Rediscovering Criticism and Sobriety After 8 Years of Drunken Praise and Blind Hero Worship, Journalists Feel Insulted and Bitterly Scorn Obama’s Final 2016 News Conference.
Natalie Johnson writes: President Obama delivered a longwinded lecture to the press on Friday about its “unfair” treatment of Hillary Clinton during the campaign, drawing ire from mainstream journalists.
“Journalists from outlets including the Huffington Post, MSNBC, and CNN took to Twitter to sound off their frustration with the president’s last speech of the year.”
The president, who was delivering his final 2016 news conference, implied the media’s “obsession” with Clinton’s leaked emails did more damage to the former secretary of state than the Russian cyber attacks against Democratic political networks.
“This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage,” Obama said. “So I do think it is worth us reflecting how it is that a presidential election of such importance, of such moment, with so many big issues at stake and such a contrast between the candidates came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks.”
Obama also spent much of the press conference defending his foreign policy legacy. He spoke at length about the decaying situation in Syria, conceding that while he felt personally responsible for some of the bloodshed, he still believes he did all that he could. Read the rest of this entry »
Fr. Marcel Guarnizo writes: With each passing news day, the scandal deepens around Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized removal of U.S. secrets during her tenure as Secretary of State.
The process of this unauthorized extraction of U.S. secrets by Mrs. Clinton makes one thing impossibly clear. This conspiracy was anything but convenient to Mrs. Clinton. Contrary to what she disingenuously claimed, convenience was most definitely not the reason for her actions. To remove Top Secret information and hundreds of other classified documents from the government’s care, she had to risk jail and even get others to collude in this process.
For nearly eight months, I observe that the most important question is still not being asked of Hillary Clinton and her partisans. Why was Clinton doing this?
As anyone knows it is impossible for Hillary Clinton to end up with a colossal stash of U.S. national secrets on her personal server by accident. She could not simply email herself most of this information. She had to engage others to do that which put them at obvious risk of breaking the espionage act and ending up in jail. It is absurd that the F.B.I. director Comey and several pundits continue to give her a pass on the absolutely bogus and irrational excuse that it was all done for the sake of convenience.
The real question is why was Hillary Clinton doing this? Here is one theory. She was trafficking in U.S. National Security secrets for personal gain, money. She was also making this information available to Bill Clinton and the Clinton foundation people. Their information being extremely valuable to intelligence services and private corporations was being rewarded through contributions to the Clinton foundation. The Clinton foundation essentially was being used to launder payments for influence and information under the guise of a legitimate charitable purpose.
The Clinton National Security Scandal is a more accurate name for what is occurring than the cynical euphemism, “ The Clinton E-mail scandal.” E-mail scandals are a dime a dozen.
Her unprecedented actions are materially no different than the actions of any person (formally charged for espionage), who provides or makes available secrets of the highest caliber to a host of “contributors”.
It matters little, that someone trafficking in U.S. secrets may not have been enlisted formally by a foreign government. Trafficking in U.S. National security secrets is exactly what these notorious spies were doing and in this regard it is becoming apparently clear, that Clinton’s actions are really all that any mole or spy would have to do to sell or profit from revealing U.S. secrets.
Allegedly the Clinton breach also contained names of our human assets and their methods, endangering thus their lives and indeed making available by her actions the most coveted information sought by foreign intelligence services.
Selling Secretes in the Age of Cyber Space
From a philosophical point of view, the essence of spying and treason (trafficking in U.S. National Security secrets), requires that fundamentally two necessary actions take place:
1. The spy or traitor has to accomplish the removal in an unauthorized manner of sensitive information, classified information, or, even graver, top secret information, from its rightful owner, namely the U.S. government. Indeed Clinton had authority to read the information, she had access. But she certainly did not have the authority to remove top secret information and put it on an unsecured server. Or allow others not authorized, access to U.S. National secrets.
Stealing information, or removing the information from its proper owner (The U.S. government) without proper authorization is half of the operation required for a mole to betray secrets.
Most information mercenaries and spies have licit access to the information, but they certainly do not have permission to remove it or make it their own and certainly they are not allowed to put it on an unsecured servers where the enemies of America can come and collect the information. Read the rest of this entry »
Smith was a hugely influential Scottish political economist and philosopher, best known for his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’.
Adam Smith’s exact date of birth is unknown, but he was baptised on 5 June 1723. His father, a customs officer in Kirkcaldy, died before he was born. He studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. He returned to Kircaldy in 1746 and two years later he was asked to give a series of public lectures in Edinburgh, which established his reputation.
In 1751, Smith was appointed professor of logic at Glasgow University and a year later professor of moral philosophy. He became part of a brilliant intellectual circle that included David Hume, John Home, Lord Hailes and William Robertson.
In 1764, Smith left Glasgow to travel on the Continent as a tutor to Henry, the future Duke of Buccleuch. While travelling, Smith met a number of leading European intellectuals including Voltaire, Rousseau and Quesnay.
In 1776, Smith moved to London. He published a volume which he intended to be the first part of a complete
theory of society, covering theology, ethics, politics and law. This volume, ‘Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations‘, was the first major work of political economy. Smith argued forcefully against the regulation of commerce and trade, and wrote that if people were set free to better themselves, it would produce economic prosperity for all. Read the rest of this entry »
The fence around the White House could undergo a dramatic change with a proposal to double its height and deter jumpers from reaching its grounds.
The proposal, from the U.S. Secret Service and the National Park Service, would heighten the fence from about seven feet to nearly 14 feet. Nicole Mainor, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said plans include installing a new fence that promises to be “tougher, taller and stronger.”
The initial reaction from the Fine Arts Commission was that members were pleased with the proposal but want to look at the design, the street view and the historical context, said Thomas E. Luebke, secretary of the Fine Arts Commission.
“It would be a big change in scale, for sure,” he said. “It practically doubles the size. The big question is, how will it look?’ You have to consider how far can you push security and have it look good.”
A proposal from the U.S. Secret Service and the National Park Service would nearly double the height of the White House fence. (Mills+Schnoering Architects)
Officials stressed that any changes are far off and construction would not likely start until 2018. No decisions are expected until summer or early fall.
The proposal also calls for putting security sensors along parts of the new fence and increasing the height of the gate where vehicles enter the White House grounds from 8 feet to about 13 feet. Read the rest of this entry »
The official declaration was signed by 59 delegates, and five copies of the document were distributed to the Texas towns of Bexar, Brazoria, Goliad, Nacogdoches, and San Felipe. Read the rest of this entry »
“There is a self-hatred in the West that can be considered only as something pathological. The West attempts in a praiseworthy manner to open itself completely to the comprehension of external values, but it no longer loves itself; it now only sees what is despicable and destructive in its own history, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure there.”
WCRW is just one of a growing number of stations across the world through which Beijing is broadcasting China-friendly news and programming.
BEIJING/WASHINGTON – In August, foreign ministers from 10 nations blasted China for building artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. As media around the world covered the diplomatic clash, a radio station that serves the most powerful city in America had a distinctive take on the news.
Located outside Washington, D.C., WCRW radio made no mention of China’s provocative island project. Instead, an analyst explained that tensions in the region were due to unnamed “external forces” trying “to insert themselves into this part of the world using false claims.”
Behind WCRW’s coverage is a fact that’s never broadcast: The Chinese government controls much of what airs on the station, which can be heard on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
WCRW is just one of a growing number of stations across the world through which Beijing is broadcasting China-friendly news and programming.
A Reuters investigation spanning four continents has identified at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries that are part of a global radio web structured in a way that obscures its majority shareholder: state-run China Radio International, or CRI.
Many of these stations primarily broadcast content created or supplied by CRI or by media companies it controls in the United States, Australia and Europe. Three Chinese expatriate businessmen, who are CRI’s local partners, run the companies and in some cases own a stake in the stations. The network reaches from Finland to Nepal to Australia, and from Philadelphia to San Francisco.
At WCRW, Beijing holds a direct financial interest in the Washington station’s broadcasts. Corporate records in the United States and China show a Beijing-based subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned radio broadcaster owns 60 percent of an American company that leases almost all of the station’s airtime.
China has a number of state-run media properties, such as the Xinhua news agency, that are well-known around the world. But American officials charged with monitoring foreign media ownership and propaganda said they were unaware of the Chinese-controlled radio operation inside the United States until contacted by Reuters. A half-dozen former senior U.S. officials said federal authorities should investigate whether the arrangement violates laws governing foreign media and agents in the United States.
A U.S. law enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibits foreign governments or their representatives from holding a radio license for a U.S. broadcast station. Under the Communications Act, foreign individuals, governments and corporations are permitted to hold up to 20 percent ownership directly in a station and up to 25 percent in the U.S. parent corporation of a station.
CRI itself doesn’t hold ownership stakes in U.S. stations, but it does have a majority share via a subsidiary in the company that leases WCRW in Washington and a Philadelphia station with a similarly high-powered signal. Read the rest of this entry »
May 16, 2014, George F. Will writes: Standing on his presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson, campaigning in Providence, R.I., in September 1964, bellowed through a bullhorn: “We’re in favor of a lot of things and we’re against mighty few.” This was a synopsis of what he had said four months earlier.
“In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.”
Fifty years ago this Thursday, at the University of Michigan, Johnson had proposed legislating into existence a Great Society. It would end poverty and racial injustice, “but that is just the beginning.” It would “rebuild the entire urban United States” while fending off “boredom and restlessness,” slaking “the hunger for community” and enhancing “the meaning of our lives” — all by assembling “the best thought and the broadest knowledge.”
In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.
When Johnson became president in 1963, Social Security was America’s only nationwide social program. His programs and those they subsequently legitimated put the nation on the path to the present, in which changed social norms — dependency on government has been destigmatized — have changed America’s national character.
Between 1959 and 1966 — before the War on Poverty was implemented — the percentage of Americans living in poverty plunged by about one-third, from 22.4 to 14.7, slightly lower than in 2012. But, Eberstadt cautions, the poverty rate is “incorrigibly misleading” because government transfer payments have made income levels and consumption levels significantly different. Read the rest of this entry »
Henry Kissinger long ago recognized the problem: a talented vote-getter, surrounded by lawyers, who is overly risk-averse.
Niall Ferguson writes: Even before becoming Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissingerunderstood how hard it was to make foreign policy in Washington. There “is no such thing as an American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in 1968. There is only “a series of moves that have produced a certain result” that they “may not have been planned to produce.” It is “research and intelligence organizations,” he added, that “attempt to give a rationality and consistency” which “it simply does not have.”
“It is clear that the president’s strategy is failing disastrously. Since 2010, total fatalities from armed conflict in the world have increased by a factor of close to four, according to data from the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Total fatalities due to terrorism have risen nearly sixfold…”
Two distinctively American pathologies explained the fundamental absence of coherent strategic thinking. First, the person at the top was selected for other skills. “The typical political leader of the contemporary managerial society,” noted Mr. Kissinger, “is a man with a strong will, a high capacity to get himself elected, but no very great conception of what he is going to do when he gets into office.”
Second, the government was full of people trained as lawyers. In making foreign policy, Mr. Kissinger once remarked, “you have to know what history is relevant.” But lawyers were “the single most important group in Government,” he said, and their principal drawback was “a deficiency in history.” This was a long-standing prejudice of his. “The clever lawyers who run our government,” he thundered in a 1956 letter to a friend, have weakened the nation by instilling a “quest for minimum risk which is our most outstanding characteristic.”
“Nearly all this violence is concentrated in a swath of territory stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And there is every reason to expect the violence to escalate as the Sunni powers of the region seek to prevent Iran from establishing itself as the post-American hegemony.”
Let’s see, now. A great campaigner. A bunch of lawyers. And a “quest for minimum risk.” What is it about this combination that sounds familiar?
I have spent much of the past seven years trying to work out what Barack Obama’s strategy for the United States truly is. For much of his presidency, as a distinguished general once remarked to me about the commander in chief’s strategy, “we had to infer it from speeches.”
“Today the U.S. faces three strategic challenges: the maelstrom in the Muslim world, the machinations of a weak but ruthless Russia, and the ambition of a still-growing China. The president’s responses to all three look woefully inadequate.”
At first, I assumed that the strategy was simply not to be like his predecessor—an approach that was not altogether unreasonable, given the errors of the Bush administration in Iraq and the resulting public disillusionment. I read Mr. Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech—with its Quran quotes and its promise of “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”—as simply the manifesto of the Anti-Bush.
“Those who know the Obama White House’s inner workings wonder why this president, who came into office with next to no experience of foreign policy, has made so little effort to hire strategic expertise.”
But what that meant in practice was not entirely clear. Precipitate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, but a time-limited surge in Afghanistan. A “reset” with Russia, but seeming indifference to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome back! The last time you were stateside—at the Sunnylands estate in California a couple of years ago—you seemed to be at the top of your game. China’s GDP was about to overtake America’s. You were cracking down on corruption, liberalizing markets, setting the pace for what you called “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Upper East Siders competed to place their toddlers in Mandarin immersion programs. Newspaper columnists fantasized about the U.S. becoming “China for one day.”
Now your stock market has fizzled, your economy is sinking under the weight of unsustainable debts and zombie companies, your neighbors despise you, and every affluent Chinese is getting a second passport and snapping up a foreign home. Even in Beijing, word is out that behind that enigmatic smile you’re a man overmatched by your job. And out of your depth.
Maybe you’re even thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to be America for one day?
Yes, America, perhaps the only country on earth that can be serially led by second- or third-rate presidents—and somehow always manage to come up trumps (so to speak). America, where half of the college-age population can’t find New York state on a map—even as those same young Americans lead the world in innovation. America, where Cornel West is celebrated as an intellectual, Miley Cyrus as an artist, Jonathan Franzen as a novelist and Kim Kardashian as a beauty—and yet remains the cultural dynamo of the world.
America, in short, which defies every ethic of excellence—all the discipline and cunning and delicacy and Confucian wisdom that are the ways by which status and power are gained in China—yet manages to produce excellence the way a salmon spawns eggs. Naturally. By way of a deeper form of knowing. Read the rest of this entry »
“Only a truly exceptional and powerful economic system would be capable of producing so many limited-edition and holiday-themed flavors of a single cookie brand, such as these extraordinary Key Lime Pie Oreos and Candy Corn Oreos. This is not a force of global impoverishment at all, but one of endless enrichment.”
WASHINGTON—Admitting the startling discovery had compelled him to reexamine his long-held beliefs, His Holiness Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he had reversed his critical stance toward capitalism after seeing the immense variety of Oreos available in the United States.
“Oh, my goodness, look at all these! Golden Oreos, Cookie Dough Oreos, Mega Stuf Oreos, Birthday Cake Oreos—perhaps the system of free enterprise is not as terrible as I once feared,” said the visibly awed bishop of Rome while visiting a Washington, D.C. supermarket, adding that the sheer diversity of flavors, various colors and quantities of creme filling, and presence or absence of an outer fudge layer had led to a profound philosophical shift in his feelings toward the global economy and opened his eyes to the remarkable capabilities of the free market….(read more)
UPDATE: Active shooter situation is over, per Chattanooga Police. TEMA confirms 5 people are dead, including 4 Marines and gunman, and 2 wounded in shooting at Military Recruitment Center. CBS reports that law enforcement have identified the suspect as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez…
An court affidavit released Friday says the suspect in the slayings of a northwest D.C. family and their housekeeper was not alone in carrying out the murders
The document says Daron Dylon Wint and “others” were involved in the murders of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper, according to MyFoxDC.
The news comes as Wint awaits a court arraignment on Friday afternoon after leading cops on a massive manhunt.
“Wint is accused of storming a Washington mansion…he allegedly held the family while ordering them to summon a courier with $40,000, then killed all four, dousing them with gasoline before setting the home on fire.”
The multi-state search for the suspect in the horrific murders of a Washington businessman’s family and their housekeeper ended late Thursday when police grabbed suspect Daron Dylon Wint and four associates in the nation’s capital.
The arrest capped a day that began with the revelation Wint had been identified in last week’s murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47; the couple’s 10-year-old son Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, by DNA left on pizza crust during what may have been an extended home invasion. Police traced Wint, a 34-year-old ex-con from Maryland, to Brooklyn, N.Y., and then back to Washington in the afternoon.
“Sources told WTTG that Savvos and Amy Savopoulos, as well as Veralicia Figueroa, were found in chairs and doused with gasoline. Philip Savopoulos was found in his bed, covered in lacerations and burned beyond recognition.”
Federal marshals had been tracking Wint Thursday night from College Park as he traveled in a white Chevrolet Cruze occupied by two unidentified women, police said. The car was following a white box truck, reportedly driven by Wint’s brother and with another man inside. Both vehicles were stopped by marshals near 10th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, the official said. Police found at least $10,000 in cash in the box truck, and all of the occupants were taken into custody, according to police.
“The arrest capped a day that began with the revelation Wint had been identified in last week’s murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife Amy, 47; the couple’s 10-year-old son Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, by DNA left on pizza crust during what may have been an extended home invasion.”
Wint is accused of storming a Washington mansion near Vice President Biden’s residence and owned by Savopoulos, the CEO of an iron works company. There, he allegedly held the family while ordering them to summon a courier with $40,000, then killed all four, dousing them with gasoline before setting the home on fire.
The four were found dead in the Savolpoulos family’s burning home in a wealthy Northwest Washington neighborhood on the afternoon of May 14.
No other suspects have been identified, but police have not ruled out the possibility that other people were involved in the murders.
“While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city. We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us.”
— Savopoulos family statement
Wint is expected to make his initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court Friday afternoon, according to the Washington Post.
Following Wint’s capture, the Savopoulos family released a statement, saying, “We are thankful to law enforcement who have worked so diligently to bring about an arrest in this case.”
“During the family’s final hours, someone called Domino’s from their house and ordered pizza. The Washington Post reported that the DNA was found on a pizza crust. At a Domino’s about 2 miles away, a worker told the AP that a pizza was delivered from there to the mansion that day.”
“While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city. We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us,” the statement said. “Our family, and Vera’s family, have suffered unimaginable loss, and we ask for the time and space to grieve privately.”
Authorities said Thursday that Wint, a certified welder, worked for Savopoulos’ company American Iron Works in the past. Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier based in Hyattsville, Maryland, that has been involved in major projects in downtown Washington. Read the rest of this entry »
Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court records show.
“I sprained my ankle real bad lol.”
— Dominique Sharpton, on Instagram
Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was “severely injured, bruised and wounded” when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit.
Currently on vacation in Bali, the membership director for her gadfly dad’s National Action Network claims she “still suffers and will continue to suffer for some time physical pain and bodily injuries,” according to the suit filed against the city departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.
Daily Caller‘s brilliant headline – article by Derek Hunter
“I sprained my ankle real bad lol,” she wrote in a post to Instagram after the Oct. 2 fall.
She was pictured in a walking boot in the weeks following the tumble, but by December, Dominique was good to go for NAN’s Justice for All march in Washington, DC, and for a New Year’s Eve jaunt to Miami Beach.
And despite claiming “permanent physical pain” in a breathless notice of claim, there are social-media shots of her in high heels, and another of her climbing a ladder to decorate a Christmas tree.
The legal shakedown is right out of her dad’s pay-to-playbook.
The corner of Broome Street and Broadway where Dominique Sharpton fell and sprained her ankle. Photo: Helayne Seidman
Al Sharpton has used threats of protests and boycotts against large companies as a way to generate huge corporate donations, his critics charge.
Everyone from McDonald’s, Verizon, Macy’s, General Motors, Chrysler and Pfizer have forked over cash to the elder Sharpton.
The Rev on Saturday said he didn’t know the status of his daughter’s legal claim. “She’s 29 years old. Why would she have to talk to me about that?” he said of Dominique, whose mother is Sharpton’s ex-wife, Kathy. “I just know that she was hurt and that she got a lawyer and she’s a grown woman. [Where] she goes from there, I have no idea.” Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s transcript of the relevant part of his answer:
Everytown is committed to an evidence-based approach. We speak with criminologists, legislators across the country and we welcome debate. In fact, we’re thrilled that there is an increased amount of research in this area, and an increased amount of conversation about what laws are effective to keeping guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers. So, when there’s a credible scientist — somebody who wants to have a real constructive conversation about this — we’re going to be there. But folks who seek to minimize the grave issue of gun violence in this country – or to draw attention away from the real issues to themselves – that’s not a conversation I think it’s productive to be a part of.
Obviously, the speaker is doing little more than begging the question. “Sure we’ll talk to people who disagree” he appears to be saying, “but only if they agree. Because to disagree with the claims that we are making is to take attention away from the claims that we are making, which are true by virtue of their having been made.”
Oddly enough, this is also exactly how critics of, say, Christina Hoff Sommerstend to explain away their unwillingness to engage. Read the rest of this entry »
Gary Buiso reports: The “bomb guru” for the terrorist group the Weather Underground never served a day in jail — but he did spend decades teaching in New York City classrooms, a new book reveals.
Ronald Fliegelman built explosives for the Weather Underground, a far-left group that launched a domestic bombing campaign in the 1960s and ’70s, including one explosion inside NYPD headquarters.
“When you’re young and you’re confident, you can do anything. So, yeah, you play with it, and try to build something. The timer is the whole thing, right? It’s just electricity going into the blasting cap.”
— Ronald Fliegelman
But when the group dissolved, Fliegelman managed to safely fade away into the square life. For 25 years, he worked as a public special-education teacher, retiring to a quiet life in Park Slope, Brooklyn, according to “Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence” (Penguin Press).
And he’s unapologetic about his past, according to author Bryan Burrough.
The scene where a Weather Underground bomb exploded prematurely in Greenwich Village.Photo: AP
“Ron is proud of what he did,” he told The Post.
The Weather Underground first organized in 1969 as a splinter of the Revolutionary Youth Movement within the ’60s protest group Students for a Democratic Society.
“Without him, there would be no Weather Underground.”
– Brian Flanagan — Former Weatherman
Their members were mostly white and middle class, advocating the complete overthrow of the US government.
Under the leadership of co-founder Bill Ayers — who went on to become a University of Illinois professor whose political relationship with then-candidate Barack Obama was scrutinized during the 2008 presidential campaign — the group also pushed for a sexual revolution.
“Their slogan? ‘Smash monogamy’.”
To achieve their goals, the militant group — popularly known as the Weathermen, derived from the Bob Dylan lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” — embarked on a years-long bombing campaign, targeting places it considered pillars of US imperialism, capitalism, racism and anything contrary to their “ism” of choice: communism.
To protest the US invasion of Laos, for example, they bombed the Capitol Building in 1971. That same year, they targeted the headquarters of the state Department of Corrections in Albany for the deaths of 29 inmates during the Attica prison riot. They even busted LSD guru Dr. Timothy Leary out of a California jail and helped smuggle him to Algeria in 1970 — the same year they issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States.
“We believed Third World countries would rise up and cause crises that would bring down the industrialized West, and we believed it was going to happen tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow,” a former Weatherman tells Burrough.
“The myth, and this is always Bill Ayers’ line, is that Weather never set out to kill people, and it’s not true — we did,” group member Howie Machtinger tells Burrough. “You know, policemen were fair game.”
Despite the tough talk, the group was already in crisis not long after its formation.
On March 6, 1970, a bomb exploded prematurely inside a town house at 18 W. 11th St. in Greenwich Village. Three Weathermen were killed — the two building the bomb, Terry Robbins and Diana Oughton, and another, Ted Gold, who was entering the building.
If the Weathermen were going to wage a war, they needed to do so without killing their own members, Burrough notes.
“No one knew what to do. I gave a thought to giving up, and I had a gun pulled on me and was told I was not leaving,” recalls Fliegelman. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Pollan writes: On an April Monday in 2010, Patrick Mettes, a fifty-four-year-old television news director being treated for a cancer of the bile ducts, read an article on the front page of the Times that would change his death. His diagnosis had come three years earlier, shortly after his wife, Lisa, noticed that the whites of his eyes had turned yellow. By 2010, the cancer had spread to Patrick’s lungs and he was buckling under the weight of a debilitating chemotherapy regimen and the growing fear that he might not survive. The article, headlined “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning in Again,” mentioned clinical trials at several universities, including N.Y.U., in which psilocybin—the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms—was being administered to cancer patients in an effort to relieve their anxiety and “existential distress.” One of the researchers was quoted as saying that, under the influence of the hallucinogen, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance.” Patrick had never taken a psychedelic drug, but he immediately wanted to volunteer. Lisa was against the idea. “I didn’t want there to be an easy way out,” she recently told me. “I wanted him to fight.”
“I felt a little like an archeologist unearthing a completely buried body of knowledge. Some of the best minds in psychiatry had seriously studied these compounds in therapeutic models, with government funding.”
— Anthony Bossis
Patrick made the call anyway and, after filling out some forms and answering a long list of questions, was accepted into the trial. Since hallucinogens can sometimes bring to the surface latent psychological problems, researchers try to weed out volunteers at high risk by asking questions about drug use and whether there is a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. After the screening, Mettes was assigned to a therapist named Anthony Bossis, a bearded, bearish psychologist in his mid-fifties, with a specialty in palliative care. Bossis is a co-principal investigator for the N.Y.U. trial.
After four meetings with Bossis, Mettes was scheduled for two dosings—one of them an “active” placebo (in this case, a high dose of niacin, which can produce a tingling sensation), and the other a pill containing the psilocybin. Both sessions, Mettes was told, would take place in a room decorated to look more like a living room than like a medical office, with a comfortable couch, landscape paintings on the wall, and, on the shelves, books of art and mythology, along with various aboriginal and spiritual tchotchkes, including a Buddha and a glazed ceramic mushroom. During each session, which would last the better part of a day, Mettes would lie on the couch wearing an eye mask and listening through headphones to a carefully curated playlist—Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Pat Metheny, Ravi Shankar. Bossis and a second therapist would be there throughout, saying little but being available to help should he run into any trouble.
“I thought the first ten or twenty people were plants—that they must be faking it. They were saying things like ‘I understand love is the most powerful force on the planet,’ or ‘I had an encounter with my cancer, this black cloud of smoke.’ People who had been palpably scared of death—they lost their fear. The fact that a drug given once can have such an effect for so long is an unprecedented finding. We have never had anything like it in the psychiatric field.”
I met Bossis last year in the N.Y.U. treatment room, along with his colleague Stephen Ross, an associate professor of psychiatry at N.Y.U.’s medical school, who directs the ongoing psilocybin trials. Ross, who is in his forties, was dressed in a suit and could pass for a banker. He is also the director of the substance-abuse division at Bellevue, and he told me that he had known little about psychedelics—drugs that produce radical changes in consciousness, including hallucinations—until a colleague happened to mention that, in the nineteen-sixties, LSD had been used successfully to treat alcoholics. Ross did some research and was astounded at what he found.
“I felt a little like an archeologist unearthing a completely buried body of knowledge,” he said. Beginning in the nineteen-fifties, psychedelics had been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including alcoholism and end-of-life anxiety. The American Psychiatric Association held meetings centered on LSD. “Some of the best minds in psychiatry had seriously studied these compounds in therapeutic models, with government funding,” Ross said.
Between 1953 and 1973, the federal government spent four million dollars to fund a hundred and sixteen studies of LSD, involving more than seventeen hundred subjects. (These figures don’t include classified research.) Through the mid-nineteen-sixties, psilocybin and LSD were legal and remarkably easy to obtain. Sandoz, the Swiss chemical company where, in 1938, Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD, gave away large quantities of Delysid—LSD—to any researcher who requested it, in the hope that someone would discover a marketable application. Psychedelics were tested on alcoholics, people struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depressives, autistic children, schizophrenics, terminal cancer patients, and convicts, as well as on perfectly healthy artists and scientists (to study creativity) and divinity students (to study spirituality). The results reported were frequently positive. But many of the studies were, by modern standards, poorly designed and seldom well controlled, if at all. When there were controls, it was difficult to blind the researchers—that is, hide from them which volunteers had taken the actual drug. (This remains a problem.)
By the mid-nineteen-sixties, LSD had escaped from the laboratory and swept through the counterculture. In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act and put most psychedelics on Schedule 1, prohibiting their use for any purpose. Research soon came to a halt, and what had been learned was all but erased from the field of psychiatry. “By the time I got to medical school, no one even talked about it,” Ross said.
“People don’t realize how few tools we have in psychiatry to address existential distress. Xanax isn’t the answer. So how can we not explore this, if it can recalibrate how we die?”
The clinical trials at N.Y.U.—a second one, using psilocybin to treat alcohol addiction, is now getting under way—are part of a renaissance of psychedelic research taking place at several universities in the United States, including Johns Hopkins, the Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, and the University of New Mexico, as well as at Imperial College, in London, and the University of Zurich. As the drug war subsides, scientists are eager to reconsider the therapeutic potential of these drugs, beginning with psilocybin. (Last month The Lancet, the United Kingdom’s most prominent medical journal, published a guest editorial in support of such research.) The effects of psilocybin resemble those of LSD, but, as one researcher explained, “it carries none of the political and cultural baggage of those three letters.” LSD is also stronger and longer-lasting in its effects, and is considered more likely to produce adverse reactions. Researchers are using or planning to use psilocybin not only to treat anxiety, addiction (to smoking and alcohol), and depression but also to study the neurobiology of mystical experience, which the drug, at high doses, can reliably occasion. Forty years after the Nixon Administration effectively shut down most psychedelic research, the government is gingerly allowing a small number of scientists to resume working with these powerful and still somewhat mysterious molecules.
“Thirty minutes after my taking the mushrooms, the exterior world began to undergo a strange transformation. Everything assumed a Mexican character.”
— Albert Hofmann
As I chatted with Tony Bossis and Stephen Ross in the treatment room at N.Y.U., their excitement about the results was evident. According to Ross, cancer patients receiving just a single dose of psilocybin experienced immediate and dramatic reductions in anxiety and depression, improvements that were sustained for at least six months. The data are still being analyzed and have not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review, but the researchers expect to publish later this year.
“I thought the first ten or twenty people were plants—that they must be faking it,” Ross told me. “They were saying things like ‘I understand love is the most powerful force on the planet,’ or ‘I had an encounter with my cancer, this black cloud of smoke.’ People who had been palpably scared of death—they lost their fear. The fact that a drug given once can have such an effect for so long is an unprecedented finding. We have never had anything like it in the psychiatric field.”
Aldous Huxley. Huxley proposed a research project involving the “administration of LSD to terminal cancer cases, in the hope that it would make dying a more spiritual, less strictly physiological process.” Huxley had his wife inject him with the drug on his deathbed; he died at sixty-nine, of laryngeal cancer, on November 22, 1963.
I was surprised to hear such unguarded enthusiasm from a scientist, and a substance-abuse specialist, about a street drug that, since 1970, has been classified by the government as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. But the support for renewed research on psychedelics is widespread among medical experts. “I’m personally biased in favor of these type of studies,” Thomas R. Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (N.I.M.H.) and a neuroscientist, told me. “If it proves useful to people who are really suffering, we should look at it. Just because it is a psychedelic doesn’t disqualify it in our eyes.” Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (nida), emphasized that “it is important to remind people that experimenting with drugs of abuse outside a research setting can produce serious harms.”
Many researchers I spoke with described their findings with excitement, some using words like “mind-blowing.” Bossis said, “People don’t realize how few tools we have in psychiatry to address existential distress. Xanax isn’t the answer. So how can we not explore this, if it can recalibrate how we die?”
Herbert D. Kleber, a psychiatrist and the director of the substance-abuse division at the Columbia University–N.Y. State Psychiatric Institute, who is one of the nation’s leading experts on drug abuse, struck a cautionary note. “The whole area of research is fascinating,” he said. “But it’s important to remember that the sample sizes are small.” He also stressed the risk of adverse effects and the importance of “having guides in the room, since you can have a good experience or a frightful one.” But he added, referring to the N.Y.U. and Johns Hopkins research, “These studies are being carried out by very well trained and dedicated therapists who know what they’re doing. The question is, is it ready for prime time?”
The idea of giving a psychedelic drug to the dying was conceived by a novelist: Aldous Huxley. In 1953, Humphry Osmond, an English psychiatrist, introduced Huxley to mescaline, an experience he chronicled in “The Doors of Perception,” in 1954. (Osmond coined the word “psychedelic,” which means “mind-manifesting,” in a 1957 letter to Huxley.) Huxley proposed a research project involving the “administration of LSD to terminal cancer cases, in the hope that it would make dying a more spiritual, less strictly physiological process.” Huxley had his wife inject him with the drug on his deathbed; he died at sixty-nine, of laryngeal cancer, on November 22, 1963.
Psilocybin mushrooms first came to the attention of Western medicine (and popular culture) in a fifteen-page 1957 Life article by an amateur mycologist—and a vice-president of J. P. Morgan in New York—named R. Gordon Wasson. In 1955, after years spent chasing down reports of the clandestine use of magic mushrooms among indigenous Mexicans, Wasson was introduced to them by María Sabina, a curandera—a healer, or shaman—in southern Mexico. Wasson’s awed first-person account of his psychedelic journey during a nocturnal mushroom ceremony inspired several scientists, including Timothy Leary, a well-regarded psychologist doing personality research at Harvard, to take up the study of psilocybin. After trying magic mushrooms in Cuernavaca, in 1960, Leary conceived the Harvard Psilocybin Project, to study the therapeutic potential of hallucinogens. His involvement with LSD came a few years later. Read the rest of this entry »
Students at George Washington University signed a petition to deport one American citizen in exchange for one illegal immigrant. More than two-thirds of the students approached by Campus Reform agreed to sign the petition.
Maggie Lit reports: Students at George Washington University (GWU) willingly signed a petition supporting the deportation of one American citizen in exchange for one illegal immigrant.
“Please sign our petition for President Obama to deport one American citizen, in exchange for one undocumented immigrant,” read the petition. “Everyone must be allowed a shot at the ‘American Dream.’ Americans should not be greedy. Let us right the wrongs of our past and make another’s dreams come true.”
“If somebody were to sign up for this program and they were going to go through all the effort to become this one undocumented immigrant than I think that’s enough will power and enough desire, they should be able to come in.”
“It makes sense,” one student told Campus Reform. “Like, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of like hatred against undocumented immigrants and it’s not necessarily their fault.”
Warner Todd Huston reports: On Monday, Politicoreported that last Friday, when hundreds of CNN employees lost their jobs, “people were crying all over the bureau” for departing co-workers.
“Morale at the CNN Washington Bureau is about as strong as it is inside the Redskins’ locker room–and the management is just as bad,” a CNN staffer told the news site.
“Things have been horrible inside the Washington bureau. On Friday, which was everyone’s last day, people were crying all over the bureau, but managers hid in offices and didn’t go to any of the goodbye office parties.”
The wave of layoffs was an effort to cut eight percent of CNN’s workforce. 50 employees were cut from the Washington, D.C. bureau alone. But at the same time, 20 new positions were created in the bureau’s digital department. Read the rest of this entry »
First Lady Michelle UN-tionette Axes Cupcake Sales For WWII Vets?
The Daily Caller‘s Eric Owens reports: Students at Waccamaw Middle School in Pawleys Island, S.C. did something pretty cool this spring when they baked cupcakes and cookies to sell during lunchtime to raise money so six World War II veterans could go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.
In 2012, I won Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012), which struck down Illinois total ban on the carrying of defensive handguns outside the home…(read more)
“We have collective responsibility for each other’s welfare, individual opportunity for reward, and very real consequences for inaction. As a society we can’t afford to neglect our sacred duty to our fellow citizens.”
In a move that stunned even president Obama’s most ardent supporters, and shocked the president’s most vocal critics, the White House announced a new program: offering cash prizes for young people who sign up for Obamacare, and death by lethal injection for those who don’t.
In what is being viewed as sign of the administration’s frustration, stung by disappointing numbers of healthy young enrollees, and irritated by ongoing Republican opposition, president Obama is said to have acted alone, in this historically-unprecidented move, not even telling his closest aides he was crafting the new mandate. White House senior staff were notified early this morning, and by afternoon, were authorizing new initiatives, and issuing press releases.
“Using extra-constitutional power to kill American citizens with drones is one thing, but this is preposterous, even for Obama.”
— Charles Krauthammer
“Preparations are obviously being made to insure financial arrangements for the guarantee of cash prizes. But more importantly, an effort to enlist medical professionals, medical supplies and prison staff, for the lethal injections. It’s a nightmare to try to line this up on short notice,” said an administration insider who declined to be identified.
“This program is too expensive, and potentially reduces the pool of healthy young enrollees…this is just another ill-conceived, improvised attempt to save his ‘signature legislation’.”
— Senator McCain
Critics didn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval. “This program is too expensive, and potentially reduces the pool of health young enrollees,” said senator McCain, and added “the president is desperate, this is just another ill-conceived, improvised attempt to save his signature legislation.”
“When it comes time to enact the penalty, faced with the grim reality of killing millions of innocent young people, I predict we’ll see a repeat of the familiar pattern. Delay, after delay, after delay. Timed to coincide with election cycles.”
— Congressman Paul Ryan
Congressman Paul Ryan agreed. “Here’s what will happen. The administration will front-load the benefits, authorizing prize money to be distributed. but when it comes time to enact the penalty, faxed with the grim reality of killing millions of innocent young people, we’ll see a repeat of the familiar pattern. Delay, after delay, after delay. Timed to coincide with election cycles.”
“Contrary to what talk talk show personalities and Republican critics are saying, protecting the president’s ego, or insuring his legacy as a successful two-term president is the furthest thing from our minds. And frankly, we find the suggestion offensive.”
— White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
President Obama composing changes to the Affordable Care Act on his smartphone, between meetings.
National Review editor Jonah Goldberg was in Washington D.C. when the press release was issued. We asked him to comment. He dismissed the press release. “I’d check your sources if I were you.” Lighting a cigar as he exited the Capitol building, Goldberg smiled and said, “I have no comment.”
Dr. Charles Krauthammer was characteristically blunt. “If true, these so-called executions will affect primarily lower income minorities,” adding “Picking winners and losers, making it up as he goes along, not considering the social impact of large-scale executions, this is unreal, it’s the Hunger Games. Using extra-constitutional power to kill American citizens with drones is one thing, but this is preposterous, even for Obama.”
“My only objection to the lethal injection, is that it’s is too humane. Not complying with Obamacare should automatically come with a penalty that delivers immediate, excruciating pain. Followed by a lingering, agonizing death. Unless he’s in a blue state…”
— Senator Al Franken, Minnesota
The White House defended its decision, citing the importance of the president’s commitment to the promise of access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans. “We’re not messing around”, president Obama said, in a brief statement. “The time to enroll is now.”
“The opportunity to enjoy an unexpected bonus, prizes valued up to as much as $250,000, is hard to ignore, for many young Americans,” a White House spokesman said, adding “For many, it will help pay off college loans, or provide additional security. For others, a chance to buy an Xbox, or take a vacation. Or take class in painting, or pottery, or buy a new car. It’s an exciting program, one that we’re proud to offer.”
At a highly-charged press conference today White House press secretaryJay Carney was frequently on the defensive. Reporters were on their feet, challenging the Administration’s “increasingly autocratic behavior, lack of respect for the rule of law, and morbid fixation on propping up a failing policy, even authorizing the federal government to kill young people who refuse to comply” said one reporter.
Tony Lee reports: Though Gallup’s economic confidence index is negative in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., also known as the nation’s preeminent “Boomtown,” is the clear outlier, with the only positive index. In fact, it’s not even close.
Gallup conducted daily tracking interviews with 178,071 adults nationally from January through December 2013, and the polling organization said it interviewed “at least 500 residents in every state and interviewed 1,000 or more in 41 states. In the District of Columbia, 462 interviews were conducted.”
Median income growth in nation flatlines while Washington D.C. grows richer. Yes, D.C. is booming, while America stalls.
Much has been said about how the median household income in the US has gone nowhere since the great financial crisis (and in real terms has been declining for the past decade). We won’t add much to this topic suffice to say that please don’t take your declining income grievances to Washington D.C. for the simple reason that, as the chart below shows, what’s bad for America is good for its (heavily lobbied) politicians.
Lawson Bader writes: I’m quite partial to the Potomac River. My mother crossed it on her doctor’s visits in the months leading to my birth. And while I spent my youth in freewheeling California, I knew I’d return to the changing seasons that give the region much of its character. But my, how that character has changed.
This week, reminiscences of where people were when they heard the news of the Kennedy assassination prompted me to ask: What was greater Washington, D.C., like then?
Consider where I live, Fairfax County, Virginia. In 1963, that then-sleepy burg set off on a growth surge that’s ballooned in population to more than a million people today, with new homes and shopping malls spread out across what was farmland not long ago. In fact, when I was a youngster, “going to McLean” meant driving out to the country for a picnic. Today, McLean is considered an inner suburb – albeit a fancy one.
Now, if you don’t live in the national capital area, you might wonder what this has to do with you. The answer is: everything, because you’re paying for it. As the federal government expanded its footprint beyond the District of Columbia’s borders, it’s brought a bonanza to those surrounding areas.
George Will writes: One reason Washington makes so much bad history is that so many people here know so little history. This helps explain why “comprehensive” immigration reform is foundering: Too few of today’s legislators know what happened 163 years ago.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does know. The most important Kentuckian since Henry Clay, McConnell knows that his hero Clay, who was called “the great compromiser,” failed to engineer Senate passage of a comprehensive compromise in 1850. McConnell, who wrote his senior thesis at the University of Louisville on the Compromise of 1850, knows that this was achieved by the canniness of Stephen A. Douglas. His is a name not much mentioned on Capitol Hill since he died in 1861 at age 48.
A Capitol police officer walks through the Capitol Rotunda, empty of visitors after being closed to tours, during the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington. Michael Reynolds / EPADC, USA, 01 October 2013.
In shutting down the government, members of Congress have turned their own U.S. Capitol complex into a ghost town running on a skeleton crew.
Kasie Hunt reports: There aren’t any tourists milling through the Capitol rotunda. Fewer police officers are working, so many entrances are closed. Up to two-thirds of each office’s staff is at home, forced to shut off their BlackBerries. And many of the usual comforts of a lawmaker’s day job have vanished.
“Box lunches. No tablecloths,” said one Democratic senator after emerging from the usual Tuesday lunch for all members of the Democratic caucus. He wasn’t complaining — just responding to a reporter who asked if the gathering featured the usual buffet spread that’s offered each week. Read the rest of this entry »