[VIDEO] Tacoma Police Shooting Homeowner Statement 

Debra Heine writes:

…Kristi Croskey owns the Tacoma, Washington, home where a domestic disturbance call resulted in a deadly police stand-off Wednesday. Tacoma police officer Reginald J. “Jake” Gutierrez was killed after being shot by a 38-year-old man — who was fatally shot by police hours later.

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“I don’t want to hear about Black Lives Matter, because all lives matter” Creskey said. “I do not want to hear about the police officers being inhumane and shooting people unnecessarily or any of those things. I want to say that the Tacoma Police Department handled this matter with such professionalism despite their own being shot. I want to say that this did not have to occur. I want to say that when you make poor choices, and the response is someone being killed, if that may be the situation — I want you to know that the Tacoma Police Department did any and everything that they could to protect and serve.
Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Can Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Save The World From Zika? 

Should we fear the GM mosquitoes? A look at several mosquito-modification projects and the political and cultural pushback they’re facing.

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UPDATE: The trial release in the Florida Keys was approved by public referendum, but the Keys Mosquito District now has to seek FDA approval.

 


New MDMA Trials Moving Forward To Test Ecstasy As Treatment For PTSD

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New research may have found a more efficient way of treating patients who suffer from PTSD: by using MDMA, which is ecstasy in its purest form. The assisted drug treatment could be approved by the FDA.

“The medicine allows them to look at things from a different place and reclassify them. Honestly, we don’t have to do much. Each person has an innate ability to heal. We just create the right conditions.” 

— Ann Mithoefer, psychiatric nurse

MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, will be employed in treating . The drug is also tested for its properties when it comes to treating terminally ill patients.

[Read the full story here, at Tech Times]

The tests conducted for possible  have had positive outcomes and researchers consider the approval of MDMA as a prescription drug sometime in the near future.

However, more tests should be carried out before this. The Food and Drug Administration already approved a Phase III trial as part of the procedure.

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MDMA – Possible Medical Solution To PTSD

The first two studies treated patients for 12 weeks, in the form of psychotherapy sessions and MDMA sessions. The MDMA sessions lasted eight hours each, during which the . After being given the drug, the patients would sit in a relaxing environment, surrounded by chill music, flowers and candles in order to suggest a calm state of mind to balance the euphoric effects of the drug. Read the rest of this entry »


Tacoma, Washington Police Officer Shot Dead; Suspect Killed After 12-Hour Standoff

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Tacoma police officer shot dead, barricaded suspect killed

This post has been updated.

Katie Mettler reports: After a nearly 12-hour standoff with multiple law enforcement agencies in Tacoma, Wash., a 38-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer Wednesday was killed by a single bullet from a SWAT team member early Thursday morning.

“We’ve suffered a great loss and I think the community has suffered a great loss. And I don’t know how to put that into words other than to say that everyone here appreciates the kind thoughts and the prayers that are going out to us.”

— police spokeswoman, Loretta Cool

The man, whose name has not been released, had barricaded himself inside a three-story home on the city’s east side late Wednesday afternoon after unleashing bullets on two Tacoma officers who had responded to the residence after reports of a verbal domestic dispute between two people.

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“They showed great patience and restraint to make sure those kids were out safe. The whole situation is horrible. We have a deceased officer, but we have a whole lot of heroic ones that went in and got those kids.”

The man’s wife and another woman were able to escape the gunfire Wednesday, reported the News Tribune, but local authorities did not say until after the suspect was killed that two young children remained inside the home throughout the extensive standoff.

The boy and the girl, believed to be aged 8 and 11, respectively, were rescued from the home by a SWAT team around 3:20 a.m. local time Thursday, and were taken to the hospital for an evaluation, authorities said.

Police knew all along that the two children were trapped inside with the gunman, but didn’t share that information with the public for “tactical reasons,” Pierce County sheriff’s detective Ed Troyer told The Washington Post.

“Our priority was to make sure those kids were safe,” Troyer said. “We weren’t going to let those children get hurt.”

Troyer couldn’t say exactly how authorities managed to pull the children to safety, but he told The Post that there were negotiators outside the home and law enforcement officers inside the home who “never left” for the duration of the standoff. The man, who was armed with multiple weapons, had barricaded himself and the two children in an upstairs bedroom and refused to let them go, Troyer said.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

The sheriff’s department SWAT team was able to rescue one of the children, Troyer said, then separate him from the second. Before he could reach his weapons, a SWAT officer fired a single, fatal round, and authorities were able to safely remove the children from the home. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cruz: A Dictator is Dead, But His Repressive Legacy Will Not Follow Him to the Grave

“Cuba’s longtime oppressive dictator Fidel Castro is dead. Let me be absolutely clear: We are not mourning the death of some revolutionary romantic, or a distinguished statesman.”

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“We’re not grieving for the protector of peace or a judicious steward of his people. Today we are thankful. We are thankful that a man who has imprisoned, and tortured, and degraded the lives of so many is no longer with us. He has departed for warmer climes.”

See more here.

 


The Great Recession Enabled ObamaCare. Now the Law’s Failure Makes Reform Possible

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The Four Legs of a New Health-Care System

James C. Carpetta and Scott Gottlieb write: Donald Trump announced this week that he had chosen Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), a leader in the efforts to replace ObamaCare, to be his secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a consequential choice. Mr. Trump’s election, and the political realignment it represents, offers a generational opportunity to pursue a new direction for American health care. Mr. Price will now be leading the charge.

The new system should be fully consumer driven, empowering individuals to be the surveyors and purchasers of their care. Past reforms in this direction became stilted and ultimately incomplete, but the current moment offers a chance to truly rebuild from the ground up. If Messrs. Trump and Price want to make the most of this short window, they should keep four central reforms in mind.

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1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans. There’s ample evidence that enrollment in insurance doesn’t always lead to improvements in health—but access to health insurance is important nonetheless. A 2012 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found higher insurance enrollment from reforms in Massachusetts led to better results in several measures of physical and mental health.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Health insurance is also important for financial security. The ObamaCare replacement should make it possible for all people to get health insurance that provides coverage for basic prevention, like vaccines, and expensive medical care that exceeds, perhaps, $5,000 for individuals.

Those Americans who don’t get health insurance through employers, or Medicare and Medicaid, should be eligible for a refundable tax credit that can be used to enroll in a health-insurance plan. The credit would be set at a level comparable to the tax benefits available to individuals with employer-sponsored insurance plans. The subsidy would be enough to make a basic level of catastrophic coverage easily affordable for all Americans.

2. Accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions. The price of insurance naturally reflects added risk. That’s why beach houses cost more to insure than a typical suburban home. Yet there is a reasonable social consensus that people should not be penalized financially for health problems that are largely outside of their control.

So as long as someone remains insured, he should be allowed to move from employer coverage to the individual market without facing exclusions or higher premiums based on his health status. If someone chooses voluntarily not to get coverage, state regulation could allow for an assessment of the risk when the person returns to the market. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cuba’s State-of-the-Art Universal Health Care Innovations

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Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV

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We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump.

Hossein Derakshan writes: If I say that social media aided Donald Trump’s election,
you might think of fake news on Facebook. But even if Facebook fixes the algorithms that elevate phony stories, there’s something else going on: social media represents the ultimate ascendance of television over other media.

I’ve been warning about this since November 2014, when I was freed from six years of incarceration in Tehran, a punishment I received for my online activism in Iran. Before I went to prison, I blogged frequently on what I now call the open Web: it was
decentralized, text-centered, and abundant with 51kxbo1vo8l-_sl250_hyperlinks to source material and rich background. It nurtured varying opinions. It was related to the world of books.

[Order Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” from Amazon.com]

Then for six years I got disconnected; when I left prison and came back online, I was confronted by a brave new world. Facebook and Twitter had replaced blogging and had made the Internet like TV: centralized and image-centered, with content embedded in pictures, without links.

[Read the full story here, at technologyreview.com]

Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”

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Neil Postman provided some clues about this in his illuminating 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show BusinessThe media scholar at New York University saw then how television transformed public discourse into an exchange of volatile emotions that are usually mistaken by pollsters as opinion. One of the scariest outcomes of this transition, Postman wrote, is that television essentially turns all news into disinformation. “Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing … The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” (Emphasis added.) And, Postman argued, when news is constructed as a form of entertainment, it inevitably loses its function for a healthy democracy. “I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?” Read the rest of this entry »


San Francisco Theater Evacuated After Reports of Gunman 

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Authorities received a 911 call Tuesday night of a person possibly armed with a handgun inside a movie theater at the Metreon shopping center. No injuries were reported.

San Francisco police says a man is in custody and a handgun has been recovered from inside a movie theater that was evacuated after officials received reports of a possible gunman. No injuries were reported.

“Witness Jeff Wincek tells the San Francisco Chronicle that though the theater was dark, he saw the glint of a gun barrel as the man waved the handgun. He says the man stayed seated while others ran out of the theater.”

San Francisco Police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan says authorities received a 911 call Tuesday night of a person possibly armed with a handgun inside a movie theater at the Metreon shopping center.

She says officers responded to the shopping center in downtown San Francisco and evacuated one of the theaters “in an abundance of caution.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] American University Students Prefer Castro Over Trump, ‘Made Endless Possibilities for the Cuban People’

Justin Holcomb reports: Some students at American University would prefer Fidel Castro over President-elect Donald Trump and were not afraid to let their voice be heard on at the liberal elite school.

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Fidel Castro’s firing squad, fatally enforcing long-term favorability

“I mean, right now I don’t think Donald Trump is very good, and I know that Fidel Castro has done some good things for the world so I’d say he’s proven himself at least in the long term to be more favorable.”

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Raud Castro, preparing a Cuban citizen for a personal introduction to Marxist utopia

“I mean, right now I don’t think Donald Trump is very good, and I know that Fidel Castro has done some good things for the world so I’d say he’s proven himself at least in the long term to be more favorable,” one student said…(read more)

Revolutionary communist leader Fidel Castro, displaying his instrument for enforcing endless possibilities.

Social justice warrior Fidel Castro, displaying his instrument for enforcing endless possibilities.

American University students. Risk of being shot by Trump firing squad: 0%

American University students. Risk of being shot by Trump firing squad: 0%

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Thomas Sowell Brings the World into Focus through an Economics Lens

In this episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews Hoover fellow and author Thomas Sowell, on 31daawos9cl-_sl250_his 5th edition of Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy.

[Order Thomas Sowell’s book “Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy” from Amazon.com]

In this interview, Sowell brings the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Sowell draws on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history.

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Fidel Castro Health Update

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Donald Trump Chooses Tom Price as Health Secretary

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Price has led efforts to craft a GOP alternative to the spectacularly unpopular Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON— Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas report: President-elect Donald Trump has chosen House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.) as his nominee for secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, according to a transition team adviser, putting the six-term congressman in charge of the sprawling agency that will likely dismantle Democrats’ 2010 health-care overhaul.

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care. The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

Mr. Price, a 62-year-old former orthopedic surgeon, is one of several GOP physicians who sought to carve out a leading role in shaping the party’s health policy and, in particular, the party’s alternative vision to Democrats’ Affordable Care Act. Much of his criticism of the law has centered on the authority it gives to the federal government, and to the agency that he may now head.

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“There’s a genuine desire to have us coalesce around a single plan so that the American people can see who’s trying to solve these challenges. I wouldn’t draw any lines in the sand other than that the path that we’re on doesn’t work.”

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” he said in an interview this summer. “The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

He has championed his own legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act, since 2009, taking a position on a number of hot-button issues for conservative health policy thinkers. In its latest iteration, the proposal includes refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for people to buy insurance if they don’t have access to coverage through an employer or government program. People in a government program, such as Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, would also be allowed to opt out of it and get tax credits toward the cost of private coverage instead.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Mr. Price had previously included tax deductions in his plans, a tool typically favored by harder-line conservative health policy thinkers, but said he had “moved towards credits because we felt it was cleaner.”

The plan offers a one-time credit aimed at boosting health savings accounts, long described by supporters as a way of bringing down medical spending, and derives part of its funding from capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health care before being taxed. The plan seeks to make health insurance available to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions by helping states set up new “high-risk” pools or other programs for such enrollees, and sets new rules allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines.

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

But Mr. Price, whose rise in the congressional ranks began at the conservative Republican Study Committee and then steadily climbed, has already said he is open to compromise with fellow GOP lawmakers on many points. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Why is Everything in China Falling Apart?

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[VIDEO] Ralph Peters: ‘Trudeau Has the Intellectual Heft of Cotton Candy’ 

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ICYMI: 50,000 Somalis Settled in the United States Under Obama

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Paul Bedard reports: The Obama administration resettled 9,000 Somali refugees in the United States in 2014, and a total of 50,000 during Obama’s eight years, a huge number that is now raising concerns after a Somali refugee led a one-man attack spree on the campus of Ohio State.

“We have no way of vetting people from any of the failed states of the Islamic world, whether Somalia or Libya or Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq.”

Like Syrian refugees, there is no adequate way to check the backgrounds of the Somalis, according to the head of the Center for Immigration Studies.

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In a review of the numbers he reissued after Monday’s attack, CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian said:

“We have no way of vetting people from any of the failed states of the Islamic world, whether Somalia or Libya or Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cuban-Americans Humiliated By Obama’s Comments on Castro’s Death 

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Michael J. Totten: A Visit to the Dystopian Havana that Tourists Never See

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Michael J. Totten continues:

…I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, as in Elysium, a small group of economic and political elites live in a rarefied world high above the impoverished masses. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The 51cayyoticl-_sl250_Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force

[Order Cuban exile Humberto Fontova’s bookExposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him” from Amazon.com

Many tourists return home convinced that the Cuban model succeeds where the Soviet model failed. But that’s because they never left Cuba’s Elysium.

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“Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic.”

had to lie to get into the country. Customs and immigration officials at Havana’s tiny, dreary José Martí International Airport would have evicted me had they known I was a journalist. But not even a total-surveillance police state can keep track of everything and everyone all the time, so I slipped through. It felt like a victory. Havana, the capital, is clean and safe, but there’s nothing to buy.

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

It feels less natural and organic than any city I’ve ever visited. Initially, I found Havana pleasant, partly because I wasn’t supposed to be there and partly because I felt as though I had journeyed backward in time. But the city wasn’t pleasant for long, and it certainly isn’t pleasant for the people living there. It hasn’t been so for decades.

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“The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is ‘socialism or death.'”

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

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“Communism destroyed Cuba’s prosperity, but the country experienced unprecedented pain and deprivation when Moscow cut off its subsidies after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Marxists have ruled Cuba for more than a half-century now. Fidel Castro, Argentine guerrilla 51sbtklpshl-_sl250_Che Guevara, and their 26th of July Movement forced Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 and replaced his standard-issue authoritarian regime with a Communist one.

[Order Humberto Fontova’s book The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro” from Amazon.com

The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.”

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“Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force.”

Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it—and the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite. “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution,” wrote Alfred Cuzan, a professor of political science at the University of West Florida, “Cuba’s wealth before 1959 was not the purview of a privileged few. . . . Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. “More Americans lived in Cuba prior to Castro than Cubans lived in the United States,” Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, author of a series of books about Castro and Guevara, tells me.

[Read the full text here, at City Journal]

“This was at a time when Cubans were perfectly free to leave the country with all their property. In the 1940s and 1950s, my parents could get a visa for the United States just by asking. They visited the United States and voluntarily returned to Cuba. More Cubans vacationed in the U.S. in 1955 than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Americans considered Cuba a tourist playground, but even more Cubans considered the U.S. a tourist playground.” Havana was home to a lot of that prosperity, as is evident in the extraordinary classical European architecture that still fills the city. Poor nations do not—cannot—build such grand or elegant cities.

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“Between 1960 and 1976, Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”

But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”

“By the 1990s, Cuba needed economic reform as much as a gunshot victim needs an ambulance. Castro wasn’t about to reform himself and his ideology out of existence, but he had to open up at least a small piece of the country to the global economy. “

Communism destroyed Cuba’s prosperity, but the country experienced unprecedented pain and deprivation when Moscow cut off its subsidies after the fall of the Soviet Union. Journalist and 51pumxdqs8l-_sl250_longtime Cuba resident Mark Frank writes vividly about this period in his book Cuban Revelations.

[Order Mark Frank’s bookCuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana” from Amazon.com]

“The lights were off more than they were on, and so too was the water. . . . Food was scarce and other consumer goods almost nonexistent. . . . Doctors set broken bones without anesthesia. . . . Worm dung was the only fertilizer.” He quotes a nurse who tells him that Cubans “used to make hamburgers out of grapefruit rinds and banana peels; we cleaned with lime and bitter orange and used the black powder in batteries for hair dye and makeup.” “It was a haunting time,” Frank wrote, “that still sends shivers down Cubans’ collective spines.”

By the 1990s, Cuba needed economic reform as much as a gunshot victim needs an ambulance. Read the rest of this entry »