Regulatory Action Center Review - October 7, 2019   

Cache   

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s nineteenth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: Unsurprisingly, the United States is not the first country to experience ballooning budgets and astronomical deficits. In the mid-1990’s, Canada’s debt grew to as high as 70% of GDP, similar to our current debt situation. In this weeks video, John Stossell sits down with Canadian economist David Henderson to discuss how Canada managed to tackle their debt problem by cutting government spending and reducing waste.

2) Why Is the CDC Still Fostering Potentially Deadly Confusion About Vaping and Lung Disease?: “Media outlets, following the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to blame recent cases of severe respiratory illnesses among vapers on "vaping" and "e-cigarettes" in general, falsely implying a link to legal nicotine products. This misinformation is fostering public confusion that may lead to more disease and death, both from smoking and from the black-market products that have been implicated in the lung disease cases.” https://reason.com/2019/09/24/why-is-the-cdc-still-fostering-potentially-deadly-confusion-about-vaping-and-lung-disease/

3) FBI using Facebook ads to gather Russian intelligence: report: “The FBI is reportedly using Facebook ads to gather intelligence on Russia, specifically targeting those who may be or know Russian spies. The FBI is running ads in the Washington, D.C., area, CNN reported on Wednesday, that direct to the FBI field office's website that describes its counterintelligence team and encourages visitors to meet "in person." https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/fbi/464069-fbi-using-facebook-ads-to-gather-russian-intelligence-report

4) Federal Court Upholds FCC Decision to Roll Back Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules: “Today, by a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided largely with the FCC, upholding the primary regulatory rollback as a valid exercise of its authority. In the nearly 200 page opinion, which is heavy on technical detail, the court wrote that while the challengers raised "numerous objections" aiming to show that the FCC's reclassification is "unreasonable," the judges found them "unconvincing." https://reason.com/2019/10/01/federal-court-upholds-fcc-decision-to-roll-back-obama-era-net-neutrality-rules/

5) Trump to issue executive order ‘protecting’ Americans from ‘Medicare for All’ campaign proposals pushed by Democrats: “The executive order, which he is scheduled to discuss at a speech in Florida later Thursday, is intended to bolster Medicare Advantage, private Medicare insurance for seniors that currently covers 22 million people, senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. The plan would also offer more affordable plan options, increase use of telehealth services and bring payments in Medicare fee-for-service program in line with payments for Medicare Advantage, officials said.” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/trump-to-issue-executive-order-protecting-americans-from-medicare-for-all.html

6) Treasury to create tool to help people redeem billions in unclaimed savings bonds: “Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) on Wednesday said that the Treasury Department will create an online tool to help people redeem billions of dollars in savings bonds. About $26 billion in matured savings bonds are in the U.S. Treasury and have yet to be redeemed. Using the department's forthcoming tool, people will be able to verify against Treasury Department records if they have any savings bonds dated after 1974 that can be redeemed, Kennedy's office said in a news release.” https://thehill.com/policy/finance/464057-senator-treasury-will-create-tool-to-help-people-redeem-billions-of-dollars-in

7) Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown: “The Trump administration is under fire from conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers, who are pushing back over its planned crackdown on e-cigarette flavors. They say the administration is overreaching, and the flavor ban will harm small businesses, a violation of core Republican free market principles.” https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/464470-trump-takes-heat-from-right-over-vaping-crackdown


          

Devin Nunes Has Filed a Very Weird Lawsuit Against Ryan Lizza   

Cache   
US Representative Devin G. Nunes filed a defamation and common-law conspiracy complaint Monday against Politico reporter Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines in federal court in Iowa. In the suit, the California Republican claims that a 2018 article Lizza wrote for Esquire called “Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret,” was a “scandalous hit piece” that […]
          

Alleged leader of human-smuggling ring at Canada-U.S. border held in U.S. pending trial   

Cache   
signs at border

Beginning as early as 2013 and until August 2018, an organization led by Godofredo Rivas-Melendez, 60, charged thousands of dollars to smuggle people into Vermont and New York from Canada, a U.S. federal court indictment said.


          

Indian American Doctors Indicted for Kickback Conspiracy   

Cache   
HOUSTON(TIP): Two Indian doctors from Northeast Ohio and two drug company salesmen were indicted in federal court for their roles in a kickback conspiracy in which the doctors allegedly received money and other things of [...]
          

New Trump Policy Would Permit Indefinite Detention Of Migrant Families, Children   

Cache   
Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET The Trump administration has announced it is ending a federal court agreement that limits how long migrant families with children can be detained. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan outlined the new policy Wednesday, which replaces the Flores settlement agreement . That's been a longtime target of immigration hard-liners in the Trump administration, who contend the settlement has acted as a lure to families in Central America. The new policy means that migrant families who are detained after crossing the border can be kept indefinitely, until their cases are decided. Today's policy doesn't specify a limit but sets an expectation that cases be resolved comparatively quickly — within about two months. Asked about the new policy, President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that "very much I have the children on my mind. It bothers me very greatly." He added that the new policy, along with upgrades to border barriers, will mean migrant families won't
          

Federal District Court Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Over Tax Returns, Trump Appeals   

Cache   
Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed Presdent Trump's lawsuit in federal court over the Manhattan District Attorney's efforts to obtain his tax returns. The president immediately appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which issued an administrative stay, pending an expedited review by the court.  The ruling and stay are available below. U.S. District Court Ruling in Trump v. Vance & Mazars USA   Marrero Opinion Trump Vance (PDF)Marrero Opinion Trump Vance (Text) U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Emergency Stay   Second Circuit Stay Vance and Mazars (PDF)Second Circuit Stay Vance and Mazars (Text)  
          

DUNCAN HUNTER'S CRIMINAL TRIAL PUSHED EIGHT DAYS CLOSER TO MARCH 2020 ELECTION   

Cache   

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Trailed by news cameras but no protesters, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter leaves federal court after agreeing to new trial date. Photo by Ken Stone

October 7, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s criminal trial on campaign spending misconduct was reset Monday for Jan. 22, 2020, at his legal team’s request — an eight-day delay to accommodate a 9th Circuit appeal.


          

10/7/2019: CANADA: Diab wages court battle for citizenship certificate   

Cache   

OTTAWA • Sociology professor Hassan Diab, who spent a decade fighting allegations of terrorism, is now battling in court for a copy of his Canadian citizenship certificate. The 65-year-old Ottawa academic is asking the Federal Court of Canada to hear...
          

Comment on Threatening clawback by .    

Cache   
<a href="https://www.economist.com/business/2019/09/21/firms-face-physical-regulatory-and-legal-risks-from-climate-change" title="the economist" rel="nofollow">The final threat looms in the courtroom.</a> It is the hardest of the three to assess. This month pg&e reached an $11bn settlement with insurers seeking compensation from the Californian utility for payouts they made to homeowners and businesses in connection with wildfires. These were sparked by its power lines—and climate change increased their likelihood. Proving a company’s culpability for natural disasters is rarely this uncomplicated. Plaintiffs must show that they have suffered an injury, that the defendant caused it and that the court can redress it (with damages, say). In 2012 a federal court threw out a case brought by residents of Mississippi against 34 big carbon emitters for harm resulting from Hurricane Katrina, which they argued climate change made more destructive. Still, climate lawsuits against companies are mounting. Last year New York state sued ExxonMobil for deceiving investors about risks to the firm from climate-change regulation (the firm denies this). Better climate science has made establishing causality more credible, if by no means easy. Some American counties have sued a number of oil giants on grounds akin to those of the Mississippi claimants. In 2017 the fsb issued voluntary guidelines to firms and investors about disclosing such risks. Big asset managers, including BlackRock, back these in principle. But firms are reluctant to be the first to own up to vulnerabilities. They fear, rightly, that the market will punish honesty, not reward it. Until disclosures are made mandatory, companies are likely to prevaricate.
          

Comment on Open thread: climate lawsuits by .    

Cache   
<a href="https://www.economist.com/business/2019/09/21/firms-face-physical-regulatory-and-legal-risks-from-climate-change" title="the economist" rel="nofollow">The final threat looms in the courtroom.</a> It is the hardest of the three to assess. This month pg&e reached an $11bn settlement with insurers seeking compensation from the Californian utility for payouts they made to homeowners and businesses in connection with wildfires. These were sparked by its power lines—and climate change increased their likelihood. Proving a company’s culpability for natural disasters is rarely this uncomplicated. Plaintiffs must show that they have suffered an injury, that the defendant caused it and that the court can redress it (with damages, say). In 2012 a federal court threw out a case brought by residents of Mississippi against 34 big carbon emitters for harm resulting from Hurricane Katrina, which they argued climate change made more destructive. Still, climate lawsuits against companies are mounting. Last year New York state sued ExxonMobil for deceiving investors about risks to the firm from climate-change regulation (the firm denies this). Better climate science has made establishing causality more credible, if by no means easy. Some American counties have sued a number of oil giants on grounds akin to those of the Mississippi claimants. In 2017 the fsb issued voluntary guidelines to firms and investors about disclosing such risks. Big asset managers, including BlackRock, back these in principle. But firms are reluctant to be the first to own up to vulnerabilities. They fear, rightly, that the market will punish honesty, not reward it. Until disclosures are made mandatory, companies are likely to prevaricate.
          

US Supreme Court Consolidates Two Cases for Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)   

Cache   
U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline case From an Article by Sarah Vogelsong, Mercury News, October 4, 2019 The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will review a decision by a federal court of appeals that threw up a major barrier to construction of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline being [...]
          

'Remain In Mexico' Immigration Policy Expands, But Slowly    

Cache   
The Trump administration is expanding a hard-line immigration policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their assigned court dates in the U.S. The program, which is officially known as the "Migrant Protection Protocols," began earlier this year at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego. Homeland Security officials say the program expanded this week to include migrants crossing at the Port of Entry in Calexico, Calif., and those apprehended in areas between official ports of entry in the Border Patrol's San Diego sector. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the program , initially dubbed "Remain in Mexico," in December. Administration officials say it's intended to deter the growing number of migrants fleeing the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to seek asylum in U.S. immigration courts. The program was quickly challenged in federal court by immigrant rights advocates. They say it forces migrants to wait in dangerous
          

SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Lek Securities and CEO in Layering, Manipulation Case   

Cache   
(HedgeCo.Net) A federal court judge entered final judgments against New York-based brokerage firm Lek Securities Corp. and Chief Executive Officer Sam Lek, who were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with facilitating manipulative U.S. trading by a Ukraine-based firm […]
          

   

Cache   


Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet

Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.

Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.

Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.

Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.

A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.

But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.

Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.

Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.

What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?

The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.

It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.

Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.

The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.

And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.

Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.

We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’

He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.

Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?

‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’

For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.

The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.

They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.

As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’

There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.

Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’

What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?

Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.

 SOURCE 






California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead

A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.

This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.

Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”

But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.

The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?

SOURCE 






Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost

Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?

For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?

In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.

The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.

NOW WATCH: 'Trump's Chinese Tariffs Means It'll Cost Americans $1,000 More a Year Just to Live'

In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”

Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.

His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.

Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:

Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.

The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.

The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.

SOURCE 






Australia: Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

******************************

Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

************************************



          

Ill. Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment on Whistleblower Retaliation Claims   

Cache   
On September 27, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a defendant-employer summary judgment on a whistleblower retaliation claim under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”) and on a common law retaliatory...
By: Proskauer - Whistleblowing & Retaliation
          

Court Orders Waikiki Sports Bar to Pay Over $250,000 for Sexual Harassment   

Cache   
Owner of Snappers Sports Bar and Grill Created Sexually Charged Environment, Forcing Employees to Quit, Federal Agency Charged - HONOLULU, Hawaii - A federal court has ordered the owners of a Waikiki Beach sports bar and grill to pay $255,302 to...
By: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
          

Harvard’s tortured logic and other commentary   

Cache   
Legal desk: Harvard’s Tortured Logic A federal court recently ruled that Harvard doesn’t discriminate against Asian-American applicants by favoring other minorities, buying the Ivy’s claim that “race, when considered in admissions, can only help, not hurt, a student’s chances of getting in.” That reasoning is patently absurd, scoffs Bloomberg’s Ramesh Ponnuru. “If a particular racial...
          

Trump is under fire in Washington. But he's winning big in California   

Cache   

Trump was handed two nice gifts from Sacramento: Federal court says Democrats have no business trying to force him to release his taxes as a condition of getting on California's primary ballot. And Newsom vetoed a bill that would have undercut the president's planned rollback of endangered species protections, thereby providing more delta water for San Joaquin Valley farmers.


          

Voter Rights Group Rallies to End Limbo in Battleground Florida   

Cache   
Voter Rights Group Rallies to End Limbo in Battleground Florida TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Voting- and civil-rights groups held a rally outside a Tallahassee federal court Monday, calling for a temporary injunction to allow former felons to continue to register to vote. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment allowing some 1.4 million felons to regain their voting privileges. ...(Read More)
          

Federal Court Green-lights Philly “Safe Consumption” Site   

Cache   
Federal Court Green-lights Philly “Safe Consumption” Site HARRISBURG, Pa. – A federal court ruling in favor of a Philadelphia "safe consumption" site is being hailed as a major victory in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. The district court ruled Wednesday that Safehouse, a proposed site in Philadelphia where drugs could be used under supervision and with access to addiction services, wouldn't violate a federal law known as the "crack house" statute. ...(Read More)
          

‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story   

Cache   
‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story

‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order

A federal magistrate judge on Monday slammed Betsy DeVos‘ Department of Education for violating a federal court order after finding the federal agency is continuing to collect on the loan debt of former Corinthian Colleges students. The for-profit school went bankrupt and closed its doors in 2015.
“I’m not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told Education Dept. lawyers at a hearing in San Francisco, as Bloomberg News reports.
“I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions,” she added.
On Friday The Washington Post reported that despite “a court order barring the Education Department from collecting on the federal student loans of former Corinthian College students, the agency continued to pursue the debts. Some former students of the defunct for-profit college had their paychecks garnished. Others had their tax refunds seized by the federal government.” CONTINUE READING: ‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story



          

Supreme Court greenlights lawsuit over Amazon's wage-theft from warehouse workers   

Cache   

Amazon and its contractors are notorious for their wage-theft from warehouse workers, who are required to endure lengthy, unpaid delays while they wait to have their bags and bodies searched for stolen goods; a group of workers sued Amazon and one of its contractors, Integrity Staffing, under a Nevada state law.

Amazon and Integrity Staffing -- who call the workers' claims "grossly inaccurate" -- tried to have the case thrown out, going all the way to the Supreme Court. But this week, the Supremes denied cert to Amazon and Integrity, refusing to hear their objections, meaning the workers' claims can proceed.

In its 2014 ruling in the case, the Supreme Court decided that under a 1947 law that amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks.

The workers subsequently pressed their allegations under state law and added Amazon as a defendant. The case was consolidated with similar ones in federal court in Kentucky.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Amazon warehouse worker wage appeal [Andrew Chung/Reuters]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Scott Lewis, CC BY) Read the rest


          

Making elite colleges white again   

Cache   

A federal court ruled last week in Students for Fair Admissions vs Harvard that Harvard University can continue considering race in its admissions processes. Among the many different attributes the Ivy League university looks for in a potential student, such as academic potential, extracurricular activities, community service, maturity, ethical decision-making and new points of view, […]

The post Making elite colleges white again appeared first on The Hechinger Report.


          

Harvard critic finds white jocks and rich kids get preferential treatment in admissions   

Cache   

Just before the October 2019 federal court decision upholding Harvard’s admissions policy that factors in a student’s race, a new analysis of the university’s applicant data revealed that it might not be black and Hispanic students who are getting the biggest preferences but rather privileged white students, especially white athletes. Specifically, the analysis found that […]

The post Harvard critic finds white jocks and rich kids get preferential treatment in admissions appeared first on The Hechinger Report.


          

Ex-Jacksonville Officials Convicted of Fraud, Money Laundering   

Cache   
Two city officials in Jacksonville, Florida have been convicted of fraud and money laundering. Federal court records show that jurors in Jacksonville found 39-year-old Katrina Brown and 57-year-old Reginald Brown guilty Wednesday on multiple charges. The former Jacksonville City Council members are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 27. The government is seeking forfeiture of more […]
Next Page: 25

© Googlier LLC, 2019