Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trayvon Martin Gun Range Targets Reportedly Sold Online


The shooting range target wears a hoodie and carries a bottle of iced tea. Cross hairs lie over the chest, just above the bag of Skittles that peek out of the pocket.

An online seller told Orlando’s WKMG-TV he wanted to profit off Trayvon Martin’s death and designed the paper targets to resemble the dead Florida teenager. He said they sold out almost immediately.

“My main motivation was to make money off the controversy,” the unidentified seller said in an email exchange with the station.

He didn’t disclose how many targets he made but said, “The response is overwhelming. I sold out in 2 days.”

Volunteer neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in Martin’s death, claiming he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense. Police said Martin was carrying Skittles and an iced tea when he died.

An advertisement for the targets — sold in packs of 10 under the name “Trayvon Martin Targets” — on a firearms auction website stated the sellers “support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”

WKMG said when they first approached the seller online, their reporter was told the targets were available for purchase. After being informed the business was the subject of a news investigation, the seller claimed the targets were no longer available.

Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara told WKMG the targets represented “the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility.” He said he worried about the impact the targets would have on Martin’s family.

“It’s this type of hatred — that’s what this is, it’s hate-mongering — that’s going to make it more difficult to try this case,” O’Mara said.

WKMG said it reached out to the Martin family but did not receive a response.

According to the station, gun owners have been abuzz about the targets online — mostly expressing their disgust.

“Even though I fully believe Zimmerman was justified in shooting, Trayvon was still a human being and does not deserve that kind of disrespect in death,” one owner wrote.

Do You Know Anybody Like Obama?

Chances are, YOU DON'T!


Thursday evening’s episode of the Glenn Beck Program will likely go down in the history books as one of the very few (if not only) recorded instances of another human being exposing President Obama’s myriad personal and professional inconsistencies in such a detailed and profound way. In fact, viewers might even consider burning themselves a DVD copy to serve as a record of what historians will one day prove.

On Friday, The Blaze will provide more details on the president’s past deeds and associations, along with an additional clip from Beck‘s Thursday’s broadcast. Until then, ask yourself the following question: Do you know anybody like Obama?

Romney Donor Finds Out What it Means to Be on President Obama‘s ’Enemies List’


Team Obama “named and shamed” eight private citizens for donating to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, The Blaze reported two weeks ago.

Frank VanderSloot, one of the eight men detailed by the president’s Truth Team,” is discovering what it means to be on a president’s “enemies list.”

VanderSloot has run a wellness-products company called Melaleuca Inc. out of Idaho Falls, IA, for the last 26 years, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel reports. By all accounts, it’s a healthy and prosperous company — something of a rarity in this current economy. But that doesn’t matter to certain members of “Team Obama.” VanderSloot gave $1 million to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future and that was enough to land him a spot on the enemies list.

The eight donors are “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records” and some of them have even been on the “wrong side of the law,” according to President Obama’s KeepingGOPHonest site.

And as for VanderSloot, he is a “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement,” the site claims.

But that’s not all. This is where it starts to get dicey. Strassel gives us details:

About a week after that post, a man named Michael Wolf contacted the Bonneville County Courthouse in Idaho Falls in search of court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot. Specifically, Mr. Wolf wanted all the documents dealing with Mr. VanderSloot’s divorces, as well as a case involving a dispute with a former Melaleuca employee.

Mr. Wolf sent a fax to the clerk’s office — which I have obtained — listing four cases he was after. He would later send a second fax, asking for three further court cases dealing with either Melaleuca or Mr. VanderSloot. Mr. Wolf listed only his name and a private cellphone number.

Wait — an anonymous investigator contacted court officials and requested copies of documents dealing with VanderSloot’s divorce cases? That sounds familiar.

Some digging revealed that Mr. Wolf was, until a few months ago, a law clerk on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He’s found new work. The ID written out at the top of his faxes identified them as coming from “Glenn Simpson.” That’s the name of a former Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2009 founded a D.C. company that performs private investigative work.

The website for that company, Fusion GPS, describes itself as providing “strategic intelligence,“ with expertise in areas like ”politics.” That’s a polite way of saying “opposition research.”

Although there are no records indicating Fusion or Wolf have been paid by the Democratic National Committee, Strassel notes that “it is not uncommon to hire a less controversial third party, which then hires the researchers.”

Strassel tried contacting Wolf to ask him about his investigation.

“It’s a legal thing,” is all Wolf would say at first. Later, he sent the Wall Street Journal reporter the following statement in an email:

Frank VanderSloot is a figure of interest in the debate over civil rights for gay Americans. As his own record on gay issues amply demonstrates, he is a legitimate subject of public records research into his lengthy history of legal disputes.

Well, that‘s kinda’ true. VanderSloot has been a “figure of interest” in the gay-rights debate ever since he became the target of liberal bloggers and activists back in January when the first PAC disclosures were released.

When activists dug into his past looking for dirt, all they could do was accuse VanderSloot of being a “gay bashing thug.”

The 63-year old has since addressed these accusations, saying that he has “many gay friends whom I love and respect” and who should “have the same freedoms and rights as any other individual.”

But despite his clarification and the rebuttal to his detractors, Team Obama is running with the narrative and accuses the businessman of being a “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

“[W]hen I first learned that President Obama‘s campaign had singled me out on his ’enemies list,’ I knew it was like taping a target on my back,” VanderSloot said.

“[But] the public beatings and false accusations that followed are no deterrent. These tactics will not work in America,” he said, adding that he’s “contemplating a second donation.”

Read the WSJ’s shocking report here.

Malaysian Mother Beating Her 8-Month Old Helpless Baby

WARNING: AGE RESTRICTION - (Age verification required)

Regime Reunites Ohio Child to Parents from Food Re-education Camp

The Blaze: Ohio Child Returned to Parents After 50 Pound Weight Loss
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 11:01pm
by Mytheos Holt

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP/The Blaze) — A 9-year-old boy removed from his mother’s custody after his weight ballooned to more than 200 pounds has slimmed down enough to return home.

The boy, who was placed in foster care last fall and then with an uncle, lost about 50 pounds over four months through exercise and healthy eating. He was returned to his mother under protective supervision in March, and a juvenile court judge in Cleveland released him from that supervision Thursday.

Social service workers still plan on checking in with the boy and his mother in Cleveland Heights and have offered them nutritional and health counseling. The YMCA also gave the boy and his mother a free membership.

“That’s the tremendous thing,” said John Lawson, an attorney who was appointed by a judge to act as a guardian during the court proceedings. “Let’s hope we never have to go back to court with this child.”

The boy was removed from his family over health concerns and placed in foster care in October after Cuyahoga County case workers said his mother wasn’t doing enough to control his weight. The county’s Children and Family Services agency said it had worked with the family for more than a year before he was removed.

The boy was considered at risk for developing diabetes or high blood pressure. Government growth charts say most boys his age weigh about 60 pounds. He weighed as much as 218 pounds, but dropped to 166 pounds when he was with his uncle, Lawson said Friday.

He was placed in the custody of his uncle last December on the day he celebrated his ninth birthday. The goal all along was to get him back with his family.

The uncle took him to the gym three nights a week, Lawson said. He also began swimming and playing basketball and is doing well despite changing schools and homes several times in recent months, Lawson said.

The boy is continuing to exercise, and his mother recently found a job, which should help with the family’s financial stability, Lawson said.

“Hopefully, everything is on track,” he said. “You’ve got to be in a regiment to keep your weight down.”

Talk Radio Host Found Murdered

Police search for clues in shooting death of New Jersey radio host April Kauffman
Published May 11, 2012

Updated: Friday, 11 May 2012, 12:27 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 10 May 2012, 5:11 PM EDT

LINWOOD, N.J. - 47-year-old April Kauffman was a radio host, as well as mother and wife. She was found shot to death in the bedroom of her Linwood NJ home.

Harry Hurley worked with Kauffman at 1400 WOND-AM. Kauffman's voice could be heard Sunday afternoons on the radio talking about her passion, veterans’ affairs.

Linwood police spent the day and night scouring Kauffman's home looking for clues to the crime.
Investigators say a family employee called police after he found her shot multiple times.

As police work to find a suspect, friends and neighbors are trying to figure out who would kill the former business owner and outspoken radio host who donated so much of her time to veterans affairs and improving the Atlantic County community.

Hurley cant think of anyone who would want to do harm to April because all she ever did was help people and she didn’t do it in a way that should have garnered any enemies.

Washington Post changes Romney story, doesn't admit error

by Dana Loesch
May 11, 2012

Breitbart News:

On Thursday, Breitbart's Retracto, the Correction Alpaca asked the Washington Post to correct its anti-Mitt Romney hit piece wherein it included an inaccurate and misleading statement about his past. The error was exposed when Stu White contradicted WaPo's reporting in an interview with ABC.

The publication reported that White had "long been bothered" by the Romney bullying incident, when in fact, he wasn't witness to it, and wasn't aware of the story until contacted by the Washington Post. The Post changed its piece after we made our request without informing its readers of the change.

The original copy:

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident. "But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks."

The changed copy, my emphasis:

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and said he has been "disturbed" by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by the Washington Post. "But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks."
We appreciate the correction and would have appreciated it even more if the Washington Post had alerted its readers to the change.

13% in U.S. foreign-born, a level last seen in 1920

Of 40 million born abroad, the greatest number lives in California, with large populations in New York, Texas and Florida, Census Bureau report says.

The annual Fiesta Broadway draws crowds to downtown Los Angeles. California is home to the largest share of the nation's foreign-born population, with 1 in 4 residing in the Golden State. (Michael Robinson Chavez, Los Angeles Times / May 8, 2011)

By Rebecca Trounson
May 11, 2012

Los Angeles Times

The U.S. foreign-born population has risen to its highest level since 1920, with 13% of all those living in the nation in 2010 having been born elsewhere, a new report from the Census Bureau shows.

Forty million of those residing in the U.S. in 2010 were born in other countries, up from 31 million, or 11% of the total, a decade earlier. The foreign-born share of the population dropped between 1920 and 1970, hitting a low of 4.7% in 1970, before rising again for several decades.

But that growth has slowed in recent years as immigration has dropped, census officials said Thursday. Most of the recent increase in the foreign-born population came between 2000 and 2006, said Elizabeth M. Grieco, chief of the bureau's foreign-born population branch.

California is home to the lion'sshare of the foreign-born population, with 1 in 4 residing in the Golden State, the new report shows. Twenty-seven percent of the state's population of 37 million in 2010 was born abroad, up from 26% in 2000.

Three other big states, New York, Texas and Florida, accounted for a third of the nation's foreign-born population, with New York having the second-highest total at 11%. West Virginia had the smallest percentage, with just 1% born outside the U.S.

The new report draws on the 2010 American Community Survey, an annual poll of 3 million U.S. households.

The report details many characteristics of the foreign-born population, showing that on average, foreign-born households are larger than those of people born in this country, have more children younger than 18 and are more likely to include three generations or more living under one roof.

The foreign-born were more likely to be employed than native-born Americans, the study showed. Sixty-eight percent of the foreign-born population age 16 or older were working in 2010, compared with 64% of those born in the U.S. And 79% of foreign-born men were in the labor force, compared to 68% of native-born men; in contrast, 60% of U.S.-born women were employed, compared with 57% of foreign-born women.

But people born elsewhere were less likely than those born in this country to have health insurance and more likely to be living below the poverty line. Among regions of birth, the poverty rate was highest for the U.S. foreign-born population from Latin America and from Africa.

More than half of the nation's foreign-born people arrived from Latin America and the Caribbean, with most of those from Mexico, the report showed. More than a quarter of the total came to the U.S. from Asia, with about 12% from Europe, 4% from Africa and smaller percentages from other regions.

Those who arrived in the U.S. since 2005 were more likely than other immigrants to live outside such traditional "gateway" states as California, New York and Texas, the Census Bureau said in another recent study. Although the gateway states still accounted for the majority of the newly arrived, many recent immigrants were settling in states with smaller foreign-born populations, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

The annual American Community Survey took the place of the long-form decennial census in 2010 and is used to help distribute $450 billion in annual federal funds. But a bill moving through Congress is seeking to eliminate its funding, with the bill's Republican sponsors arguing that the survey is unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy.

The Republican-controlled House voted 232 to 190 this week along party lines to cut all funding for the survey in 2013.The Senate, where Democrats hold a majority, has not acted on the bill.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

Friday, May 11, 2012

USDA seeks change to regulate Internet pet sales

May 10, 2012
Associated Press:

Dog breeders who skirt animal welfare laws by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny under a rule change proposed Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The change would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically, by mail or over the phone to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.

That law, written in 1966, set standards of care for animals bred for commercial sale and research. Retail sales were exempt from inspections under the assumption that anyone who visited the store could see whether the animals appeared healthy and cared for.

The Internet opened a new venue for puppy sales, and thousands of large-scale breeders who advertise there have not been subject to oversight or inspection.

The proposed change seeks to close that loophole by ensuring that anyone who sells pets over the Internet, by phone or mail order can no longer do so sight-unseen. Sellers either must open their doors to the public so buyers can see the animals before they purchase them, or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

"We feel this is certainly a much-needed change to an outdated system," said Rebecca Blue, deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

The change does not affect backyard breeders who sell puppies from their homes or other physical locations. Blue said it's designed to ensure that dogs sold and shipped to buyers are healthy, treated well and genetically sound.

"This is a very significant proposed federal action, since thousands of large-scale breeders take advantage of a loophole that allows them to escape any federal inspections," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Dogs in puppy mills often live in small, overcrowded cages, living in filth and denied veterinary care. We need more eyes on these operations, and this rule will help."

Opposition to the change is hard to find.

"You need to open your home if you breed more than four dogs. That sounds appropriate to me," said Patti Strand, director of the National Animal Interest Alliance.

The proposed rule change came as Congress considers legislation backed by Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., a longtime animal welfare supporter, and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., as well as Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La. — that sought to make similar changes to the regulations.

Farr welcomed the USDA's decision.

"The change will finally allow the USDA to properly enforce violations, shut down puppy mills, and prevent future abuses of dogs and unsuspecting customers," Farr said.

The USDA will accept comments on the proposed rule change for 60 days.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Justice Dept. Wants to Track All Cellphones Without a Warrant

Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:26
Written by Bob Adelmann


In its relentless never-ending quest for more power to track and follow American citizens through their cellphones, the Department of Justice (DoJ) requested last week that Congress give them easier access to location data stored by cellphone service providers.

Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s criminal division, argued that requiring a search warrant to gain such access would “cripple” his department’s efforts to investigate crime and criminals. Said Weinstein,

There is really no fairness and no justice when the law applies differently to different people depending on which courthouse you’re sitting in.

For that reason alone, we think Congress should clarify the legal standard.

In other words, because the laws protecting privacy vary somewhat depending upon where an individual citizen lives, Congress should come along and override them all and provide a federal, looser standard, all in the name of security.

The increasing sophistication of cellphone and communications technology in general allows service providers to track virtually every movement of an individual, day or night, at home or work, in a bar or on a golf course. Malte Spitz, a German politician and privacy advocate, obtained his own tracking records from Deutsche Telekom (DT), his service provider, and then published what he found.

From August 2009 to February 2010 DT collected 35,831 pieces of location information which was used to build an interactive map of his movements, revealing a virtual profile of his life:

This profile reveals when Spitz walked down the street, when he took a train, when he was in an airplane. It shows where he was in the cities he visited. It shows when he worked and when he slept, when he could be reached by phone and when [he] was unavailable. It shows when he preferred to talk on his phone and when he preferred to send a text message. It shows which beer gardens he liked to visit in his free time. All in all, it reveals an entire life.

And this is the information the Department of Justice wants access to, just without the hassle of obtaining a search warrant — as required under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution — before doing so.

The DoJ claims that the Stored Information Act (SCA) should be the model for Congress to follow which allows a lower standard to be applied rather than that of “probable cause” in the Fourth Amendment. Under the SCA only a subpoena issued by an administrative agency along with prior notice of such snooping is necessary which then avoids “crippling” the Department of Justice’s pursuit of justice. The reasoning behind the law is the “third party doctrine”: when a person “knowingly reveals information to a third party [he] relinquishes Fourth Amendment protection in that information.”

Weinstein’s comments have created a significant and growing protest against such demands, especially from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

For years, we've been arguing that cell phone location data should only be accessible to law enforcement with a search warrant. After all, as web enabled smart phones become more prevalent, this location data reveals an incredibly revealing portrait of your every move. As we've waged this legal battle, the government has naturally disagreed with us, claiming that the Stored Communications Act authorizes the disclosure of cell phone location data with a lesser showing than the probable cause requirement demanded by a search warrant…

The problem with the DOJ's position is that it fails to take into account privacy. The only way to ensure "fairness" and "justice," is to demand that our Fourth Amendment rights not be violated by law enforcement…without your knowledge.

In January, the Supreme Court rule in United States v Jones that it was illegal for FBI agents to plant a GPS device on Antoine Jones’ car without first obtaining a search warrant, and then following him around as part of their investigation of his activities. In that case, Justice Sonia Sotomayer came down on the right side:

I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, [not] entitled to Fourth Amendment protection.

Congress isn’t likely to grant the DoJ such access, at least before the election. On the contrary, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have proposed a bill that would require the DoJ or any other agency to obtain a search warrant first before proceeding with their tracking of individuals.

It failed to gain traction but it shows the mood of Congress in granting the DoJ any more power in their never-ending quest to track and follow the nation’s sovereign citizens through their cellphones.

Russia Wants Obama Re-Elected

Posted by David Meir-Levi on May 11th, 2012

Well, now we know what the “hot mic” incident was all about. The Wall Street Journal’s “Moscow Raises Alarm over Missile-Defense Plan for Europe” (Friday, May 4, 2012), makes the connection.

At an international conference on Thursday, May 3, organized at Russia’s initiative, the Russian delegates showed computer-generated images of a hypothetical Russian pre-emptive missile attack on segments of a missile defense shield and early warning system that the US and NATO want to put in place in Turkey, Rumania and Poland. Quite a scary threat from the former USSR’s 900-pound gorilla and one-time global nuclear super-power.

NATO says that the missile defense system is meant to counter Iran’s threats of a WMD Shi’ite Armageddon. However, the Russians are not comforted, because they fear that the NATO anti-missile missiles could also be used to shoot down Russian nuclear-armed missiles aimed at the West; and such a potential threat from the west could “undermine their country’s nuclear deterrent[.]”

The Russians organized the Thursday conference in order to place their threat on the table, loud and clear, and make public their demand that they get a written agreement that the West will never use its missiles against Russia. Currently, the USA and NATO have refused to put such a promise in writing, although Russia-NATO agreements on missile defense cooperation date back to 2010. The timing of this meeting is important. It comes shortly before a NATO conference due to take place in Chicago later this month at which NATO will publicize its success in getting its missile-defense system up and running. Russia’s pre-emptive threat of a missile war against the West if the West does not agree to its demands puts a big kink in the Chicago conference.

But according to the Wall Street Journal article, Russia’s alarming saber-rattling is really a fa├žade to hide a “tacit agreement to put off serious talks until next year,” by which time Obama, if re-elected, could “clear the way for a deal” and work on Russia’s behalf against NATO to find ways to accommodate the Russian demands. The Russian presenter on Thursday was direct and unambiguous that Russia prefers to work with Obama as a second-term president, and to cooperate with his vision of a “reset” in the USA- Russia relationship, rather than to joust with Romney whose election they feel will make things “surely … more difficult.”

So what the Russians have actually said is: if you want to keep the Russian bear from getting aggressive, elect Obama, not Romney. This is an unusually overt attempt by a foreign power to influence American elections, but it is not surprising since Romney has been harshly critical of Obama’s “reset” vision.

The Wall Street Journal made the obvious connection between this impasse and the “hot mic” incident in March where Obama told Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to tell Russian soon-to-be President Vladimir Putin to temporarily back off regarding this issue since Obama would have “more flexibility” to deal with it after the November 6 elections.

As reporters gathered for a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Obama leaned over to his Russian counterpart. Without realizing a microphone was open, he said: “This is my last election and after my last election I have more flexibility,” …referring to his ability to reach a deal with Russia on missile defense. Medvedev replied: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” a reference to the incoming Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Obama attempted to weasel out of the implications of his gaffe by explaining to reporters in Korea that arms control negotiations are extremely complex and require bipartisan cooperation in the U.S.; so they cannot be a public issue just months before presidential and congressional elections. But “I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before a presidential and congressional elections in the United States,” simply does not address the core problem. His intention to hide his willingness to be flexible toward Russia about Russian demands couched in cold-war terminology relating to the possibility of nuclear war bespeak his awareness that these intentions will not be acceptable to the American voting public; and this is all the more reason to make them public.

Romney said it was alarming that Obama was “looking for greater flexibility where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia … [Russia is] without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst actor. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.”

The New York Times version of this issue made no mention of the “hot mic” incident but did point out that Russian leaders have refused Obama’s request that the Kremlin pressure Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to comply with the UN’s cease-fire plans. The Times also noted that Obama himself stalled the progress of the NATO plans for the early warning and missile defense system because he sought a “reset” in the USA’s relationship with Russia, and Russian concerns about the NATO early warning system were a stumbling block to Obama’s plans. Obama’s willingness to be flexible toward the Russian demands may stem in part from the desire to co-opt the Kremlin into pressuring Assad; but it also seems clear that Obama, not knowing that he was speaking to Medvedev in front of a hot microphone, did not want to let the American electorate know of his intentions for flexibility toward Russia regarding the NATO missile defense system impasse. In other words, his flexibility toward Russia, if it were made public, might hinder his re-election.

And the Russians are not ungrateful. Obama’s pay-back for his willingness to be flexible next year is Russia’s endorsement of his re-election by telling the world, at this conference, that if the USA elects Romney, there might be war with Russia.

An American special envoy to the Russian conference indicated that the American delegation was not sympathetic to the Russian demands and unwilling to offer the limitations that Russia wants. She stated: “There’s nothing I can imagine that will stop us making these deployments on time.”

Well, actually there is: Obama’s re-election.

Police needed to get overdue library books back from 4-year-old

Freeport Area Library says books checked out Oct. 19


FREEPORT, Pa. - An Armstrong County library had to get police involved to get four overdue books returned from a 4-year-old girl.

Freeport Area Library Board President Donna Michael said the books had been out since Oct. 19, or 240 days and $81.60 in fines.

Michael said she had no choice but to get police involved after two phone calls, a postcard and three letters failed to get the books returned.

"After not getting any response from the certified letter, I turned the file over to the Freeport Police Department," said Michael.

The girl's mother returned the books late Thursday afternoon.

Police could have filed charges against the girl's parents had the books not been returned.

The question of President Obama's draft card: Has evidence been destroyed?

Selective Service card copy

Monday, May 7, 2012
Washington Times:

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 — Changes in the wording of Selective Service System record-keeping requirements, made days after the opening of an investigation into the alleged forgery of President Barack Obama’s selective service registration form, raise serious questions about U.S. Government intentions.

The new rules allow existing copies of documents that may be sought by investigators to be destroyed.

The Selective Service System’s new privacy rules were published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, four days after the September 16 announcement by World Net Daily that the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff’s Office “Cold Case Posse” was opening an inquiry with full subpoena power into alleged forgery of several documents concerning Obama’s birth and draft registration.

The new rules, which constitute the first update to Selective Service System privacy regulations in eleven years, were published under the title, “Privacy Act of 1974; Publication of Notice of Systems of Records.”

Ongoing controversy surrounding allegations that some of Obama’s personal identification documents and records, including his Selective Service draft registration form, are forgeries came into sharp focus seven months ago. The “Cold Case Posse,” under the leadership of Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, opened an inquiry in response to those allegations.

“This is a full-fledged criminal investigation,” Michael Zullo, lead investigator, told Communities @WashingtonTimes last week.

“Sheriff Arpaio sent two written requests in March to the Selective Service System requesting President Obama’s draft registration records. Selective Service System officials responded to Arpaio in writing, but did not turn over any of President Obama’s registration records.”

“We believe they are stonewalling,” Zullo added. "In their latest reply letter to the Sheriff, they do not comment on, or even allude to, the microfilm being available to inspect."

Changes in the wording of the privacy rules alters the status of federal records, like the requested draft registration records, from “record copies” to “nonrecord copies.” Nonrecord copies are subject to disposal.

Previously unnoticed, the new rules allow the government to destroy microfilm copies of Selective Service registration records and may create new obstacles for law enforcement agencies that are requesting records access for investigative purposes.

This change also hampers media organizations and government watchdog groups from seeking records access under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A second change, to a section of the rules governing the sharing of information with state and local governments, seems aimed squarely at blocking inquiries like the one launched by the Cold Case Posse.

If microfilm copies of selective service records are destroyed, it would make it difficult to prove whether or when Obama registered with the Selective Service. At issue is whether he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles as a foreign student, possibly using an Indonesian passport. Foreign students are not required to register with the Selective Service, hence if there were no record of his registration, this would raise questions about Obama’s legal status at that time. Was his status that of a U.S. citizen or a foreign student, possibly with dual passports?

A paper copy of Obama’s selective service registration card, called a form “SSS-1,” was obtained days before the 2008 elections through a FOIA request by Stephen Coffman, a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent. A spokesperson from ICE, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, confirmed that Coffman retired from the agency in June, 2007.

Investigators with the Cold Case Posse concluded that the copy of Obama’s Selective Service registration card obtained through Coffman’s FOIA request was “fraudulently created.” Those findings were announced at a March 1, 2012 press conference in Phoenix.

“The selective service card (copy) that we showed in our press conference,” said Zullo in an interview with radio host Frank Beckmann, “We believe that document was fraudulently created to give the appearance that it was accepted [by Selective Service] in 1980.

“That has some far reaching implications, implications that the President himself – at some point in time – may have to answer for.”

Richard S. Flahavan, Selective Service System Associate Director of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, confirmed in a March 2009 letter to Kenneth Allen that Obama did register for selective service on July 29, 1980 at a Honolulu, Hawaii post office.

The original microfilm record of that should be in the care of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). An independent review of the entire microfilm record, not just Obama’s record, would confirm whether the record supplied by Flahavan to Coffman and Allen is a true copy of the original document.

Review of official documents posted on the websites of the Government Printing Office, NARA, and the Selective Service System confirms that if Obama registered for selective service in 1980, the original paper card would have likely been destroyed, but only after being transferred into original microfilm records, microfilm record copies, and computer storage systems.

If the status of those microfilm copies are now “nonrecord” rather than “record,” as would be the case under the new requirement, most of those records could be permanently destroyed.

Even if the microfilm copy at the Selective Service System Data Management Center in Illinois has been destroyed, however, the original microfilm should be held at one of the Federal Record Centers, long term record facilities operated by NARA.

A popular film scenario has an investigator looking for a document confronted by hundreds of shelves filled with thousands of boxes full of documents. If the Cold Case Posse goes looking for Obama’s record, the change in classification might make its task akin to finding a specific piece of hay in a haystack.

CIA Used “Non-record” Designation to Burn “Enhanced Interrogation” Videotapes

In 2007, the Central Intelligence Agency used the “non-record” designation as defense for destroying ninety-two videotapes of alleged terrorist Abu Zubaydah. The tapes, recorded in 2002 at one or more “black sites”, reportedly showed Zubahday undergoing enhanced interrogation, including waterboarding.

“The bottom line,” a CIA spokesman asserted, “is that these videotapes were not federal records as defined by the Federal Records Act.”

A 1988 initial report by the “Task Force on NARA Responsibilities for Federal Records and Documentation” concluded that federal agencies have previously designated federal records materials as “nonrecord” to prevent disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act.

On July 23, 1987, the “Task Force on NARA Responsibilities for Federal Records and Documentation” was established “to review NARA’s responsibilities for Federal records, for interpreting the definition of records, and for related documentation, with special reference to records created under the Presidential Records Act of 1978.”

On February 8, 1988, the seventh Archivist of the United States, Don W. Wilson, issued the first report of the Task Force on NARA Responsibilities. On page 6 of the report, under the heading “The Concept of Nonrecords,” it was disclosed that as the concept of nonrecords management developed in the 1950s, an idea originally designed to prevent federal government offices from becoming overwhelmed by extra copies and “to make it clear that [agencies] are not obligated to consider every scrap of paper on which writing or printing appears as a record,” there also existed the risk that agencies could use the “nonrecord” designation as a convenient strategy to avoid disclosure of certain documents under FOIA.

According to the report:

“Following the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, the earlier trend by some agencies to broaden the application of the term [nonrecord] to avoid the new need for scheduling certain types of materials received a new impetus as a number of agencies attempted to exclude certain types of information from disclosure by labeling the materials containing such information as nonrecord…

The basic problem regarding nonrecord materials has been and continues to be not the concept but the application of the term.”

The decision by the Selective Service System to replace the phrase “microfilm copies” with “microfilm non-record copies” in their privacy rules appears to be only the latest example of such practices.

It remains unclear whether the Selective Service System violated the NARA Code of Federal Regulations when updating the agency’s privacy rules, and when designating the microfilm copies of selective service registration records stored at the Data Management Center under “nonrecord” status.

Specific changes to Selective Service System privacy rules

Line-by-line comparisons of Selective Service System privacy rules published in 2000 and in 2011 show two significant changes: one converting federal record copies into "nonrecord" copies; and a second restricting access by state and local government agencies to Selective Service System records.

The September 21, 2000 Selective Service System Privacy Rules governing "Retention and Disposal" read:

1. Registration Form—Destroyed by maceration when its information has been transferred onto microfilm and into the computer system. Original microfilm is stored at a Federal Records Center. A microfilm copy is retained at the Data Management Center, in locked steel cabinets. The copies are retained until no longer needed for reference purposes.

2. The record copy of microfilm and computer tape will be retained until the registrant reaches 85 years of age.

Compare this with the September 20, 2011 rules:

1. Registration Form—Destroyed by maceration when its information has been transferred onto microfilm and into the computer system. Original microfilm is stored at a Federal Records Center. A microfilm non-record copy is retained at the Data Management Center, in locked steel cabinets. The copies are retained until no longer needed for reference purposes.

2. The record copy of microfilm and computer tape will be retained until the registrant reaches 85 years of age.

According to NARA, federal records are documents that “are made or received by an agency of the U.S. Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of agency business.” When young men fill out selective service registration forms and mail them to the government, they are creating federal records.

Federal records are further defined by “having administrative value because they are necessary to conduct the agency’s current business,” by containing “information of value,” by being “placed in agency files,” and by being under “institutional control,” such as in locked steel cabinets at a Data Management Center.

Thus by NARA's own guidelines, the microfilm copies of selective service registration records at the Data Management Center are “federal records.”

The difference between “record copy” and “nonrecord copy” is an important legal distinction under the NARA Code of Federal Regulations. Government agencies can destroy nonrecord copies, while they must retain record copies.

The reworded rules allow the government to destroy microfilm copies of draft registration records stored at the Selective Service System Data Management Center, including the selective service records of President Obama. The new rules may also have removed those records from public access under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the revised Selective Service System privacy rules, “microfilm non-record copies” of registration records stored at the Data Management Center, including “microfilm non-record copies” of Barack Obama’s registration records, should they be located there, “are retained until no longer needed for reference purposes”. The same retention language existed in the 2000 privacy rules before the phrase “microfilm copy” was replaced with “microfilm non-record copy”.

The retention period for the selective service microfilm copies at the Data Management Center is “until the registrant reaches 85 years of age”, according to both the 2000 and 2011 privacy rules. Temporary records with a defined retention period until disposal are still considered “federal records”.

Because President Obama is not yet 85 years of age, the microfilm copy of his selective service registration form at the Data Management Center would be retained as a “federal record” until August 4, 2046. Because the microfilm copy of President Obama’s registration records has been reclassified as a “microfilm non-record copy”, there no longer is a retention period and the microfilm can be immediately disposed and destroyed without NARA approval.

According the NARA CFR guidelines, “Nonrecord materials should be purged when no longer needed for reference. NARA's approval is not required to destroy such materials.” Any existing “microfilm nonrecord copies” of President Obama’s selective service registration records at the Data Management Center could be purged and destroyed under NARA rules, an initial analysis by Communities has concluded.

Further analysis has concluded that under the revised “non-record” status, the United States of America’s entire inventory of microfilm copies of registration records in the custody of the Selective Service System Data Management Center, including entire rolls of microfilm copies of registration records processed on and around September 4, 1980, the date on which President Obama’s July 29, 1980 registration card was allegedly processed, have been eligible for disposal and destruction for the last 227 days or more.

Any disposal of such microfilm copies could hamper or eliminate the ability of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigators, or others, to determine whether a microfilm copy of President Obama's registration records ever actually existed alongside other microfilm copies of records processed on September 4, 1980. The original microfilm records, which according to longstanding Selective Service System privacy rules are stored at a NARA Federal Records Center, would then be needed to prove Obama actually registered.

Investigators would then need to turn to NARA, which may be in custody of the original microfilm records at one of their Federal Records Centers. NARA maintains the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, as well as other Federal Records Centers throughout the United States, including Chicago IL.

According to NARA’s website, selective service records for men born after January 1, 1960 are maintained by the Selective Service System.

Barack Obama is alleged to have been born in Honolulu, HI on August 4, 1961, according to an image of his “long-form” Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth posted on the official White House website, a document which Cold Case Posse investigators now maintain was forged.

Under guidelines published on NARA’s website, Barack Obama’s selective service records would not be in the custody of a Federal Record Center, because Obama was allegedly born after January 1, 1960.

It remains unclear, however, if NARA is in custody of any original microfilm selective service registration records for men born after January 1, 1960 at any of its Federal Record Centers which are not available to the general public but may be in long-term storage for the Selective Service System.

Brittany H. at NARA's National Personnel Records Center customer service department in St. Louis on Monday, May 7, directed requests for selective service records for anyone born after 1960 to the Selective Service System in Arlington, Virginia.

Asked if NARA maintains any selective service records for anyone born after 1960 in long-term storage at any other NARA Federal Record Centers, she stated that "those records are not archived. The only long-term storage is at Selective Service."

The effect of the privacy rules on Selective Service System registration records maintained on computer storage systems remains unclear.

A minute reconfiguration of the language contained in the Selective Service System’s latest records privacy rules, discovered in the “Routine Uses Of Records Maintained In The System, Including Categories Of Users And The Purposes Of Such Uses” section of the rules, possibly diminishes or removes the authority of local and state law enforcement agencies, including the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office, to obtain copies of selective service registration records for the purpose of collecting evidence in the course of an investigation into possible violations of federal laws, a preliminary analysis by Communities has concluded.


September 21, 2000 Selective Service System Privacy Rules: State and local government agencies—to provide information which may constitute evidence of a violation of State or local law, for law enforcement purposes. WAS CHANGED TO: September 20, 2011 Selective Service System Privacy Rules: State and Local Governments—To provide data that may constitute evidence and facilitate the enforcement of state and local law.

If investigators with the Cold Case Posse were to argue that the Selective Service System was required to be responsive to a records request for the purpose of the Maricopa’s County Sheriff’s Office investigation or enforcement of any violation of federal law, such as mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, or violations of the Military Selective Service Act, the 2000 privacy rules might have permitted such a records release, under the four-word clause “for law enforcement purposes”.

The 2011 updated rules, however, appear to have narrowed the legal requirements under which the Selective Service System must release records to local and state law enforcement agencies engaged in “the enforcement of state and local law”.

The changes could be challenging to any local or state law enforcement agencies, including the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, seeking to obtain a selective service card as evidence in the investigation of federal crimes.

Lawyers seeking to prevent Obama’s registration records from being released again by the Selective Service System could conceivably argue that enforcement of federal law by a state or local agency is not a qualifying reason. Any possible legal ambiguity found in the 2000 rules appears to have been eliminated in the 2011 update, a preliminary analysis by Communities has concluded.

Both the 2000 and 2011 versions of the Selective Service System’s privacy rules allow the FBI to request records when investigating possible violations of the Military Selective Service Act.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW

Obama administration tells California it's time to vote on high-speed rail

May 10, 2012

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned the California Legislature today that the Obama administration will not wait until fall for a vote on high-speed rail, urging its approval in a budget vote next month.

"We need to make sure that the commitment is there to obligate the money," LaHood told reporters at the Capitol, where he was meeting with lawmakers and with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The state's commitment, LaHood said, will be demonstrated when lawmakers "put it in the budget and take a vote on it."

Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority want to start construction on a $68 billion rail project by early next year, proposing initially to use $2.6 billion in state rail bond funds and $3.3 billion in federal funds. Lawmakers considering allocating that money remain skeptical, however, and the Legislative Analyst's Office has recommended against it.

LaHood said he was at the Capitol to reiterate the Obama administration's commitment to high-speed rail, while "checking signals" in the Legislature.

He said the suggestion by some lawmakers that they may need more time to consider the proposal - perhaps pushing an up or down vote into the fall - is unacceptable.

"We want to make sure that our partners here understand what's at stake," he said. "We can't wait until the end of summer."

LaHood declined to say what the administration will do if the Legislature does delay, saying, "I'm going to operate on the assumption that people are going to act in good faith."

LaHood praised the Brown administration for a project redesign this year that dramatically reduced its price, from $98 billion.

"My message to the Assembly, to the leadership, is that we need to make sure that there's a continued, strong commitment on the part of the Assembly, as reflected in their budget," he said.

The nonpartisan LAO has criticized the project for its reliance in future years on uncertain federal funding. State Sen. Joe Simitian, the Palo Alto Democrat who chairs the budget subcommittee considering high-speed rail, has said the administration's recent changes to the project would likely require more time to consider beyond when the state budget is adopted next month.

New rules authorize government to destroy Obama's draft records

Washington Times
by: Alan Jones
Monday, May 7, 2012

Recent changes to the wording of Selective Service System record-keeping requirements came soon after an investigation into the alleged forgery of President Obama's documents was begun by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz. Photo Credit:AP

Changes in the wording of Selective Service System record-keeping requirements, made days after the opening of an investigation into the alleged forgery of President Barack Obama’s Selective Service registration form, raise serious questions about U.S. government intentions. ...

The Selective Service System’s new privacy rules were published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, four days after the September 16 announcement by World Net Daily that the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office “Cold Case Posse” was opening an inquiry with full subpoena power into alleged forgery of several documents concerning Obama’s birth and draft registration. ...

Changing the wording of the privacy rules alters the status of federal records, like the requested draft registration records, from “record copies” to “nonrecord copies.” Nonrecord copies are subject to disposal.


Forgerygate: Ignoring Arpaio's report is a scandal in itself

Flight records missing for week of Obama's birth

Read the original article at Washington Times

Coal industry warns proposed EPA rule could force fourth of plants to close

Published May 10, 2012

In obscure, blue-collar towns across Appalachia -- places that most Americans have never seen -- generations of coal miners have toiled away at back-breaking labor to power American homes and industry. Now, as many as 200,000 of them who dig, process, transport and burn America's most abundant fuel are threatened by EPA's latest coal rule.

It imposes a standard for emissions that is all but impossible for many plants to meet. It requires coal-fired plants to release no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.

The only means for many older plants to attain that standard is to install what is known as carbon capture and storage technology. But that's expensive and not commercially available.

"At the end of the day, we just couldn't justify it based upon what that cost would be," says Mark Durbin of First Energy, which owns the Willow Island Power Station in Albright, W.Va., "It would be astronomical to try and retrofit some of older units that really are not as efficient as they should be."

Environmentalists are praising the new rule as a vital defense against climate change.

"We know what fossil fuel damages do to our public health, the health of our kids, our families," said Brent Blackwelder at a recent gathering of Friends of the Earth. "We know the damage it does to crops and to buildings. And now the big damage all around the world is climate disruption."

But coal industry representatives believe they've made great strides in reducing emissions through the years -- now capturing over 99 percent of particulate emissions released during the combustion process. The EPA's proposed rule, they say, sets the bar too high and may force the closure of 20 to 25 percent of coal-fired plants across the United States.

In a state known for its bare-knuckles politics, both men vying for the governor’s office have joined forces in fighting this and other EPA regulations that target the coal industry. Incumbent Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to sue the EPA over the rule - a move that his Republican opponent Bill Maloney welcomes.

"Last year at this time, we were looking for 2,000 coal miners to go to work. Now there's 2,000 laid off," Maloney said. "We've got six coal-fired power plants that are being shut. We're losing our competitive edge, and it's wrong."

As one measure of the disdain in West Virginia for the Obama administration's crackdown on coal, a federal prisoner doing 17 years for extortion got 41 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary to President Obama's 59 percent.

Administration supporters are banking on cheap, clean and abundant natural gas as a substitute for coal-fired power, but critics say there are problems with its transportation and storage -- problems which have lead to price hikes in the past.

Craig Jennings, president of the Preston County, W.Va., Commission, says his constituents are bracing for big spikes in their electricity bills.

"They're telling us that you're going to see at least a 30 percent increase in your electric bill now," he said. "For an older person on a fixed income in an older home who's used to paying $300 a month for an electric bill they're going to be pushing $400 a month now on that same electric bill."

West Virginians can take comfort in one small legal victory, one they hope to see repeated in other pending lawsuits. In March, a federal judge reversed a controversial EPA rule that forced Mingo Logan Coal Company to stop work at its Spruce Number One Mine, a property in which it had already invested millions of dollars.

The judge concluded that the EPA exceeded its authority under the Clean Water Act by revoking a permit that had already been granted.

KUHNER: Obama’s homosexual America

President embraces liberal goal of ending marriage and societal stability

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Washington Times:

President Obama has made it official: He now supports same-sex marriage. It is his latest onslaught on traditional America. Mr. Obama has made history. He is our first commander in chief to openly embrace legalizing homosexual and lesbian unions. He has crossed a cultural watershed, paving the way for the eventual triumph of the homosexual agenda. Rather than being a victory for “civil rights” or “marital equality,” Mr. Obama’s decision puts America on the path to moral disintegration. We are one step closer to becoming like secular, post-Christian Europe.

For years, Mr. Obama claimed his position was “evolving.” Facing re-election and under growing pressure from liberal interest groups, especially the powerful homosexual lobby, he finally capitulated. His decision was not based on principle, but cynical politics. Mr. Obama needs the gay and lesbian vote to win in November. Immediately upon his announcement Wednesday, Hollywood donors opened their checkbooks. Millions were pumped into the Obama campaign coffers; the liberal base has been energized, and the cultural left is hailing Mr. Obama as the Martin Luther King of our time. The president believes it is an electoral masterstroke.

Instead, he has made a big mistake. Same-sex marriage is opposed by most Americans. On Tuesday, North Carolina became the 31st state to vote for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The referendum was not even close: More than 60 percent of voters supported Amendment One. The liberal media, such as the New York Times, consistently portray anti-gay-marriage advocates as bigots.

This is nonsense. Most Americans are neither intolerant nor bigoted. Rather, they understand that marriage is the basic institution of society. For thousands of years in the West, it has had a privileged role. Marriage solidifies the bonds between a man and a woman, laying the foundation for raising children in stable families. It is the glue that binds a functioning, viable social order. Marriage is the natural unit that enables society to perpetuate itself from one generation to the next. This is not hate; it’s common sense.

It is why, for example, the drive to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina was led by black pastors and churches. It also is why the black and Hispanic vote was pivotal to passing California’s Proposition 8, which also upholds traditional marriage. Blacks and Hispanics - although key Democratic voting blocs - tend to be deeply Christian and socially conservative. Mr. Obama has put himself on a collision course with large segments of his base. He has kissed away major swing states, such as North Carolina and Virginia. He also is further alienating Middle America, which still believes in pro-family values. In short, Mr. Obama is committing political suicide.

Yet the same-sex-marriage issue is more important than simple politics. It is about the future of America’s civilization. Within hours of Amendment One’s victory, the pro-homosexual-marriage forces announced they would sue to block North Carolina’s constitutional ban. In other words, they repeated the Proposition 8 model: Circumvent defeat at the ballot box by asking leftist judges to trump the democratic will of the people. This is judicial tyranny masquerading as civil rights - a naked attempt by a minority to impose its neo-pagan immorality upon the majority. The homosexual agenda is a manifestation of the totalitarian impulse at the heart of liberalism: the desire by a ruling cartel to impose a social revolution from above.

Every major religious faith - Christianity, Islam, Orthodox Judaism - teaches that homosexuality is an abomination. Homosexual behavior, especially sodomy, is unnatural and immoral. It is absurd, bordering on social madness, to elevate gay and lesbian relationships to the sanctified status of marriage - a form of moral anarchy characterized by radical individualism, hedonism and sexual liberation. Same-sex marriage is a symptom of cultural decay.

Our Judeo-Christian ancestors understood something that postmodern liberals do not: The primary purpose of sexual activity is to procreate - to have children - within the boundaries of marriage. Romantic love, personal fulfillment, burning passion - all of these things are nice, but secondary to the real purpose and mission of marriage. Secular liberals are engaged in social engineering. They are fostering the myth that women and men are the same and interchangeable. According to Mr. Obama, a child needs two committed and loving parents - regardless of their gender. This is fantasy. A child needs a committed mother and father. Women and men are profoundly different; they have distinct natures, with unique biological, emotional and psychological characteristics. It is the fusion of these two divergent genders that provides the balance and harmony necessary for the healthy development of children. Hence, same-sex “marriage” is an oxymoron. It is akin to redefining gravity: an act of hubris destined to fail.

For decades, liberals - aided and abetted by the popular culture - have been bringing homosexuality into the mainstream. It is slowly being promoted in public schools and constantly being glamorized in television shows and movies. The more the homosexual agenda is spread, the more militant its advocates become. They no longer want toleration. They seek full social acceptance. Once marriage falls, only one institution will be left standing in their way: traditional Christianity. The ultimate aim of the radical left has been to destroy religion - especially Western Christendom. Once a religion dies, so does the culture and civilization it spawned. America is at a crossroads, enmeshed in a cultural war with homosexual advocates like Mr. Obama who are determined to strike at the very nexus of our civilization.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

Ohio Police Load Up on Free Military Weapons

Monday, 07 May 2012 11:50 AM
By Sandy Fitzgerald


Ohio’s police departments are stockpiling military equipment and weapons, including mini-tanks, through a Defense Department program that gives communities free access to surplus gear.

Last year, Ohio police got $12 million in weapons and gear through the Pentagon program, which gave out $500 million worth of free military goods to law enforcement agencies around the country, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Ken MacNevin, a spokesman for the Defense Logistics Agency, which administers the program, told the newspaper that tight budgets have led to “a tremendous increase in interest” in the program.

“The kinds of multiple-victim casualty incidents that have happened around the country also have been a driver,” he said.

Police officials say the program gives them access to expensive weapons they could not ordinarily afford while saving taxpayers money.

However, critics say the program is leading to more militarized police departments. They point to the increasing use of heavily armed SWAT teams, normally engaged only in hostage or other serious events, for serving search warrants or doing other routine police work.

As a result, they say, many innocent victims have been injured or even killed during raids.

Shakyra Diaz, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, told the Daily News the wars on drugs and terror have blurred the lines between police officers and soldiers.

“We cannot have our police looking at members of the community as military combatants,” Diaz said.

But police insist they need better weapons and equipment to deal with criminals, who are better armed as well.

“We can’t keep using the old tools when the criminal element is using the new tools,” said Englewood Police Chief Mark Brownfield.

In addition to tanks, M-16 rifles, bulletproof vests, helmets, chemical and biological gas masks, military vehicles, and computers, one Ohio police department got a free helicopter and another received a grenade launcher that fires tear gas canisters.

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Chinese sovereign wealth fund stops buying European government debt

The eurozone has lost a crucial lifeline as China's biggest sovereign wealth fund said it no longer wanted to buy European government debt.

The retreat by China came amid political deadlock in Greece Photo: AP

By Louise Armitstead
6:49PM BST 10 May 2012

UK Daily Mail:

Amid resurgent political and financial crisis in Spain and Greece, Gao Ziqing, head of the China Investment Corporation (CIC), said the $440bn (£273bn) fund was "looking at opportunities in Europe" but added: "We don't want to buy any government bonds."

Eurozone leaders have tried to attract investors from Asia to help mop up excess sovereign debt. Both China and Japan have been supportive in the past, in part because Europe is one of their biggest export markets.

The retreat by China came amid political deadlock in Greece, the bank crisis in Spain and signs of a deepening economic recession.

European markets, which have plunged in recent days, closed up on hopes that Athens was close to getting a new government and that Madrid would on Friday stabilise its banks. The Eurostoxx was up 0.5pc, the German Dax rose 0.7pc and the FTSE climbed 0.3pc.

The euro fell to a three-and-a-half-year low against the pound.

Evangelos Venizelos, the head of Greek Pasok party, continued talks into Thursday night in an effort to form a coalition. If he fails, fresh elections will be called in June.

European leaders confirmed that financial aid to Greece will stop if any new government refuses to stick to the terms of its bail-out. The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) said it had withheld €1bn of the €5.2bn payment due on Thursday. Klaus Regling, chief executive of the EFSF, said: "There will be no further disbursement before there is an agreement with the Troika [officials from the EU, ECB and IMF]."

Dire economic data from the the Hellenic Statistical Authority added to the pressure on politicians to reach agreement. Youth unemployment soared to 53.8pc in February, 3.5pc higher than a month earlier. Industrial production in Greece slumped by 8.5pc on an annual basis in March, according to state figures, while the country's manufacturing sector contracted by 8.8pc.

Axel Weber, the former head of the Bundesbank who is now chairman of UBS, warned that a hard default by Greece was "not off the table". Speaking at a conference in London, Mr Weber warned that rescue measures, including the ECB's €1 trillion cheap loan programme, had "only bought time". He added: "Any renewed escalation of the crisis is also likely to come home to roost, even in Germany."

Ladbrokes has suspended bets on Greece leaving euro and a poll by Bloomberg found that 57pc of investors expect Greece to exit the currency this year.

Meanwhile, French industrial production was shown to have fallen more sharply than expected in March, by 0.9pc, emphasising the impact of the crisis on the eurozone's northern core. The Bank of France now expects the economy to stagnate for the first half of the year.

Angela Merkel stuck to her guns. She said: "Growth funded by debt will just lead us back to the beginning of the crisis. We can't do that and we won't do that."

Franklin Graham: Obama Has ‘Shaken His Fist’ at God

Thursday, 10 May 2012 01:00 PM
By Andra Varin


Evangelist Franklin Graham said President Barack Obama has “shaken his fist at God” by voicing support for gay marriage.

In an interview Wednesday with ABC News, Obama said his opinions had evolved and he now believes same-sex couples should have the right to wed.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.

Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said the president was defying God’s will by changing his opinion on the issue.

“President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more,” Graham said in a statement.

“This is a sad day for America. May God help us,” he said.

Graham supported a measure to amend North Carolina’s constitution to bar gay marriage. Voters on Tuesday passed the amendment with a 61 percent approval rate.

Graham has criticized Obama on spiritual matters in the past. In February, he publicly questioned whether Obama is really a Christian and said “Islam has gotten a free pass” under Obama’s administration. Graham later apologized.

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

CNN Legal Analyst: Obama's Grandparents 'Would Have Looked a Lot Like George Zimmerman's Grandparents'

By Noel Sheppard
May 11, 2012


In his first public response to the Trayvon Martin shooting, President Obama famously said in March, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."

CNN legal analyst Mark NeJame, after uncovering a picture of George Zimmerman's relatives during his investigation of this matter, told Piers Morgan Thursday, "If President Obama has indicated that his son would have looked like Trayvon Martin, then most respectfully, if you look at these pictures, his grandparents and great-grandparents would have looked a lot like George Zimmerman's grandparents and great-grandparents.

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: When I first heard about this tragedy I jumped to the conclusion that I think many did that there was some racial aspect to this shooting, that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in part based upon bigotry and racial profiling. And I just presumed that from all the press reports that came out and from what I heard.

Well, as I started getting into a role as an analyst and such, I started asking questions. I’ve been a defense lawyer for over 30 years, and I have come to realize that much of what you hear is simply not factual. So we’ve got the picture there, and you can see. I had a family member give it to a friend who gave it to me and we gave it to you earlier today. And as you see there, the man in the middle is apparently George Zimmerman's great-grandfather. The woman above him is in fact his grandmother who is half black, and the little child in the gentleman's lap is his mother.

So we see that he really has significant multiracial, multicultural roots, and as I’ve come to realize and find out through my investigation, he was raised in a multicultural, integrated family in large part by his grandmother who is half black.

And I’ve made the analogy, and it seems appropriate, that if President Obama has indicated that his son would have looked like Trayvon Martin, then most respectfully, if you look at these pictures, his grandparents and great-grandparents would have looked a lot like George Zimmerman's grandparents and great-grandparents.

So, it seems to me in light of this, other things that we have found out about him mentoring African-American children quietly with nobody knowing about it for a couple of years, driving Orlando, excuse me Sanford to Orlando regularly, and talking to people that know him, I have changed my position. People can come up with whatever conclusions they want, but from looking at the facts, looking at the evidence, I don’t think there’s a racial motive in this.

Now, we have NRA issues, we have stand your ground issues, we have all sorts of other significant issues – self-defense or not self-defense. We’ll get to those at a later time. But race, was that a factor in this shooting? From what I see, from what I have now learned, I don’t think so.

Needless to say, it's going to be fascinating to see how much coverage this picture gets in the coming days.

After all, virtually the entire media have depicted Zimmerman as a racist.

Now that we actually have a picture of his great-grandparents and his grandmother, will the press be willing to share it with the public and discuss the ramifications as NeJame did with Morgan Thursday evening?

Stay tuned.

Girl Scouts under scrutiny from Catholic bishops

May. 10, 2012 5:26 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) — Long a lightning rod for conservative criticism, the Girl Scouts of the USA are now facing their highest-level challenge yet: An official inquiry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances.

The inquiry coincides with the Scouts' 100th anniversary celebrations and follows a chain of other controversies.

Earlier this year, legislators in Indiana and Alaska publicly called the Scouts into question, and the organization was berated in a series aired by a Catholic broadcast network. Last year, the Scouts angered some conservatives by accepting into a Colorado troop a 7-year-old transgender child who was born a boy but was being raised as a girl.

Some of the concerns raised by Catholic critics are recycled complaints that have been denied by the Girl Scouts' head office repeatedly and categorically. It says it has no partnership with Planned Parenthood, and does not take positions on sexuality, birth control and abortion.

"It's been hard to get the message out there as to what is true when distortions get repeated over and over," said Gladys Padro-Soler, the Girl Scouts' director of inclusive membership strategies.

In other instances, the scouts have modified materials that drew complaints — for example, dropping some references to playwright Josefina Lopez because one of her plays, "Simply Maria," was viewed by critics as mocking the Catholic faith.

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts' "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and various "problematic" program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

The bishops' conference provided a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, but otherwise declined comment.

Girl Scout leaders hope the bishops' apprehensions will be eased once they gather information. But there's frustration within the iconic youth organization — known for its inclusiveness and cookie sales — that it has become such an ideological target, with the girls sometimes caught in the political crossfire.

"I know we're a big part of the culture wars," said the Girl Scouts' spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins. "People use our good name to advance their own agenda."

"For us, there's an overarching sadness to it," Tompkins added. "We're just trying to further girls' leadership."

With the bishops now getting involved, the stakes are high. The Girl Scouts estimate that one-fourth of their 2.3 million youth members are Catholic, and any significant exodus would be a blow given that membership already is down from a peak of more than 3 million several decades ago.

The inquiry coincides with a broader effort by the bishops to analyze church ties with outside groups. Rhoades' committee plans to consult with Girl Scouts leaders and with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, which has been liaising with the Scouts for two years about various complaints.

The federation's executive director, Bob McCarty, praised the Girl Scouts for willingness to change some program content.

"I don't think any of this material was intentionally mean-spirited," McCarty said. "I think a lot of it was lack of attention."

However, McCarty expressed doubt that the Girl Scouts' most vehement critics would be satisfied regardless of what steps are taken.

"It's easier to step back and throw verbal bombs," he said. "It takes a lot more energy to work for change."

Mary Rice Hasson, a visiting fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, accuses McCarty of "whitewashing" Girl Scout programs and policies that struck some Catholics as counter to church teaching.

"They just repeated the Girl Scouts' denials," Hasson said. "Families' concerns were minimized or ignored."

Hasson is pleased that the bishops are launching their own inquiry but is skeptical that further rifts can be avoided.

"A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed," she said. "The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

One of the long-running concerns is the Girl Scouts' membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The association, known as WAGGGS, is on record as saying girls and young women "need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality." It also has called for increased access to condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Some critics want the Girl Scouts of the USA to pull out of the world group; the scouts aren't budging.

"Our world is becoming smaller and our young people need to have those opportunities to engage with their peers from around the world," said the Girl Scouts' CEO, Anna Maria Chavez. "But simply being a member does not mean that we will always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS."

To the Girl Scouts, some of the attacks seem to be a form of guilt by association. Critics contend that Girl Scouts materials shouldn't contain links to groups such as Doctors without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because they support family planning or emergency contraception.

One repeated complaint, revived in February by the Catholic broadcasting network EWTN, involves an International Planned Parenthood brochure made available to girls attending a Girl Scout workshop at a 2010 United Nations event. The brochure — "Healthy, Happy and Hot" — advised young people with HIV on how to safely lead active sex lives.

The Girl Scouts say they had had no advance knowledge of the brochure and played no role in distributing it.

Another complaint involved a Girl Scout blog suggesting that girls read an article about Chavez — who is Catholic — in Marie Claire magazine. Critics said the blog's link led to a Marie Claire home page promoting, among other items, a sex advice article.

The Girl Scouts' website addresses some of the recurring criticisms.

"Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature," it says.

And although it's a secular organization, the Girl Scouts embrace partnerships with religious groups. Scouts can earn a "My Promise, My Faith" pin for activities linked to their religious beliefs.

The Girl Scouts have been entangled in the culture wars as far back as the 1970s, when some conservatives became irked by the prominence of feminists such as Betty Friedan in the organization's leadership.

In 1993, Christian conservatives were outraged when the Girl Scouts formalized a policy allowing girls to substitute another word for "God" — such as Allah or Buddha — in the Girl Scout promise that reads: "On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country."

Among the disgruntled was Patti Garibay, a troop leader in Cincinnati who'd raised three daughters as Girl Scouts. In 1995, she founded the American Heritage Girls, which calls itself a "Christ-centered" alternative and now claims 19,000 members in 45 states.

Garibay said many of the newest members are from Catholic families disenchanted with the Girl Scouts.

One uneasy Catholic parent is Jody Geenen of West Bend, Wis., a troop leader for the past 14 years as her three daughters — now 18, 14 and 12 — became Girl Scouts.

She complains about some program materials adopted by the Girl Scouts in recent years. One example she gave: a patch honoring Hispanic labor organizer Dolores Huerta, whose shortcomings — in the eyes of some Catholics — include a 2007 award from Planned Parenthood.

Geenen hopes the Scouts will change their ways. "I love the Girl Scouts," she said. "But it can't remain the way it is."

American Heritage Girls signed a memorandum of mutual support in 2009 with the Boy Scouts of America, and some local units conduct joint activities. The Boy Scouts have no equivalent pact with the Girl Scouts, and the two organizations have, to an extent, become polarized ideologically.

Even in the face of criticism, the Boys Scouts stand by their policy of excluding atheists and barring gays from leadership roles. The Girl Scouts have no such policies.

"When you have a leadership brand like Girl Scouts, it's natural that we would have some critics," said Chavez. "We're proud of our inclusive approach because that is what has always made this organization strong."

Girl Scout controversies surfaced recently in two state legislatures.

In Indiana, Rep. Bob Morris wrote to his colleagues depicting the Girl Scouts as a radical group that promotes abortions and homosexuality. He later apologized for "reactionary and inflammatory" comments, but stood by his contention that the Scouts have links with Planned Parenthood.

In Alaska, Rep. Wes Keller — before deciding whether to support a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts — said he needed to investigate information "floating around the Internet" about the alleged Planned Parenthood link. Keller later said he was convinced the rumors were baseless; the resolution passed unanimously.


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