Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy: Education Key to Youth Vote

Breitbart News contributor Michael Patrick Leahy argued that educating young people about conservative ideals is key to winning over young voters in an interview on “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Tuesday. 

He stated “people who are millenials … generally support ideas of individual liberty … when you inform them of it, they become very passionate about it,” and argued that Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie “America: Imagine the World Without Her” is a key example of the kind of education that is needed. 

Ingraham added that she became involved in the conservative movement because of the articulate promotion of conservative values by Ronald Reagan, and argued that the conservative movement needs a similar spokesman. 

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New Poll Blow for Independent Scotland Campaign

Scottish voters are turning their backs on independence, with support for separation from the UK falling away. According to a new YouGov poll for the Times, support for a “yes” in September’s referendum has fallen three points to 39 percent, with one observer saying that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond now needs a “game changer” to win the vote.

Also, in terms of whether Scots think they’ll be better or worse off after independence, only 27 percent think their country would be better off, while just 17 percent think they would be personally better off.

By comparison, 49 percent think Scotland would be economically worse off if it became independent, while 43 percent think they would be personally financially worse off.

These considerations could prove vital in determining how wavering and undecided Scots vote in September.

With support dropping below 40 percent, this will represent a huge psychological blow to the ‘yes’ campaign, with Alex Salmond still struggling to answer key economic questions about how an independent Scotland would function, including what currency it would use and how dependent it would be on North Sea oil.

John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde told the Times: “This is the worst result for “yes” from YouGov since before the currency intervention and it must be disappointing for the “yes” side. They must be looking for 43 per cent upwards and they are going backwards.

“As ever, it is about the economy, stupid. The Yes campaign has to persuade people that Scotland will be economically better off and people are no more convinced than they were after the publication of the White Paper. Until those numbers turn around, I can’t see them making it, really.

“It is going to be very, very difficult. It has looked difficult for quite a while. It needs a game changer, and where is that going to come from during the course of the summer?”




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Media Manipulation: How UCLA Cleared Itself of Using Race in Admissions

In the penultimate essay of this series, I discussed at length an internal report at UCLA that examined the university’s admissions decisions. The report, written by UCLA sociology professor Robert Mare, found evidence that UCLA had given preference to black students in its new “holistic” admissions process in 2007 and 2008, despite the prohibitions of California’s Proposition 209.

For instance, one part of the report estimated that slightly more than 33% of the black freshmen admitted to UCLA’s 2008 freshmen class would not have been admitted if they had not received preferences. 

Despite that evidence, on the day that UCLA released the report, the university posted on its web site a press release claiming that Mare’s report “found no evidence of bias in UCLA’s admissions process.” 

The latter statement is false. And I believe the cause of that falsehood is what I call “institutional dishonesty.” 

Specifically, as I detail more fully in my book, through euphemisms, strategic omissions, and editorial error, UCLA turned a true statement—that Mare’s report found evidence of racial bias–into its opposite. 

The error seems to have begun with Mare himself. Although he was completely honest in his statistical analyses, he spun his verbal descriptions of those analyses in minor ways to make UCLA look less bad. Most important, instead of calling his results “estimates of racial bias” or “estimates of racial preferences,” he called such estimates “disparities.” 

For instance, as I mentioned above, one aspect of his analysis estimated that, absent racial preferences, slightly more than 33% of black freshmen admitted in 2007 would not have been admitted. Here is the prose that Mare used to describe that estimate: “Absent the adjusted disparities estimated in this analysis, 121 fewer Black applicants would have been admitted, which amounts to more than 33 percent of the actual number admitted.” 

Compounding the confusion, at approximately the same time that UCLA released the Mare report, a faculty committee released a summary of the report. The official title of the committee is the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools (CUARS). 

The CUARS summary of the Mare report contains five paragraphs. The fourth and fifth are little more than boilerplate. The first three paragraphs, however, are more substantive. They summarize Mare’s report–except they cherry-pick from Mare’s conclusions. 

Specifically, the “executive summary” of Mare’s report contains nine bullet points. Three mention, albeit in cryptic ways, that Mare’s statistical analysis found evidence of racial bias. 

Yet the CUARS statement focuses only on three other bullet points, in which Mare explains that—despite the fact that the holistic system judged applicants partly by challenges and hardships they faced—the most important factors in UCLA’s admission system were ones of academic achievement, such as like grades and SAT scores. 

While Mare found significant evidence of racial bias, the CUARS statement did not mention that fact.  

Moreover, in Mare’s executive summary, just after the nine bullet points, he wrote the following sentence: “The holistic ranking process for Freshman admissions at UCLA appears to work much as intended.” 

Here, however, is the way the CUARS committee rewrote the sentence: “Professor Mare concludes that the Comprehensive Review ranking for UCLA freshman admissions functions in the manner intended by the faculty and the University.” 

Note that the committee removed the word “much” from Mare’s conclusion. 

Then, on the same day that CUARS released its statement, UCLA posted its press release, entitled, “Independent report confirms UCLA admissions process working as intended by faculty.” 

Like the CUARS statement, the press release removed the word “much” from the actual conclusion that Mare wrote. As I discuss above, the press release also claimed: “Mare’s report found no evidence of bias in UCLA’s admissions process.” 

The author of the press release seems to have relied heavily on the incorrect CUARS statement–perhaps merely through an editorial oversight.

Note that through a series steps, none of which can definitively be called a lie, UCLA staff and faculty distorted a true statement into its exact opposite. 

Remember, the distortion was the product of a highly esteemed university that, in theory, is one of society’s guardians of truth. 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Read all 13 parts of the series:




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US Court: Mexicans Can Sue Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Their Rock-Throwing Son

TUSCON, Arizona–The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the parents of Sergio Hernandez, a 15 year-old Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa on June 7, 2010, could sue Mesa in US civil court for alleged excessive use of force. This was a reversal of the initial judgment made in Mesa’s favor in the lower Western District Court in El Paso, TX. 

Jesus Hernandez and Maria Guereca brought a total of eleven claims against the US government, Mesa, and several Border Patrol supervisors, according to the text of the Appeals Court ruling. The first seven claims were brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, based on “multiple allegations of tortious conduct,” and the next two claims involved allegations that Hernandez’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were violated. The key claim, however, was that Mesa was liable under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics through his “use of excessive, deadly force.”

According to the text of the ruling, on the day of the shooting in 2010, Hernandez was allegedly gathered with a group of “friends” on the Mexican side of a cement culvert that separated the Texas border city of El Paso and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. Advocates for the group claim they were playing a game in which they would illegally cross onto U.S. soil, run up to the barbed wire border fence and then run back. Agent Mesa detained one of Hernandez’s friends (the ruling did not explain the circumstances), after which Hernandez retreated behind the pillars of the Paso del Norte international bridge. At some point, Mesa shot at Hernandez from the US side of the border into Mexico, hitting him in the face and killing him.

On April 27, 2012, the US Department of Justice issued a press release announcing it had closed the investigation into Mesa’s actions, and contained information that was markedly different than the court ruling. Along with several media reports, the release said a group of individuals were attempting to illegally cross the border and were throwing rocks at agents as a diversion. Mesa said he shot Hernandez in self-defense as he was being pelted while attempting to detain a border crosser. The Justice Department investigation revealed that Mesa “did not act inconsistently with CBP policy or training regarding use of force.” Although they couldn’t succeed in criminal court, Hernandez’s parents chose to pursue a lawsuit in civil court instead. Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby previously reported how such rock attacks have caused serious bodily injury and risk of death to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The 5th Circuit Court ruling affirmed the District Court’s decision that the claims brought against the US government and Border Patrol supervisors should be dismissed, but reversed the dismissal of the claim against Mesa. The Appeals Court stated Hernandez’s parents could assert a claim that their son’s Fifth Amendment rights were violated and they had “alleged sufficient facts to overcome qualified immunity.” According to USLegal.com, qualified immunity “protects public officials from being sued for damages unless they violated ‘clearly established’ law of which a reasonable official in his position would have known.” Furthermore, it “aims to protect civil servants from the fear of litigation in performing discretionary functions entrusted to them by law.” 

The unfortunate precedent this sets for Border Patrol agents cannot be understated. All law enforcement officers are trained to deal with various kinds of threats, but those who work on the southwest border are working under unique conditions and stressors, along with the additional scrutiny that comes with regular interactions with foreign nationals. Few things place an agent’s life in danger more than the hesitation that comes with having to second-guess an action that has been ingrained to come as second nature through training. 

However, this is the side effect of an agent’s concern over being sued for taking defensive action that results in a loss of life. Shawn Moran, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Los Angeles Times in June that the union has vowed to oppose any measures that restrict the ability of agents to defend themselves. This was shortly after US Customs and Border Protection issued new use-of-force guidelines for agents, indicating (among many other things) that they should seek cover or move out of range in a rock-throwing incident whenever possible. Agents were also told “not to fire in response unless the projectiles are large enough to cause ‘serious physical injury or death.'”

As a result of the Appeals Court’s decision, Hernandez’s parents can now pursue a civil suit against Agent Mesa. The Court essentially stated that the Fourth Amendment—under which an excessive force claim is usually made—doesn’t apply to foreign nationals. However, those claims can be asserted as a violation of due process under the Fifth Amendment, which “does not limit the category of individuals entitled to protection,” unlike the Fourth Amendment

Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about the challenges facing the US Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies along our international borders in her new book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.




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Judicial Watch Tackles Obama Czarism in SCOTUS Recess Appointment Case

Judicial Watch participated in a major victory for the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution – and Barack Obama received a humiliating setback in his ruthless, reckless efforts to “fundamentally transform” America by egregiously exceeding constitutional restraints on presidential power. The Supreme Court – in a stunning 9-0 vote – ruled that Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in bypassing the U.S. Senate to make a series of “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In November 2012, JW and the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) jointly filed an amici curiae brief in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (No. 12-1281) strongly opposing Obama’s illegal actions. We argued in the amici brief:

The President’s alleged Recess appointments to the NLRB are unconstitutional for the primary reason that the Senate was in session at the time of the purported appointments… The President’s declaration that these sessions were invalid disregards the Senate’s authority to determine and administer its own procedures, including when it will recess and how it will conduct its business.

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the position JW and AEF took and, in a rare push-back to Obama’s outrageous rule by executive fiat, declared: “the separation of powers can serve to safeguard individual liberty.” I issued a statement to the press immediately following the historic ruling applauding the decision, but at the same time issuing a solemn warning:

We applaud the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment that serves to remind this president that he is not king. President Obama, in his lawlessness, has been acting as the “catch me if you can president.” The Supreme Court, to its credit, finally caught and restrained Barack Obama’s lawlessness. Unfortunately, these recess appointments are one of many examples of this president acting outside of his constitutional authority.

On January 4, 2012, Obama recess-appointed three members to the NLRB despite the fact that the U.S. Senate was not in an official recess. Obama’s goal was clearly to pack the then under-staffed NLRB with leftists who shared his political agenda and give the board the quorum it previously lacked to conduct official business. He succeeded in his unilateral power grab to the extent that the NLRB, with its new liberal slant, ruled against a soft-drink bottling company, Noel Canning, saying it had engaged in an unfair labor practice by refusing to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.

Noel Canning fought back, taking its case to court. On July 17, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the NLRB lacked a quorum to decide the case because two of the three members on the board panel had received recess appointments in violation of the Constitution’s Recess Appointment Clause. At the time of the Canning decision, Obama’s press secretary arrogantly shrugged it off, declaring that it only applied to “one court, one case, one company.” Then, the Supreme Court accepted the government’s appeal. And now it applies to the entire country.

JW had been critical of Obama’s sleight-of-hand recess appointments from the get-go (as we have of the many unaccountable czars installed by the president). And on November 25, 2013, we officially registered our objections once again by jointly filing an amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court with our friends, the Allied Educational Fund (AEF).

Though previous presidents have made intrasession recess appointments “if they are of substantial length,” the Obama administration was the first to make such appointments during pro forma sessions of the Senate. As I said at the time we filed our amici brief, “Clearly these Obama’s recess appointments are unprecedented power grabs, which if left to stand will turn the constitutional separation of powers on its head.”

Fortunately, they were not left to stand. But, just think about what Obama’s illicit power grab has cost the American taxpayer in time and money. Not only has Obama administration dragged the case through the courts for the past two-and-one-half years, it has wreaked havoc on the NLRB. As the New York Times correctly pointed out:

The board issued 436 decisions during the 18 months when Mr. Obama’s improperly appointed employees worked there. Gregory J. King, a spokesman for the labor board, said there remained about 100 cases on hold in federal appeals courts awaiting a Supreme Court decision about the legitimacy of the recess appointees. In those cases, the appellants are challenging decisions from when the board had the contested appointees; they assert that the board did not have a legitimate quorum to issue those decisions. The great majority of those board decisions may be negated by Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.

Though all nine justices ruled against the president’s power grab, including his own two appointees, the liberal majority did not sufficiently curtail the potential for abuse by presidents of these recess appointments.  Justice Scalia agreed with the outcome, but wrote for a minority of justices (and in support of Judicial Watch’s contentions) that the majority’s reasoning did not go far enough to protect the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers from being undermined by rogue presidents such as Obama. The full opinions are well worth reading if you value the vision of the Founding Fathers and how that vision has been both furthered and undermined by succeeding generations. 

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley recently said of Obama’s reckless unilateralism, “I think he has crossed the constitutional line.” Just as we did in the Noel Canning case, JW will continue to reinforce that line in a massive educational and legal effort to keep this imperial president accountable to you and the law.




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