely to graduate from high school than children raised by opposite sex couples and single parents.

The issue of gay parenting in highly politicized. In such an environment, liberal media tend to exaggerate the results of those studies that appear to confirm their biases and write hyper-critically about the studies showing different results. Conservative media have similarly focused more on reporting the research that confirms their biases.

There are some significant differences, though, between how Allen and Regnerus are presenting their findings compared to Crouch and other social scientists who say there are no differences between gay and straight parents. Unlike the “no differences” social scientists, Allen and Regnerus do not argue that their studies are conclusive.

Gay parenting is difficult to study because it is so new. In the history of human civilization, gay parenting has only recently become culturally accepted. To understand the effects on the children they raise, social scientists need more and larger samples and time — time for the kids raised by gays and lesbians to grow up and have outcomes that can be measured and compared to those raised by other family types. Allen and Regnerus point this out in their research and other reports.

For the time being, research has shown that biological, two-parent households provide, on average, the best outcomes for children compared to all other family types. Additional research has demonstrated the unique contributions of mothers and fathers to child development. (One study, for instance, found that fatherlessness harms the brain.) These studies should be sufficient to at least raise suspicion of the studies suggesting that kids raised by parents of the same gender have the same, or better outcomes as kids raised by both a mom and a dad.

The social scientists reporting “no differences,” on the other hand, make sweeping generalizations based only upon their small, non-random samples that confirm their liberal biases. Liberal media uncritically follow them.

Some of Regnerus’ liberal critics have also argued that his findings should be ignored because he is a conservative Catholic. Crouch, though, is a gay man raising two kids with his partner. Would these same critics suggest that Crouch’s study should be ignored because Crouch is personally invested in the results?

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)

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
Chairman
Conservative Party USA
hmhervey@cp-usa.org
Twitter: @cpartyusa_01

 
We ran across something that greatly disturbed us as we were researching illegal immigration. U.S. District Judge Korman has decided that the border — the area 100 miles inland from the entire U.S. border — falls under a “border exemption” and is being called a “Constitutional Exemption Zone”… all in the name of “national security”. People that are in this area are subject to being stopped and searched at random. So, our Constitutional Rights are being SUSPENDED in the 100-mile Constitutional Exemption Zone? Does this affect EVERYONE? What does this all mean, and to what can it lead? What is being planned for all of us in this ‘exemption zone’?

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect us from unreasonable search and seizure, including arbitrary and random stops and searches.

U.S. CONSTITUTION – AMENDMENT IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Within 100 miles of the U.S. border, however, these rules DO NOT apply.

Constitutional Exemption Zones are being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. It appears that this federal agency isn’t really securing the borders but are extinguishing the Fourth Amendment Rights of over 197 million people within 100 miles of the border… and the ocean?

Secure The Republic is very concerned about this new “Constitutional Exemption Zone”. What is REALLY going on? Most of our metropolitan cities fall within this area. 2/3 of Americans (197.4 MILLION people) will be affected by this. These people could find themselves WITHOUT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. If the 4th Amendment can be removed (the one which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures), so can the other amendments! It appears that our borders are being eliminated and the sovereignty of our country is under attack.

This map from the ACLU is hard to beat because it shows the 100-mile “Constitutional Exemption Zone” visually, including cities which will be affected. Take a look for yourself! Pay special attention to the GREAT LAKES area. We’ll comment more about that in the future…

https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights-constitution-free-zone-map

Border search exception law and legal definition This is the Border Exception Law that is being implemented. The power to conduct warrantless search is referenced under 8 USCS § 1357. This is covered in the link.

Folks, this is not about border security. Our borders haven’t been secure in MANY years. This is about losing state sovereignty and our constitutional rights. This includes dropping national borders. Remember, it’s a well-orchestrated plan that has been slowly coming together and will strip us of our constitutional rights. You’ll find that proponents of these random searches and seizures make it sound good, but we need to know where their true motivation lies… It appears to us that we are in a type of police state.

Also, study your state constitution. You may find that it no longer describes the boundaries of your state, effectively abolishing your state. At last check, the only states that still lay out their boundaries in their constitutions are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Arkansas’ Constitution has been checked, and their boundary is found in Article I under “Boundaries”. The description of the boundary for your state may be found in a different location than Article I in your particular state’s constitution.

When the State borders are no longer in the State Constitution, it is the signal that the State has lost its sovereignty. WAKE UP AMERICA! Is your state boundary being abolished? Think about it another way: would you buy a piece of property that has no legal definition?
In order to better understand this, you will need to obtain a copy of your present state constitution to see if your state legislature has removed the boundaries of your state. The only way that these changes can be made is to change the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. The promoters of Regional Governance and a One-World Government know this. It looks like STATE BOUNDARIES WILL HAVE TO BE ABOLISHED BEFORE REGIONAL GOVERNANCE and a ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT CAN BE FULLY ENFORCED IN THE UNITED STATES. Once this happens, there will be a centralization of power. State boundaries have already been abolished in 33 of 50 states!

We wanted to make you aware of the dangers which we could face if we don’t abide by our U.S. Constitution, but you’ll need to do your own in-depth research on this topic.

Securing the blessings of liberty,

Secure the Republic
SecureTheRepublic.com
Info@SecureTheRepublic.com

IRS E-mail jeopardy

REVIEW & OUTLOOK
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.

No Confidence
Hardly anybody believes the IRS’s story about Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails

By JAMES TARANTO CONNECT
June 25, 2014
A new Fox News survey asks the following question: “The Internal Revenue Service says that two years of emails from IRS employees about targeting conservative and tea party groups were accidentally destroyed because of a computer crash and cannot be recovered. Do you believe the IRS that the emails were destroyed accidentally or do you think they were destroyed deliberately?”

Before we reveal the results, pause and take a guess: What percentage of respondents do you think believe the IRS?

We’d have said between 30% and 40%. The administration, backed by its allies in the Democratic Party and the media, has cast the scandal in partisan terms, as a Republican witch hunt. Obama himself told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in February that while “there were some bone-headed decisions,” there was no “mass corruption. Not even a smidgen of corruption.”

Given the partisan polarization of America’s political culture–a long-term trend that predates Obama’s presidency but certainly has not been arrested by it–we’d have expected at least Obama’s hard-core political base to express support for the IRS position. The president’s approval rating hasn’t dropped far below 40% in any poll we’re aware of; it’s 41% in the Fox survey.

Enlarge Image

Lois Lerner, stonewalling last year. Associated Press
The proportion of respondents who believe the IRS’s claim to have destroyed the emails accidentally: 12%. That’s congressional-approval-rating territory. Seventy-six percent disbelieve the IRS story, and the remaining 12% say they’re “unsure.” Asked whether Congress should continue to investigate, the ayes had it, 74% to 21%.

To be sure, whether people believe the IRS is telling the truth is a different question from whether the IRS is telling the truth. Opinion polls can’t resolve the latter question. But what the Fox survey shows is a broad public distrust of the IRS and, by implication, of the president.

Two developments yesterday suggest the distrust is warranted. The Daily Signal reports that “under a consent judgment [yesterday], the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a result of the unlawful release of the confidential information to a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, that is NOM’s chief political rival.”

Meanwhile, David Ferreiro, the U.S. archivist, testified yesterday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He told lawmakers that the IRS did not report the lost emails to the National Archives, as the law provides. A cautious Ferreiro “stopped short of saying the tax-collecting agency ‘broke’ the law, saying ‘I am not a lawyer,’ ” Politico reports. “But when pressed by Michigan Republican Tim Walberg about whether the IRS failure to inform the National Archives when it learned that two years of the former head of the tax exempt division’s email were lost, he said: ‘They did not follow the law.’ “

Each of these developments refutes Obama’s claim that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.” And if the public is right that the destruction of emails was a deliberate coverup–and keep in mind that not just Lois Lerner but six other IRS employees are said to have suffered contemporaneous hard-drive crashes–that surely qualifies as “mass corruption,” even irrespective of the facts of the underlying scandal.

The president’s claim that there was no corruption never quite made logical sense. To believe it, you have to accept two premises: that the IRS acted on its own, without direction from the White House or other politicians; and that it did so incompetently rather than corruptly. Both these premises could be true. But if the first one is–if the problem at the IRS was the lack of supervision rather than the following of corrupt orders from above–then Obama is in no position to make authoritative declarations about what the IRS was up to.

The Fox poll is a stunning vote of no confidence not just in the Obama administration but in the government itself. Public skepticism of government is a healthy impulse, and in this case it seems fully warranted. A government that cannot inspire even a minimal degree of public confidence is a danger to itself and to the country.

 

Jindal Says ‘Rebellion Brewing’ Against Washington
WASHINGTON — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital.

Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics.

“I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States,” Jindal said, “where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.”

The governor said there was a “silent war” on religious liberty being fought in the U.S. — a country that he said was built on that liberty.

“I am tired of the left. They say they’re for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them,” he said. “The left is trying to silence us and I’m tired of it, I won’t take it anymore.”

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Earlier this week, Jindal signed an executive order to block the use of tests tied to Common Core education standards in his state, a position favored by tea party supporters and conservatives. He said he would continue to fight against the administration’s attempts to implement Common Core.

“The federal government has no role, no right and no place dictating standards in our local schools across these 50 states of the United States of America,” Jindal said.

Jindal used humor in criticizing the Obama administration on several fronts, referencing the Bergdahl prisoner exchange and the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question,” he said. “I’ve thought long and hard about it. Here’s the only answer I’ve come up with, and I’m going to quote Secretary Clinton: ‘What difference does it make?'”

The conference featured most of the well-known Republicans considering a 2016 presidential run, including Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Jindal is expected to announce after the November midterm elections whether or not he will launch a presidential bid.

 

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