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You have a weapon to fight Mormon bashers. It’s called your Testimony

June 30, 2015

Lock and load my friends. Lock your convictions upon a passionate and immovable devotion to the Truth. Load your heart with spiritual knowledge and a clear and ready testimony that Jesus is the Christ.

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I tweet, a lot. I get into Twitter wars, a lot. I’m civil, mostly, and I love others and respect their right to an opinion, a lot. But there are occasions when I have to get tough, and that’s when I pull out my keenest, most unbeatable weapon; my Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For decades there have been pastors, and some so-called Christian churches, who spent a whole lotta time trying to discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of their tactics is to “reach out” to Mormons who are wandering in darkness–as they would say–and “save them.” Oy! Recently, a certain tweeter with the handle @directorCSS tweeted the following to me:

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The link takes you to a video with a pastor named Jeff Durbin. Maybe some of you know this guy, but I have never heard of him. All I needed to know was in the caption to the YouTube video. It read:

Christian Pastor, apologist, and host of Apologia Radio, Jeff Durbin, preaches at Cornerstone in Chandler, Arizona. Jeff teaches on the need to reach members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the false-god and false-gospel communicated by Mormons. With love, respect, and concern for members of the Mormon community, Jeff leads us through the essential elements of the discussion between Mormons and Christians.

Being a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and living my life with Jesus Christ at its center, I wasn’t feeling the love, and the power was not exactly sunshine. But in an effort to make clear my devotion to the Savior I tweeted back to @directorCSS:

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Simple enough, eh? According to the video caption, Mormons believe in a “false god.” Testifying of my faith in Jesus Christ–or so I thought–would be an adequate response. But no. This guy persisted.

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Not being one to simply follow directions from someone who claims Mormons worship a “false god,” I again bore a sober witness to him.

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And then I tried an appeal to his sense of respect, religious freedom, and Christian dignity:

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And then I came down with a serious case of “how dare you” Righteous Indignation:

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And then I thought my 16,200 Twitter followers should see what this guy was up to, so I exposed him:

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But I had enough torque to keep me going. I then suggested he turn his “concern” from Latter-day Saints to the things threatening our religious liberty, and our very civilization.

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And then I turned the tables on the notion that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in a “false god.”

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Amazing what can be said in 140 characters. And then, just for good measure:

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This is a tactic, a strategy of a present war. If someone says that Mormons or members of the LDS church believe in a “different god than Jesus,” or a “false god,” or a “false gospel,” do not hesitate to bear a firm witness of the Divinity of God’s Son to them. After you recount your sincere faith in our Savior, Redeemer, Creator, the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, then simply say, “Jesus Christ is the God I believe in. If you believe in a different god than I do, as you say you do, you will have to explain to me who god that is.”

Fellow Saints, we are called to fight for our faith and the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ. Whether a Twitter war, a court battle for religious freedom, or a personal conflict with temptation, we must be armed with the right weapons. Mormons, Latter-day Saints, Christians, have all the tools to win. But a personal testimony of Jesus Christ as the Divine Son of God– born to a virgin, Mary, who grew and ministered in a body of flesh and bones, who served, taught, loved, healed and lead, who bled from every pore in Gethsemane, and died an unspeakable death on Calvary, the Christ, the Living Son of the Eternal Father–to bear firm witness of Him, is a sharp weapon against detractors and demons alike.

Lock and load my friends. Lock your convictions upon a passionate and immovable devotion to the Truth. Load your heart with spiritual knowledge and a clear and ready testimony that Jesus is the Christ. There is no weapon more sure, or truth more important in the battles of the latter days.

by Marjorie Haun  6/30/15

 

Mormon Church Stands Immovable on Sacred Institution of Marriage

June 29, 2015

As published on the Mormon Newsroom website

The Divine Institution of Marriage

Introduction In 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which declares the following truths about marriage:We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. . . .The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.[1]Since the publication of that statement, there have been many challenges to the institution of marriage. Prominent among these challenges has been the recognition by several national governments and some states and provinces that same-sex marriage—formal unions between two individuals of the same gender—are the equivalent of traditional marriage. Yet God’s purposes for establishing marriage have not changed. One purpose of this document is to reaffirm the Church’s declaration that marriage is the lawful union of a man and a woman.

Another purpose is to reaffirm that the Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are acceptable to God only between a husband and a wife who are united in the bonds of matrimony.

A third purpose is to set forth the Church’s reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage derives from its doctrine and teachings, as well as from its concern about the consequences of same-sex marriage on religious freedom, society, families, and children.

A fourth purpose of this document is to reaffirm that Church members should address the issue of same-sex marriage with respect and civility and should treat all people with love and humanity.

The Vital Importance of Marriage

Marriage is sacred and was ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ affirmed the divine origins of marriage: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”[2]

From the beginning, the sacred nature of marriage was closely linked to the power of procreation. After creating Adam and Eve, God commanded them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,”[3] and they brought forth children, forming the first family. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation—to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world—is divinely given. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family.[4]

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For millennia, strong families have served as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. In 1948, the world’s nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”[5]

Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage is a vital institution for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. Throughout the ages, governments of all types have recognized marriage as essential in preserving social stability and perpetuating life. Regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, in almost every culture marriage has been protected and endorsed by governments primarily to preserve and foster the institution most central to rearing children and teaching them the moral values that undergird civilization.

It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility. The special status granted marriage is nevertheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation and to the innate differences between the genders. By contrast, same-sex marriage is an institution no longer linked to gender—to the biological realities and complementary natures of male and female. Its effect is to decouple marriage from its central role in creating life, nurturing time-honored values, and fostering family bonds across generations.

In recent decades, high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children. Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children.[6] This is in part because of the differing qualities and strengths that husbands and wives bring to the task by virtue of their gender. As an eminent academic on family life has written:

The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to child rearing is unique and irreplaceable. . . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development.[7]

In view of the close links that have long existed between marriage, procreation, gender, and parenting, same-sex marriage cannot be regarded simply as the granting of a new “right.” It is a far-reaching redefinition of the very nature of marriage itself. It marks a fundamental change in the institution of marriage in ways that are contrary to God’s purposes for His children and detrimental to the long-term interests of society.

Threats to Marriage and Family

Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family—defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage—come increasingly under assault, with deleterious consequences. In 2012, 40% of all births in the United States were to unwed mothers.[8] More than 50% of births to mothers under age 30 were out of wedlock. Further, the marriage rate has been declining since the 1980s. These trends do not bode well for the development of the rising generation.

A wide range of social ills has contributed to this weakening of marriage and family. These include divorce, cohabitation, non-marital childbearing, pornography, the erosion of fidelity in marriage, abortion, the strains of unemployment and poverty, and many other social phenomena. The Church has a long history of speaking out on these issues and seeking to minister to our members with regard to them. The focus of this document on same-sex marriage is not intended to minimize these long-standing issues.

More recently, the movement to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right has gained notable ground in recent years. Court rulings, legislative actions, and referenda have legalized same-sex marriage in a number of nations, states, and jurisdictions. In response, societal and religious leaders of many persuasions and faiths have made the case that redefining marriage in this way will further weaken the institution over time, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children.[9]

A large number of people around the world recognize the crucial role that traditional marriage has played and must continue to play if children and families are to be protected and moral values propagated. Because the issue of same-sex marriage strikes at the very heart of the family and has the potential for great impact upon the welfare of children, the Church unequivocally affirms that marriage should remain the lawful union of a man and a woman.

Unchanging Standards of Morality

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God has established clear standards of morality for His children, who are accountable before Him for their behavior. Such standards cannot be changed by the reasoning, emotions, personal interests, or opinions of mortal beings.[10]Without the higher authority of God, as revealed in scripture and by His prophets, secular society will flounder and drift.

Many advocates of same-sex marriage argue that traditional standards of sexual morality have changed and that “tolerance” requires that these new standards be recognized and codified in law. If tolerance is defined as showing kindness for others and respect for differing viewpoints, it is an important value in all democratic societies. But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has observed, “Tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”[11]

The Savior taught that we should love the sinner without condoning the sin. In the case of the woman taken in adultery, He treated her kindly but exhorted her to “sin no more.”[12] His example manifested the highest love possible.

In addition to using the argument of tolerance to advocate redefining marriage, proponents have advanced the argument of “equality before the law.” No mortal law, however, can override or nullify the moral standards established by God. Nor can the laws of men change the natural, innate differences between the genders or deny the close biological and social link between procreation and marriage.

How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Religious Freedom?

As governments have legalized same-sex marriage as a civil right, they have also enforced a wide variety of other policies to ensure there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. These policies have placed serious burdens on individual conscience and on religious organizations.[13]

Same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws have already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states have challenged the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in several states was forced to give up its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with same-sex couples.[14]

In the United States, the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion is coming under pressure from proponents of same-sex marriage. Some of these proponents advocate that tax exemptions and benefits should be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not accept such marriages.[15] The First Amendment may protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, but other people of faith have faced and likely will continue to face legal pressures and sanctions. The same will happen with religiously affiliated institutions and educational systems. For example, a Georgia counselor contracted by the Centers for Disease Control was fired after an investigation into her decision to refer someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. In New Jersey, a ministry lost its tax-exempt status for denying a lesbian couple the use of its pavilion for their wedding. New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission prosecuted a commercial photographer for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. When public schools in Massachusetts began teaching students about same-sex civil marriage, a Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no right to exempt their students.[16]

Similar limitations on religious freedom have already become the social and legal reality in several European nations, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws protecting the status of same-sex couples be made uniform across the European Union.[17] Where same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, it inevitably conflicts with the rights of believers, and religious freedom is diminished.

How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Society?

The possible diminishing of religious freedom is not the only societal implication of legalizing same-sex marriage. Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. “It won’t affect your marriage, so why should you care?” is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing same-sex marriage will not immediately and directly affect existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations.

In addition to undermining and diluting the sacred nature of marriage, legalizing same-sex marriage brings many practical implications in the sphere of public policy that will be of concern to parents and society.[18] When a government legalizes same-sex marriage as a civil right, it will almost certainly enforce a wide variety of other policies to enforce this. The implications of these policies are critical to understanding the seriousness of condoning same-sex marriage.

The all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? While some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children, traditional marriage provides the most solid and well-established social identity for children.[19] It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage may, over time, erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. No dialogue on this issue can be complete without taking into account the long-term consequences for children.

As one example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably entail changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex marriages are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, public school administrators will feel obligated to support this claim.[20] This has already happened in many jurisdictions, where from elementary school through high school, children are taught that marriage can be defined as a legal union between two adults of any gender, that the definition of family is fluid, and in some cases that consensual sexual relations are morally neutral.[21] In addition, in many areas, schools are not required to notify parents of this curriculum or to give families the opportunity to opt out.[22]These developments are already causing clashes between the agenda of secular school systems and the right of parents to teach their children deeply held standards of morality.

Throughout history, the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong, independent families are vital for political and religious freedom.

Civility and Kindness

The Church acknowledges that same-sex marriage and the issues surrounding it can be divisive and hurtful. As Church members strive to protect marriage between a man and a woman, they should show respect, civility, and kindness toward others who have different points of view.

The Church has advocated for legal protection for same-sex couples regarding “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”[23] In Salt Lake City, for example, the Church supported ordinances to protect gay residents from discrimination in housing and employment.[24]

The Church’s affirmation of marriage as being between a man and a woman “neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians.”[25] Church members are to treat all people with love and humanity. They may express genuine love and kindness toward a gay or lesbian family member, friend, or other person without condoning any redefinition of marriage.

Conclusion

Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identities as men or women. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, will continue to defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of society.

The final words in the Church’s proclamation on the family are an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”[26]

This document is a revised and updated version of “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” first published by the Church in 2008 (.pdf file).

Posted by Reagangirl.com  6/29/15

Colorado’s Cannabis-Industrial Complex

June 25, 2015

Photo: Kesneme/Creative Commons

After the resounding passage in November 2012 of Amendment 64, the law which made recreational pot legal in Colorado, many counties and cities in the state quickly placed moratoriums on the commercial growing and retail marketing of cannabis. Mesa County’s Board of Commissioners passed such a moratorium shortly after the election in 2012, but in 2014, officials in De Beque took up the matter and opted to allow commercial pot interests to operate in their town.

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Kush Gardens near De Beque, Colorado photo courtesy of Marjorie Haun

A town built on oil and gas, mining and agriculture, De Beque has suffered a series of economic blows, first because of the recession of 2008, then onerous clean air regulations handed down by the EPA which drove up the cost of exploration and extraction of fossil resources, and, most recently, the drop in gas prices which made it unviable for many oil and gas companies to operate in the area. The hemorrhaging of jobs and oil and gas revenues likely made the temptation of cannabis tax revenues irresistible for a town struggling against extinction.

Retail marijuana was not the first choice among De Beque’s stop-gap economic measures. Early in 2014, the town lobbied the state to establish what would be western Colorado’s only gambling casino. After state legislators quashed plans for a casino along the I-70 corridor, in April 2014, residents of De Beque voted narrowly to welcome retail cannabis into their town.

But the saga of De Beque is more than that of an economically strapped small town glomming onto a means of survival. Retail recreational cannabis is changing Colorado’s social, economic and political landscapes in ways that few could have imagined.

Amendment 64 was approved of by 55 percent of Colorado voters in 2012. Promoted as a revenue-generating “regulate marijuana like alcohol” measure, its passage and ensuing repercussions caught many by surprise. Regulating marijuana like alcohol, it appears, is a breathtaking oversimplification of what is required to turn an illegal intoxicant into a viable commodity. The citizen-led ballot initiative behind Amendment 64 went beyond simple decriminalization and created a new civil right by encoding the possession and use of pot into the Colorado State Constitution.

Following the amendment’s passage, Colorado had just six months to create a legal and regulatory framework for the growing, sale and distribution of recreational cannabis. At that time, medical marijuana, which was recognized by the state in 2000, remained largely unregulated, lacking rules governing dosage, purity, growing practices, etc.

In the months since the law legalizing recreational pot was implemented, the state of Colorado has awarded more than 600 licenses to medical marijuana growers and nearly 400 to recreational marijuana growers. Separate licenses are required for medical vs. recreational outlets and growing facilities. Often a single proprietor will have several licenses covering the growing, sale and manufacturing of marijuana “edibles” and infused products for both medical and recreational cannabis. Despite the demand of state-issued licenses, few regulations governing either medical or recreational pot existed at the time the law was implemented in July 2013.

Amendment 64 provided some guidelines regarding what amounts of pot could be legally possessed, how many plants could be grown under what circumstances, etc., but the Colorado Department of Revenue was tasked with licensing and regulating all recreational and medical cannabis operations. Critical matters beyond fees and licensing criteria were overlooked, including agricultural issues such as pesticide use and the impact of outdoor growing facilities on other crops.

Agriculture is a dominant economic driver in most of Colorado’s small towns outside of the Front Range cities of Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs. With cannabis still illegal under federal law, a dearth of information about what pests attack cannabis and what pesticides can be used safely on the plants has resulted in confusion, and in some cases, dangerous growing practices.

In March of this year plants at several growing facilities in the Denver area had to be quarantined because of the misuse of “pesticides.” The pesticides, it turns out, were improvised concoctions of chemicals, including some unidentifiable mixtures. Cannabis growers have been left to improvise since no commercial pesticides are labeled for legal use on cannabis plants.

Some farmers have expressed alarm over the potential of marijuana growing operations in close proximity to established crops. Plans for a medical marijuana facility in Palisade, a tiny farming town whose main crop is peaches, have peach growers worried about the potential spread of pests, molds and fungi from cannabis to their established orchards. The agricultural implications of the cannabis industry, it seems, were not a consideration at the time it became a legal crop.

The wave of enthusiasm following the passage of Amendment 64 has given way to a drip, drip, drip of unintended consequences. Law enforcement issues, such as marijuana-intoxicated driving and the illegal movement of vast amounts of cannabis product into other states, are the tip of the iceberg. Social and law enforcement issues resulting from the Colorado interstate pot pipeline prompted Nebraska and Oklahoma to file lawsuits against the state, citing the fact that marijuana commerce violates federal law and increases the burdens of law enforcement in other states. Other symptoms of Colorado’s pot culture include increased use among teens, resulting in educational problems in middle schools and high schools, a spike in “edibles”-related emergency room visits, consumption by children and pets resulting in illness and death and regulatory confusion surrounding public consumption and enforcement.

Colorado’s addiction to cannabis revenue may prove to be the most harmful implication of all. Towns such as De Beque, where cannabis is replacing coal and cattle as a means of income, imperil themselves by staking the future on a substance which is still illegal in most states and which half of Americans still regard as a social evil.

In 2014 and 2015, nearly $6 million in pot revenues have been distributed to local governments. But the cost of increased law enforcement, drugged driving incidents, fatal crashes, loss of productivity and a huge spike in gang-related crime bring into question the cost-benefit of those dollars. Teen drug-relatedschool expulsions are also on the rise. And the notion that prisons filled with minor drug offenders would be relieved of overcrowding—a selling point of legalizing marijuana—has been blown to smithereens. Denver’s homeless population has exploded since Amendment 64 went into effect. And there are indications that finite tourist dollars are going more to pot and less to Colorado’s iconic natural wonders.

Cannabis is an intoxicant, proven to be dangerous to adolescents who use regularly, as well as adults who are addicted to its calming, high-producing chemical, THC. But building a tax empire on a narcotic substance may be a dangerous proposition for the Centennial State. Colorado’s Cannabis-Industrial Complex cannot sustain a complex economy traditionally built on natural resources, agriculture, innovation and family-friendly tourism. The eyes of other states eager to legalize pot should be firmly fixed on the unfolding saga of towns such as Denver, Boulder and De Beque, Colo.

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Marjorie Haun is a Colorado resident who blogs on Colorado state policies and good government.

Reposted with permission of the author, because I am the author, on Reagangirl.com  6/25/15

Cities pay millions to prop up “money-sucking” recycling enterprises
Economy»Government Waste | | 23. June, 2015

June 23, 2015

As originally published in the Washington Post  June 20, 2015

American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why

by Aaron C. Davis

June 20
Tucked in the woods 30 miles north of Washington is a plant packed with energy-guzzling machines that can make even an environmentalist’s heart sing — giant conveyor belts, sorters and crushers saving a thousand tons of paper, plastic and other recyclables from reaching landfills each day.The 24-hour operation is a sign that after three decades of trying, a culture of curbside recycling has become ingrained in cities and counties across the country. Happy Valley, however, it is not.

Once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, recycling in recent years has become a money-sucking enterprise. The District, Baltimore and many counties in between are contributing millions annually to prop up one of the nation’s busiest facilities here in Elkridge, Md. — but it is still losing money. In fact, almost every facility like it in the country is running in the red. And Waste Management and other recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around.

In short, the business of American recycling has stalled. And industry leaders warn that the situation is worse than it appears.

 

Read the full article here!

Reposted by Reagangirl.com on 6/23/15

Why strong fathers are essential, and kids suffer without them
Family»Fathers Day | | 21. June, 2015

June 21, 2015

As originally posted on Newswithviews, June 21, 2015

by Marilyn Barnewall

About one-third of children live without their biological father in the home. Here is the price we pay as a society and the huge physical, psychological and emotional price these kids pay for lack of a father:

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and the Census Bureau, 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (five times the average);
90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20 times the national average.
Read Justice and Behavior, Volume 15, pages 403-426 and you will find that 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times greater than the norm.
71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
70 percent of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton County, Georgia; Texas Department. of Corrections)
90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
Boys who grow up without a father in the home are more likely to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 711 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, 164 percent more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92 percent more likely to get divorced themselves.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.
If a young male is raised without a father the likelihood that he will take part in criminal activity doubles by comparison to young males with fathers in the home or a father who remains actively involved in his son’s life.

Read the full article here!

Written by Marilyn Barnewall, reposted by Reagangirl.com  6/21/15

White Privilege: Myth, or a Reason for Self-flagellation?

June 21, 2015

Is there anyone more more racist than an ‘ivory tower’ Liberal who believes he should suffer at the hands of criminals because he was born privileged, i.e. “superior,” in comparison to people of other races, and that to be less superior he must be taken down a notch or two by thugs of a less “privileged” race?

“White Privilege” is a myth. Unlike the monarchies and pseudo-constitutional governments of pre-revolutionary times, economic mobility in America as fluid as the opportunities that swirl around us. Not for some two hundred and thirty years have success and failure been predetermined by caste or pedigree. Whites born into poverty are no more “privileged” than minorities born into poverty. With a playing field made level by government by the people, persistent impoverishment among certain communities in the United States begs the question, “why do some rise above the circumstances of their birth while others stay trapped in generational poverty?”

The book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty (What Teachers Should Know) by Ruby K. Payne, asserts that “Love and acceptance for the middle class are based on achievement.” For the poverty class it’s personal popularity that merits love and acceptance, while, for the wealthiest classes, status and connections are the most vaunted qualities. It’s nice to be liked, and social status and prestige are certainly desirable, but among the things that bring love and admiration among differing classes of people, achievement is the only one quantifiable by any meaningful measure. Achievement is a middle class value, and the American middle class has always been the largest and most mobile of all socioeconomic classes.

Payne’s book also explains why generational poverty in the United States is not measured by income but by lifestyle choices. It’s now possible in America to have a greater income, much of it non-taxable, while living in “poverty” as a government dependent, than it is while working a full-time job. You will find many families with incomes lower than those on government welfare living middle class lifestyles because of their chosen value system. American “poverty” is not the poverty of Bangladesh or Mexico City. In America the you can own a car, two televisions, all kinds of appliances, and, in some states, have an income of nearly $40,000 per year for a family of four and be classified as “poor.” The words “poverty” and “poor” are too arbitrary to have economic meaning. The values practiced by families in individual homes are the only meaningful way to differentiate between who stays stuck in poverty and who is upwardly mobile.

So, what of this “White Privilege” thing? “White Privilege” denotes an endowment; having opportunity or wealth handed to you as a function of skin color. It’s an absurd concept given that not all whites are exempt from poverty and not all people of color are barred from upward mobility. The American middle class encompasses a higher percentage of people from all demographic groups than the poverty class. Despite the fact that during President Obama’s terms welfare dependence has exploded and joblessness among minorities has persisted at high rates, people are not limited by inherent traits such as skin color. Those who succeed, despite economically tough times, do so because they employ values such as dependability, hard work, creativity, and the desire to achieve no matter what their field of employment. Values–I like to call them ‘virtues’–that comprise a hard-driving work ethic and bring personal success are not exclusive to any particular race. They’re universal and accessible to all who choose to employ the habits that bring about achievement.

In a recent op-ed, a young white man, following his own mugging, wrote that “Privileged people deserve to get robbed at gunpoint.”  He’s the poster child for the liberal, self-loathing Flagellate Monks in the church of Political Correctness, who forever castigate themselves for being born as something other than an “oppressed minority.” It’s pretty pathetic when the very middle class values that are the foundation of achievement in America, are rejected by guilt-ridden folks who believe that success and failure are fixed traits determined by genetics. When you think about it, this is authentic racism. Is there anyone more more racist than an ‘ivory tower’ Liberal who believes he should suffer at the hands of criminals because he was born privileged, i.e. “superior,” in comparison to people of other races, and that to be less superior he must be taken down a notch or two by thugs of a less “privileged” race? Breathtaking.

The American middle class exists–and may go extinct–based on the values practiced by individuals. Achievement is measurable in many ways; income, family stability, thrift, health, educational success, devotion to charitable service, faith, marital resilience, etc. These middle class values are found in people of all income levels, and so are the backbone of American identity and liberty. Countless great figures became influential by working their way , bottom to top, in both achievement and wealth. God may bless the lives of virtuous people, but privilege is not a genetic condition. White Privilege is a myth, but what is not mythological is that achievement comes from living the values of self-restraint, hard work, and personal morality. In America, choices, not fate or genetics, determine who lives a successful life and who immerses themselves in frustration and envy, always blaming their woes on external forces or people who are different than them. Put simply, American success is not dependent on the color of one’s skin, but upon the content of one’s character.

by Marjorie Haun  6/21/15

Colorado Birth Rates Deflate Following Pot Legalization

June 19, 2015

Tommy Twittletaub got stoned and lost all interest in Lucy Lumpkin’s lumps.

Young men–teenagers–have a bad reputation for being hump monkeys. Even the best among them are sex-obsessed fiends, and this rule has stood hard and fast throughout human history…until 2012, in Colorado.

2Pot

Last summer much hooey was made when the Denver Post reported a statistical drop in Colorado teen birth rates. “Free contraceptives” were touted as the reason for decreased teen pregnancies. Naturally, the nanny state, “kids are gonna do it anyway” crowd went nuts with self-congratulation. However, there was no evidence that the free contraceptives, lacking accompanying handbooks, were used properly, or at all. The skeptic in me says that promiscuous teens, whose brains are years away from full development, didn’t bother to use their “free” contraceptives, and probably traded them for Pokemon cards. But there is something that makes contraceptives irrelevant to this issue; pot.

If there is one discovery, since the inception of human society, with the mojo to make teen boys–indeed, men of any age–indifferent to sex, it would be cannabis. There is a buttload of empirical evidence that pot, from the onset of use, turns male gonads into estrogen pumping dynamos.

In a CNN report titled, “Does Pot Cause Man Boobs,” studies correlating pot use with decreased levels of testosterone in human subjects were revealed. An article in Medical Daily makes similar claims. And, last but not least, the esteemed journal of Bongology, “High Times,” published an article titled “Weed Weiner: Smoking Pot May Cause E.D. (erectile dysfunction).” It’s obvious that pot not only turns young men into biological young women, but that it also inhibits the use of the very thing that makes a man a man.

So, there you have it. Colorado nanny staters can hoot all they want about how their wonderful policies, through which Granny Tooter’s money is confiscated in order to pay for little Lucy Lumpkin’s condoms, have decreased teen pregnancies in Colorado. But the Occam’s Razor* explanation is undeniable. When recreational pot was legalized in Colorado, and became a cheap and abundant commodity as a result, little Tommy Twittletaub got stoned and lost all interest in Lucy Lumpkin’s lumps.Colorado’s teen boys are getting stoned, and that’s why Colorado teen girls are not getting knocked up.

Next in the series: How early and prolonged pot usage turns you into a spineless, amoral ninny.

* Oc·cam’s razor

:  a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities

by Marjorie Haun  6/19/15

Why are Lefties losing their minds over this Utah lawmaker?
American Lands | | 18. June, 2015

Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory took fire from a group with strong ties to George Soros and his Tides Foundation.

By Ron Catlett and Dustin Hurst | For IdahoReporter.com and MediaTrackers Montana

It’s high political drama in America’s West and it’s peppered with high-dollar deception.

As the Campaign for Accountability, an offshoot of a Washington, D.C., union and environmental radical attack group, wages an assault on a Utah lawmaker, a deeper look at the organization reveals stunning deception.

The innocuously named Campaign Accountability, operating out of New York and D.C., filed three complaints — in Montana, Utah and Arizona — against Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, a Republican, and his American Lands Council, claiming fraud of taxpayers.

The group didn’t pull punches in its press release. “Rep. Ivory is a snake oil salesman, cloaked with respectability by his position as a legislator,” said the group’s leader Anne Weismann.

The group, formed just five months ago, alleges Ivory is filling his pockets with taxpayer cash while pushing federal land transfer to Western states, which CfA believes unconstitutional.

Ivory’s American Land Council is partially funded through contributions from local governments. ALC’s tax records show he and his wife, who works there too, brought in about $115,000 in 2013, about 50 percent of the group’s budget.

Ivory leads a movement seeking that the federal government gives up some of its hold on Western lands and transfer management or ownership to the states. ALC contends states can manage lands more efficiently and maintain access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

A deeper look, ignored by the Salt Lake Tribune and myriad other media sources, reveals a more complex — and partisan — tale.

Instead of serving the public as an authentic nonprofit watchdog outfit, CfA serves as a partisan attack dog, attached to a leash held by environmental extremists, unions and other left-wing causes.

The staff rosters of CfA and its parent company, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, show a team of well-trained and hyper-connected D.C. insiders.

Take Nick Hackworth, for example. He’s part of the leadership team and for good reason: he has a sterling resume for his post. During President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election fight, he served as the president’s opposition research director.

He now runs a left-wing consulting firm, M Street Solutions, also based in D.C.

Another leadership team member, Robin Brand, has been a long time Democratic Party activist. She served as an executive for Campaigns for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the associated Victory Institute. She is now president of RMB Strategies, another left-wing political consulting firm in D.C.

Even the public relations firm retained by CfA has an impressive resume of left-wing partners. FitzGibbon Media works with the environmental radicals 350.org, the big labor foot soldiers at the AFL-CIO and the gun-grabbers at Everytown, among many others.

Their money flows from the usual sources. A right-wing site dedicated to exposing CREW revealed the left-wing group received at least $250,000 from liberal billionaire George Soros in 2008, plus more from Democracy Alliance, a progressive coordinator in the nonprofit world.

Read the full article here!

 

Ron Catlett leads MediaTrackers Montana and Dustin Hurst serves as the news director for IdahoReporter.com.Photo source here.    

Dustin is a contributor to Watchdog.org and news director for IdahoReporter.com in Boise, Idaho. His work has been featured by Reason, Townhall.com, Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the Spokesman Review and Public Sector Inc., among others. Steve Forbes also tweeted one of Dustin’s stories one time.

EPA “clean power” plan will harm Navajo Nation in Arizona

June 17, 2017

Dem. lawmaker slams EPA for harming Navajo tribe

By   /   June 15, 2015

As originally published on Watchdog Arena  

  

Photo of coal-fired Navajo Generating Plant by Png Studio Photography

RESOURCES OF SOVEREIGNTY: A Democratic state senator calls EPA’s threat to coal-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plan a threat to the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.

By Jackie Moreau | Watchdog Arena

On Friday, June 12, a Democratic legislator representing the Southwest region’s Navajo Nation criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for threatening the Navajo Nation’s economy and sovereignty.

Arizona state Sen. Carlyle Begay, a Navajo tribe member, was invited to speak at the Heartland Institute’s 10th annual International Conference on Climate Change. Begay warned conference goers of the consequences coal restrictions will have on the Navajo people. The nation holds a population of over 300,000 tribal members– the largest population of the 500 recognized tribes and 318 reservations in the country.

Arizona Legislature Website

Arizona State Sen. Carlyle W. Begay, District 7

Coal production provides the Navajo Nation with 60 percent of its general fund revenues, according to Begay, and has allowed the Navajo Nation to retain its sovereignty.

“These revenues represent the Navajo Nation’s ability to act as a sovereign nation. It’s important revenue that meets the definition of self-determination,” Begay stated. “I often argue that as a tribal community and tribal nation, we are truly not sovereign without our ability to be self-determined, and natural resources like coal provide some of that future.”

EPA regulations are stifling coal’s ability to keep the Navajo Nation a self-determined people. According to Begay, the nation is mining 8-10 million tons of coal each year, down from 13-16 million tons, before EPA regulations began to take its toll. Begay says they have billions of tons of coal to feed the economy.

“From this natural resource, we actually generate approximately 3,750 megawatts of electricity sold primarily off the Navajo Nation to feed our economies in Arizona and the Southwest.”

The Navajo Nation is located in the Four Corners region, with the majority residing in the state of Arizona. Navajo lands stretch 27,425 square miles — about the size of West Virginia. Begay claimed that the coal industry continues to provide over 2,000 high-paying jobs on the Navajo Nation, but of the 300,000 tribal members that live within its boundaries, less than half are able to make a living, with an unemployment rate reaching over 50 percent. The economic development as a whole remains stagnant.

Recently, the Navajo Nation purchased the Navajo mine from BHP, a global resources company, to make the nation, what Begay calls, not just a stakeholder, but “a shareholder.”

“If it wasn’t for the Navajo Nation’s purchase of the BHP plant, the Four Corners power plant would have shut down, BHP would have shut down, and part of the strategy for Navajo purchasing BHP was to have solvency and protect the jobs that the industry had produced,” said Begay.

“Navajo sees it as a daunting task for the people, and really the hope is that there’s the understanding and collaboration by EPA [and] by the U.S. government that ensures that the transition of energy policies are considerate of the communities it impacts and is done so in an economically responsible way.”

Under the Clean Air Act section 111(d), the EPA’s Clean Power Plan was proposed in June 2014 “to cut carbon pollution” by regulating emissions from existing coal-fired power plants from 2020-2030 in an effort to curb climate change.

The Navajo Nation would not be the only victim if the power plants aren’t fought for, and Begay acknowledges that. “It’s not just the Navajo Nation that is being impacted, it’s the entire region. And you’re talking about regions that are largely rural, largely frontier in a lot of ways.”

Access to a reliable and affordable water source will also be impacted under the EPA’s regulation. Arizona’s water source comes from the Colorado River and has to get down to Phoenix and Tucson. The only way that’s achieved right now is through coal-fired power generation, said Begay.

“There’s not the efficiency in solar or wind right now to meet that demand, and so part of the balance is if the customers in Arizona do not want a significant increase in their rates of electricity or water, we have to find that balance.”

The EPA maintains that its proposal will be affordable. In a June 12 letter to the editor, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Ensuring that the final CPP supports our electricity system’s ability to deliver reliable—and affordable—energy has been a top priority all along.”

The Energy Information Administration was recently tasked with using its National Energy Modeling System to analyze the impacts of EPA’s proposal. According theInstitute for 21st Century Energy, “The ‘Base Policy’ scenario EIA designed hews closely to the Clean Power Plan, including interim goals and compliance around EPA’s four building blocks.”

Read the full article here!

Jackie Moreau is the Managing Editor of WatchdogArena.org, the Franklin Center’s network of boots-on-the-ground writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists stationed across the country. Jackie comes to the Beltway originally from Upstate New York, where she earned her BA in English from Binghamton University. Find her on Twitter: @Jackie_Moreau

Reposted by Reagangirl.com  6/17/15

BLM to close Colorado roads that have been used by public for 50 years
Public Lands | | 16. June, 2015

June 16, 2015

BLM plan to close over 1,000 public routes riles western Colorado

By   /  Originally posted on May 13, 2015      

Watchdog Arena

MESA, Colo.—A plan that will close nearly 2,000 miles of public roads that have previously been open for use by the people of Mesa County is creating a public backlash against the Grand Junction field office of the federal Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM’s resource management plans (RMP) regulate the access and types of traffic allowed on roads on public lands. Road maintenance and seasonal closures are also detailed in such plans.

Shutterstock Image

NO COMMENT: Coloradans are up in arms over the BLM’s proposed plan to close off public routes that are heavily traveled with no clear justification.

But the most recent RMP in Mesa County indicates the BLM’s intent to limit access to public roads which have traditionally been open to motorized, horse, and foot traffic. Accessible routes will decrease from the current 3,469 miles to just 1,777. The BLM has not offered a clear justification for its planned road closures, which has left many in Mesa County frustrated and baffled.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that people with physical disabilities are especially troubled by the BLM’s plans. TheMay 2 article detailed a protest by 250 who gathered outside the BLM field office in Grand Junction:

“As the gathering made plain, people with disabilities enjoy camping, fishing and hunting as much as anyone, but the travel management section of the BLM’s resource management plan for the area seems not to notice, protesters said.”

In the Sentinel article, Joyce Tullio, a regular user of the public routes who is dependent on medical oxygen, complained, “The areas we like to go in, they’re closing them off. People who can hike or ride bicycles … they can go in those areas, but I’m being locked out.”

The BLM, not unlike other federal agencies, is not required to collaborate with local governments when formulating RMP for a given area. The planned closure of roads, most of which were established decades ago, will effectively close off tens of thousands of acres of public lands to human access.

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners has expressed grave concern about the potential economic impact of such a move. Issues overlooked by the BLM in the latest plan included watersheds, oil and gas leases, and local economies. On May 8, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel quoted a letter written to the BLM from the Mesa County Commissioners:

“BLM fails to adequately consider the effects its proposed management strategy will have on current and future oil and gas exploration and development activities, and the associated socioeconomic impact on Mesa County, its local communities, and the state of Colorado,” the letter says.

Reduced leasing opportunities also reduce the possible revenues due to the county from federal mineral leases, the commissioners’ letter says, as it notes that the proposed plan fails to account for development of the Niobrara and Mancos Shale formations, which hold significant oil and gas reserves.

The plan as proposed “contrasts with the federal government’s longstanding policy of encouraging responsible energy development and motorized trail use on federal lands under multiple-use principles,” the letter says. “The changes reflect a philosophy working to reduce and limit natural resource extraction throughout western Colorado’s federal mineral estate and force overcrowding of increasingly popular motorized recreation.”

The Mesa County Commissioners went on to request a six-month review of the BLM’s plans before the agency proceeds with any closures, which according to a BLM representative, is “unprecedented.”

There also appears to be conflicts between federal law and the BLM’s proposed closures. According to Brandon Siegfried, the President of the Public Lands Access Association,—as quoted in the Daily Sentinel—“Most of the routes facing closure were established 50 years ago or more. Federal law requires the BLM to treat such historic routes like highways, which cannot be closed through a resource management plan.”

In western Colorado, the ratio of federal-managed lands to private lands is significantly higher than in the rest of the state. Agricultural, economic, recreational, and various private interests of local citizens is dependent upon access through a vast and complex road system. 

Although the BLM may find the growing backlash from citizens and elected officials against its proposed road closures “unprecedented,” it is likely to grow in western Colorado.

This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.

Reposted with permission of the author  6/16/15

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