Tag Archive: politics


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.

 

It’s to bad that Miss Louisiana, Brittany Guidry did not quote Cicero who said:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. BUT IT CANNOT SURVIVE TREASON FROM WITHIN. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But THE TRAITOR MOVES AMONGST THOSE WITHIN THE GATE FREELY, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of GOVERNMENT itself. FOR THE TRAITOR APPEARS NOT A TRAITOR; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, HE APPEALS TO THE BASENESS THAT LIES DEEP IN THE HEARTS OF ALL MEN. HE ROTS THE SOUL OF A NATION, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A MURDERER IS LESS TO FEAR. THE TRAITOR IS THE PLAGUE.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
Source:

Attributed. 58 BC, Speech in the Roman Senate

Bergdahl Is Said to Have History of Leaving Post
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and ERIC SCHMITTJUNE 5, 2014

The Taliban released a video that shows the moment Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed to United States forces in eastern Afghanistan.
Credit Voice of Jihad Website, via Associated Press Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyShare This Page
WASHINGTON — A classified military report detailing the Army’s investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in June 2009 says that he had wandered away from assigned areas before — both at a training range in California and at his remote outpost in Afghanistan — and then returned, according to people briefed on it.

The roughly 35-page report, completed two months after Sergeant Bergdahl left his unit, concludes that he most likely walked away of his own free will from his outpost in the dark of night, and it criticized lax security practices and poor discipline in his unit. But it stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that Sergeant Bergdahl, then a private, intended to permanently desert.

Whether Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter who never intended to come back, or simply slipped away for a short adventure amid an environment of lax security and discipline and was then captured, is one of many unanswered questions about his disappearance

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The issue is murky, the report said, in light of Sergeant Bergdahl’s previous episodes of walking off. The report cites accounts from his unit mates that in their predeployment exercise at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., he sneaked or crawled off a designated course or range either to see how far he could go or to see a sunrise or sunset.

The report is also said to cite members of his platoon as saying that he may have taken a shorter unauthorized walk outside the concertina wire of his combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan before he left for good, in an episode that was apparently not reported up the chain of command. The newspaper Military Times on Wednesday first reported that claim, also citing officials familiar with the military’s report.

But the report is said to contain no mention of Sergeant Bergdahl’s having left behind a letter in his tent that explicitly said he was deserting and explained his disillusionment, as a retired senior military official briefed on the investigation at the time told The New York Times this week.

Asked about what appeared to be a disconnect, the retired officer insisted that he remembered reading a field report discussing the existence of such a letter in the early days of the search and was unable to explain why it was not mentioned in the final investigative report.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to discuss the report or make it available.

Key Questions in the Release of Bowe Bergdahl
Sorting out the facts and the controversy surrounding the release of the lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict.
“The Department of Defense does not discuss information contained within classified investigations,” he said. “The department is making every consideration regarding the disposition of its continued classification.”

The narrative about Sergeant Bergdahl over the past few days has undergone a rapid evolution based on accounts by current and former soldiers, which have grown increasingly dark. They have gone from saying he should not be treated as a hero because he was a deserter and blaming the subsequent search for him for every American combat death in the province over a three-month period, to alleging that there is evidence that he was trying to meet up with the Taliban.

Amid the controversy, an event in his hometown, Hailey, Idaho, to celebrate his return has been canceled. But the accounts of the investigative report, which was described as meticulous and thorough, suggest that even basic facts necessary to understand how he came to disappear have yet to be definitively established.

The people briefed on the “15-6 report,” named for the army regulation covering such investigations, described it on the condition of anonymity because it remains classified. The report was written by an investigating officer in July and August of 2009 after extensive interviews with members of Sergeant Bergdahl’s unit, including his squad leader, platoon leader, and company and battalion commanders.

The report is also said to contain no mention of any alleged intercepts of radio or cellphone traffic indicating that Sergeant Bergdahl was asking villagers if anyone spoke English and trying to get in touch with the Taliban, as two former squad mates told CNN this week in separate interviews; they both said they remembered hearing about the intercepts from a translator who received the report.

A leaked military activity report that contemporaneously logged significant events during the initial eight-day search for Sergeant Bergdahl says that at 10:12 a.m. on June 30, about six hours after he was reported missing, an unidentified man was overheard on a radio or cellphone saying that an American soldier with a camera “is looking for someone who speaks English.”

Still, the log says nothing about the unidentified man’s saying that the American wanted to get in touch with the Taliban.

OPINION
California Drains Reservoirs in the Middle of a Drought
The state desperately needs water, yet federal policy sends huge ‘pulse flows’ into the Pacific to benefit fish.

By TOM MCCLINTOCK
May 23, 2014 6:52 p.m. ET
One of the worst droughts in California’s history has devastated more than a half-million acres of the most fertile farmland in America. In communities like Sacramento, “water police” go from door to door to enforce conservation measures. There’s even a mobile “app” to report neighbors to city authorities so they can be fined for wasting water.

With the Sierra snowpack at 4% of normal as of May 20, Californians will desperately need what little water remains behind its dams this summer. Authorities have warned some towns like Folsom—home of Folsom Lake—to expect daily rationing of 50 gallons per person, a 60% cut from average household usage.

Yet last month the Bureau of Reclamation drained Folsom and other reservoirs on the American and Stanislaus rivers of more than 70,000 acre feet of water—enough to meet the annual needs of a city of half a million people—for the comfort and convenience of fish.

Government officials who are entrusted with the careful management of our water squandered it in less than three weeks to nudge baby salmon toward the Pacific Ocean (to which they swim anyway) and to keep the river at just the right temperature for the fish by flushing the colder water stored in the reservoirs.

These water releases are so enormous they are called “pulse flows.” They generate such swift currents that local officials issue safety advisories to exercise extreme caution when on or near the rivers. While some of the water can be recaptured downstream, most is lost to the ocean.

In January pictures of a near-empty Folsom Lake on the American River made national news. Yet on April 21 the Bureau of Reclamation more than tripled water releases from the dams on that river from 500 cubic feet per second to more than 1,500 cubic feet per second for three days—sending more than 7,000 acre feet of water toward the ocean. Elevated releases have continued for “temperature control.” On April 14 a 16-day pulse flow drained nearly 63,000 acre feet of water from dams on the Stanislaus River.

Unrealistic laws like the Endangered Species Act administered by ideologically driven officials have now crossed from good intentions to dangerous policy, and the folly cries out for fundamental reforms.

The House twice has passed such reforms, most recently in February. HR 3964 would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of acre feet of new water storage across California and promote fish hatcheries and predator control as simple and inexpensive alternatives to protect endangered species. Sadly, it remains bottled up in the Senate.

An administration that has never been shy about asserting executive powers has the authority to stop these releases through provisions in the Endangered Species Act that allow a committee of officials to suspend them. It has failed to do so.

While homeowners parch their gardens and clog their showerheads with flow restrictors to save a few extra gallons of water, their government thought nothing of wasting 23 billion gallons to lower river water temperatures by a few degrees.

The frivolous and extravagant water releases from our dams last month mock the sacrifices that our citizens make every day to stretch supplies in this crisis. In turn, they undermine the government’s credibility and moral authority to call for stringent conservation and hardship by the people.

California’s chronic water shortages won’t be solved without additional storage. Despite an abundance of suitable and affordable sites, opposition from environmentalists and the laws they have wrought have delayed these projects indefinitely and made them prohibitively costly.

Until unrealistic laws like the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act are balanced to accommodate a new era of dam construction, our state and federal governments have a responsibility to manage our increasingly scarce water supply as carefully as we ask our citizens to do.

Perhaps, at least, the public can draw from this tragic waste a lesson in how unreasonable our environmental regulations have become, and how out of touch are the policy makers responsible for them.

Mr. McClintock, a Republican, is a U.S. congressman from California.

» Hillary’s History » Fresh Ink — GOPUSA)

Conventional wisdom suggests women voters overwhelmingly will support Hillary Clintonin her presumptive presidential bid in 2016.

But should they?

That’s a question all voters need to ask themselves before marching in lockstep to a Clinton candidacy. More to the point: What, exactly, has she done during her many years as a national figure to demonstrate strong and capable leadership?

Start with her role as first lady, where she failed early on to sell the far left’s dream of universal health care and spent the rest of her husband’s presidency on the arm of history.

Her two terms as a U.S. senator from New York — a state where she put down “roots” a full 13 months before the election — is remarkable only for not being that remarkable. It’s a conversation non-starter even among Clinton boosters.

Yes, her tenure as secretary of state made her America’s top diplomat and gave her a taste of foreign policy experience. The four-year assignment no doubt will feature prominently in her upcoming memoirs and presidential campaign.

But what did she do?

It speaks volumes that a State Department spokeswoman who was asked that question by reporters last month was embarrassingly unable to cite a single Clinton achievement.

The “accomplishments” Clinton is most remembered for actually are horrible failures of policy: her negligence in the deadly Benghazi attacks, and her refusal to place the African Islamist group Boko Haram on the terrorist group watch list.

Benghazi is a stain on Clinton’s record, and rightfully so. Four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, died in a coordinated terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, after their repeated calls for protection were ignored by Washington.

Clinton conveniently was shielded from post-attack media exposure (see Rice, Susan) but still played along with the bogus cover story concocted by the Obama administration to spin the bloody spectacle as spontaneous mob violence sparked by an anti-Islam Internet video.

Then, as the phony narrative was refuted by the facts, she became petulant, dismissive and — in the moment of her infamous Benghazi remark — positively unpresidential: “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference — at this point, what difference does it make?”

Based on what is known about the Benghazi scandal and cover-up, Clinton’s leadership was abysmal — an assessment unlikely to be improved by revelations from the latest congressional inquiry.

Then there’s Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group currently receiving international attention for its heinous abduction and threatened sale of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls. Clinton could have dealt the organization a major blow by placing it on the terrorist watch list.

It wasn’t as if Boko Haram was an unknown entity. The group referred to as the “Nigerian Taliban” had been linked to the deaths of thousands of Christians during the past decade, and claimed responsibility for the 2011 U.N. bombing in Abuja.

Like the Taliban, the group despises all things modern, and reserves special hatred for the education of women. The name Boko Haram translates to “Western education is sinful.”

Intelligence organizations, including the FBI and CIA, and members of Congress urged the group’s placement on the list to enhance its global surveillance and cripple its funding.

But like Benghazi, Boko Haram’s rising prominence inconveniently flew in the face of the Obama administration’s narrative that global terrorism was on the run.

Instead of displaying fortitude and esprit de corps for abused women and girls, Clinton chose to emulate the administration’s dodgy, lead-from-behind strategy that has weakened America’s relations with allies and emboldened its enemies on the world stage.

Finally, women should question the legitimacy of Clinton’s feminist street cred.

This is the woman who, after all, not only protected her husband’s philandering for decades, but lashed out at his most high-profile victim, a then-22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, as “a narcissistic loony toon.”

It remains a mind-bending study in hypocrisy as to why Clinton and other so-called feminists — in a post-Anita Hill world — lionized a married man who had nine sexual encounters in the White House with a subordinate half his age, and lied about it on national television.

The prospect of Bill Clinton once again darkening the corridors of the White House should give pause to any Hillary proponent.

In 2016, America will need a chief executive to pull it from the morass wrought by eight years of muddled Obama policies.

America will need a commander in chief whose confidence internationally projects American strength and exceptionalism.

America will need a president who won’t compromise personal convictions for political convenience.

That’s a tall order. And Hillary Clinton falls woefully short.

 

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