Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Psychiatrist Says: More Psychiatry Means More Shootings

Dr Peter Breggin
Feb 26, 2018

In late September 2016, a few days after Nikolas Cruz turned 18 and became old enough to buy a gun, the Department of Children and Families sent one or more investigators to Cruz’s home. The Department had been alerted by posts on Snapchat where the young man talked crazily about cutting himself and asked for help in getting a gun.

Among the many missed opportunities widely discussed in the media, here is one on the local level where the Department of Children and Families actually went to his home to investigate. The department intended to evaluate Cruz for “possible detainment under the Baker Act, which allows authorities to hold individuals against their will for up to 72 hours.”

What did the investigator find? NBC News quotes the official report: “Mr. Cruz stated that he plans to go out and buy a gun… It is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”

Not only was Cruz planning to buy a gun while apparently refusing to say what he was planning to use it for, but his mother’s observations cast serious doubt on her son’s mental capacity to own a weapon. According to the New York Times, “She told the investigator that Mr. Cruz did not have a gun, though he did have an air gun she would take away from him when he did not follow rules about shooting only at backyard targets.”

Unbelievably, in full knowledge of Cruz’s intention to buy a gun, and his inability to take responsibility for the use of even an air gun, the department found Cruz to be a “low risk” and closed his case within two months.

Had Cruz been committed, under existing gun laws he would have become unable to legally buy a gun to carry out his murderous fantasies. Alternatively, if he had been carefully and safely removed from his psychiatric drugs while receiving good psychosocial therapy, his escalating violent impulses might have abated. Instead, he was left on his own to face the death of his mother and his expulsion from school, while his murderous impulses were fueled by drugs.

What do we know about Cruz’s psychiatric treatment?
The First Tragic Irony

According to the New York Times, the official department report that found Cruz to be “low risk” indicated that “he was regularly taking medication for A.D.H.D. It was unclear whether he was taking anything for depression, according to the report.”

In more detail, NBC News observed that Nikolas’s adoptive mother “insisted he received his necessary medication as prescribed.”

Investigators from the Department of Children and Families also contacted Cruz’s healthcare provider. NBC News quoted directly from report, “[Cruz’s] clinician from Henderson Mental Health has stated that there are no issues with [Cruz’s] medication and he has been compliant with taking his medication and keeps all his appointments.”

This is an irony of tragic proportions. Cruz was left unsupervised and free to buy a gun because he was faithfully taking psychiatric drugs that can cause or aggravate violence.

But do psychiatric drugs really cause violence?
Antidepressant-Induced Violence

In the early 1990s, a federal court appointed me to be the scientific expert for all of the combined product liability cases that were brought against Eli Lilly throughout the country concerning Prozac-induced violence, suicide and crime. Since then I have been involved in many cases in which judges and juries, and even prosecuting attorneys, have determined that psychiatric drugs have caused or substantially contributed to violence. For a lengthy list, see the Legal Section on my website.

In 2003/2004, I wrote a scientific review article about antidepressant-induced suicide, violence and mania which the FDA distributed to all its advisory committee members. This took place as the FDA Advisory Committee members prepared to review new warnings to be put in the Full Prescribing Information for all antidepressants.

In my peer-reviewed paper, I wrote:

Mania with psychosis is the extreme end of a stimulant continuum that often begins with lesser degrees of insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, hyperactivity and irritability and then progresses toward more severe agitation, aggression, and varying degrees of mania. (p. 2)

In words very close to and sometimes identical to mine, the FDA one year later required the manufacturers of every antidepressant to put the following observations in the Warnings section of the Full Prescribing Information:

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. (Celexa 2017, p. 8, bold added)

These adverse drug effects—including agitation, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, akathisia, and impulsivity—are an obvious prescription for violence. Akathisia, which I also described in my article, is a psychomotor agitation that is strongly associated with violence.

The FDA further confirmed that antidepressants can cause violence in the FDA-approved Medication Guide for antidepressants. By law, Medication Guides must be based on science and on the drug’s Full Prescribing Information. These several-page guides are intended to be shared and discussed by the doctor with patients and their families.

The FDA Medication Guide for antidepressants warns clinicians, patients and families to be on the alert for the following:
acting on dangerous impulses
acting aggressive or violent
feeling agitated, restless, angry or irritable
other unusual changes in behavior or mood (Celexa 2017, p. 33)

This list (above) of antidepressant adverse effects from the Medication Guide should make clear that antidepressants can cause violence.
Stimulant-Induced Violence

The FDA also acknowledges the risk of both psychosis and aggression from the stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD, but waffles somewhat in the Full Prescribing Information about aggression. These excerpts are from the Dexedrine (amphetamine) Full Prescribing Information:
Psychiatric Adverse Events

Emergence of New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms: Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses.

Aggression: Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the post-marketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD. Although there is no systematic evidence that stimulants cause aggressive behavior or hostility, patients beginning treatment for ADHD should be monitored for the appearance of, or worsening of, aggressive behavior or hostility. (Dexedrine, 2007, p. 3)

The Medication Guide for Dexedrine warns to report to the doctor “Mental (Psychiatric) Problems” that can be caused by the stimulant. The warning for stimulants echoes some of the adverse violence-related effects caused by antidepressants:
new or worse behavior and thought problems
new or worse bipolar illness
new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility (Dexedrine, 2014, p. 9)
Study Shows Antidepressants and Stimulants Are Especially Likely to Cause Violence

One of the most convincing studies of medication-induced violence was based on reports of violence to the FDA over a several year period. When the number of prescriptions written for each drug was factored in, a small group of drugs accounted for almost all reports of violence.

In the study of violence reports to the FDA, any predisposition toward violence in the patients themselves was largely ruled out because some of the most violence-inducing drugs were not psychiatric drugs, and were being given to a more general population. Some of the violence-inducing drugs were antibiotics, including Lariam (Mefloquine), which Sgt. Robert Bales was taking when he slaughtered 16 helpless, innocent villagers in Afghanistan.

The amphetamines as a group (mostly used to treat ADHD) were third in order of frequency of violence reports per prescription. The amphetamines include drugs such as Adderall and Dexedrine (pure amphetamines) and amphetamine-like drugs based on methylphenidate, such as Ritalin, Focalin and Concerta. While amphetamines as a group were third in the list of most likely to induce violence, overall the antidepressants were the most common offenders, with Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor near the top.
Losing Track of the Threat

Cruz’s school counselor protested to the Department of Children and Families that they should re-examine their conclusion that he was a “low risk” for violence. Then in January 2017, two months after the agency had closed its investigation, the Broward County Public Schools disciplinary records indicate that the school referred Cruz to the Department of Children and Families for a “threat assessment” because of a long history of “fights with teachers” and “using profane language with school staff.” No other information was provided about the outcome of that referral.

What was going on? When public agencies have difficult children and young adults to deal with, they automatically turn to psychiatric diagnosing and drugging. Previously concerned adult authorities then withdraw their concern and attention because the child is getting “psychiatric treatment.” Caring, empathic and effective psychosocial treatments fall by the wayside.

Authorities do this without grasping that they are shoving the child under a suffocating chemical rug in the form of neurotoxins that blunt all emotions and stifle all behavior. Those dooming the children and youth to psychiatric oblivion probably do not know, as Bob Whitaker has shown in Anatomy of an Epidemic, that psychiatric drugs will diminish their competence and quality of life, while also raising the cost of their treatment and their disability payments. They do not foresee that the psychiatric strategy for treatment will sometimes lead to tragic outcomes like the school shootings. Nor do they realize that the overall evidence of harm from psychiatric drugs is infinitely greater than the evidence for good effects, as scientist Peter Gøtzsche has confirmed in Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial.
Another Tragic Irony

During Cruz’s build up to the mass murders, his Snapchat remarks about cutting himself and wanting to get a gun were not the only red flags that he was dangerous. Among many other warning signs, he declared on social media that he wanted to become a “professional school shooter” and he told an acquaintance that he had bought a gun and was planning to shoot up the school within weeks before it happened.

This was not mere bragging to bolster his ego. Cruz was intelligent enough to know that broadcasting his intention could lead to his being stopped. On some level of his disturbed mind, Cruz was begging to be stopped. Several people did in fact report him but to no avail.

The second great, tragic irony is that Cruz desperately signaled his dangerousness but agencies as high up as the FBI saw and never responded to his conscious or unconscious pleas to be stopped.
How Psychiatry Increases the Threat of Violence

Calling for more spending on mental health and on psychiatry will make matters worse, probably causing many more shootings than it prevents.

Not only do psychiatric drugs add to the risk of violence, but psychiatric treatment lulls the various authorities and the family into believing that the patient is now “under control” and “less of a risk.” Even the patient may think the drugs are helping, and continue to take them right up to the moment of violence.

The belief in drugs is so prevailing that the authorities, in my forensic experience, will continue the offending drugs or even increase them in jail. Sometimes the perpetrator of the violence may begin to suspect the drugs contributed to his violence, but more often he is still hoping that they help and wants his medications continued in jail.

Even when some of their patients signal with all their might that they are dangerous and need to be stopped, mental health providers are likely to give drugs, adding fuel to the heat of violent impulses, while assuming that their violence-inducing drugs will reduce the risk of serious aggression.

We have seen that Nikolas Cruz was probably being treated with violence-inducing stimulants and/or antidepressants by a psychiatrist who was nonetheless aware of his violent tendencies and serious underlying threats. We have seen how his blatant threats were disregarded, probably on the grounds that he was already in the mental health system and receiving drugs.

Psychiatry not only increases the risk of violence by giving violence-inducing drugs, but it lulls patients, families, professionals, schools and the public into an unrealistic and even disastrous sense of security. I have described dozens of such cases in my book, Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime.

James Holmes, the Aurora Theater shooter, is an extreme example of the dangers of sending a violent person for psychiatric treatment. Holmes was in graduate school when he asked for psychiatric help. He told his psychiatrist he had such violent feelings that he dared not tell her all about them for fear that she would lock him up.

What did Holmes’ psychiatrist do? On that same first visit where he warned about seriously violent feelings, she started him on the antidepressant Zoloft. Under the influence of the drug, he became grossly psychotic and began elaborating his plans and collecting weapons.

Did Holmes’ psychiatrist need more training or awareness? No, she was especially trained in the prevention of campus school shootings and immediately contacted campus security, while starting him on Zoloft. Increased training under the current mental health system will only lead to even more drugging, because that is what my colleagues in psychiatry do—they drug nearly everyone they can get their hands on.

To prevent or reduce school shootings, we need to stop relying on current mental health and psychiatric interventions to prevent mass violence. Psychiatric approaches do more harm than good.
What More Can We Do to Prevent or Reduce School Shootings?

School shootings have multiple causes. My focus in this report is on the role of psychiatric drugs because it receives so little attention, despite being one of the chief causes of mass violence. In keeping with my emphasis, for solutions I will focus again on my own area of knowledge: the provision of psychosocial and educational services to children, youth, and their caregivers or families.

One of the first required steps is to force public disclosure of any and all drugs prescribed to violent perpetrators. We still do not know exactly what was prescribed to Cruz other than that he was treated for ADHD and depression. Family members have reported that he was taking psychiatric medications for depression around the time he assaulted his school, but we lack documentation for this.

Authorities often avoid releasing information about the medications that mass murderers were taking. In 2012, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Six years later, the State of Connecticut has never released his medical records or reported the medications in his blood. Why? According to an assistant attorney general for the state, Lanza’s medications cannot be made public because the information “can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.”

It took a legal action to force the corner in the Las Vegas mass murder case to make public what if any medications were identified in the perpetrator’s body. When it was reported that he had Valium in his body at the time of his death, it did not even get a ho-hum response from the press.

Similarly, in 2013, when it was quickly discovered that the naval yard shooter had recently been started on the antidepressant trazodone at the VA, the news just as quickly disappeared from view. So it will not be enough to get the information we need; we will also have to work to draw attention to it.

Despite how often threat reports are ignored, they are a frontline deterrent. We need to make it easier to report threats by young people by providing well-advertised state-wide designated online and telephone reporting sites, and by preparing and empowering state and local agencies to respond to these threats. Federal agencies should play little or no role in this strategy, which requires immediate local responsiveness.
Offering Better Services

I have already emphasized the importance of no longer relying on the current mental health and psychiatric system to stop school shootings. However, even if school shootings were not such a huge problem, we still need to stop drugging our children and youth to control their feelings, thoughts and actions. Antidepressants, stimulants, benzodiazepines and all other brain-disabling, mind-altering drugs should not be used to control the minds or behaviors of young people. Children need more adult help, not more neurotoxic drugs. We must not let them to grow up with their brains and minds soaked in neurotoxins.

We need to revamp the services we deliver in our schools and families to place more emphasis on educational and psychosocial approaches to healing distressed individuals and their families. The Department of Children and Families was sent to the Cruz household to investigate and not to help. It assumed that going to a mental health clinic and taking psychiatric drugs was a good idea that reduced his dangerousness. Cruz was then left largely on his own to deal with his mother’s death and expulsion from school.

We need to focus services for young people on helping parents and children in conflict without resorting to demeaning psychiatric labels and toxic psychiatric drugs. A variety of relatively low-cost programs involving volunteers, coaches, and counselors provides the best model for help. To be most effective, we need a drug-free wraparound program with voluntary psychosocial interventions, including efforts to support and strengthen the family or care-taking unit.

Wraparound treatment would be provided not only to the identified child or youth but to the entire family. The treatment team at various times would involve teachers, school counselors, individual and/or family therapy, and direct aid to struggling families. I describe these programs in Reclaiming Our Children, a book I wrote in response to the Columbine shootings. These approaches are much less costly than providing chronic, futile psychiatric treatment, and have a better chance of stopping a catastrophic spiral into mass murder.

In the Cruz case, the school and its counselor, and many of the students, were alert to his dangerousness. Unfortunately, the dominance of drug-oriented psychiatry left no place to turn for effective help. Cruz was already being treated within a mental health clinic that provided individual treatment based on diagnoses and drugs. Instead we need psychosocial interventions, including empathic therapy, for individuals and their families.

Good psychosocial and educational help for our distressed and potentially violent children and young adults, and their families, will remain unavailable as long as psychiatry dominates theory and practice. Reforms will never occur as long as prescribers are enabled to sicken young brains and minds with neurotoxic psychiatric drugs. With biological psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry continuing to determine the kind of mental health services that are delivered, school shootings will continue to grow in number and ferocity.

The Breggin Blog: The Conscience of Psychiatry: Dr. Breggin has been called "The Conscience of Psychiatry" for his decades of successful efforts to reform the field. He criticizes psychiatric drugs and ECT, and promotes more caring, empathic and effective therapies. His newest book is Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions.

 Thank You Dr Breggin and MIA.

GOP Focuses On Law Enforcement Mistakes - Not New Gun Laws

The Hill
By Melanie Zanona and Scott Wong - 02/27/18 12:05 PM EST

House Republicans on Tuesday criticized mistakes by law enforcement following the mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Members emerging from a conference meeting on Tuesday delivered a coordinated message that focused on what they described as glaring failures by the FBI and local police while arguing that new gun laws would not have prevented the killings.

“Here’s what makes me mad: all these proposals don’t address the problem,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “There was like 36 times this kid interacted with government. It looks the sheriff's office didn’t do their job.”

“And now the answer is more government?”

The House Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees requested briefings from the FBI on its response to the incident, and lawmakers are also vowing to hold hearings on the issue.

Congress is under intense pressure to take action following the shooting, which reopened a national debate on guns.

A number of Republicans have offered support for raising the age limit to buy an AR-15, the weapon used in the shootings. A few have even backed an assault weapons ban.

But there also is significant opposition to moving forward with tougher gun laws, and most of the lawmakers who spoke Tuesday weren’t offering a ton of support for new gun control measures.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a press conference on Tuesday that “there was a colossal breakdown” that led to law enforcement missing the warning signs.

“We need to get to the bottom of how these breakdowns occurred,” Ryan said. “We are going to be looking at the system failures.”

Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who met with survivors of the shooting on Monday, echoed a similar sentiment.

“The FBI had this guy's name on a silver platter,” said Scalise, who was shot last year during a GOP baseball practice. “There were a lot of students in that school that said 'we think he is going to be a school shooter.' ”

The FBI and local police have admitted that they received multiple warnings about the suspected shooter but failed to follow up on them.

It has also been reported that an armed school resource officer stationed at the high school remained outside the building while the shooter was gunning down students and teachers inside.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), an ally of President Trump, said the Tuesday meeting yielded little agreement on what gun reforms Congress should take up.

Many Republicans, Collins said, will “follow the lead of the president” if he chooses to ban bump stock devices, strengthen background checks for gun purchases, or arm teachers in schools.

“There’s certainly not any consensus [on guns]. This is an ongoing discussion,” Collins told reporters as he left the meeting. “It’s clear there were just epic failures of law enforcement, both that resource officer that should have been stepping in, but also the FBI that had every opportunity to have stopped this before it ever occurred."

“We are going to have Oversight hearings on the failures of law enforcement,” Collins added.

Not every Republican has shied away from calling for stricter gun laws.

[Ed; That's why we have Primary Elections at the State level. Replace these RINOs with people who do have their heads on straight.]

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), who supports banning assault weapons and raising the age requirement for purchasing rifles, presented some of his ideas to his colleagues on Tuesday.

But Mast added that they were not met with “thunderous applause.”

Lawmakers are looking for leadership from Trump, who has floated his support for a wide range of gun proposals.

But many of Trump’s ideas have already run into resistance from members of his own party.

Avid gun rights supporters say raising the age requirement to purchase rifles is a non-starter, while conservatives have due process concerns over a narrow bill to strengthen the current background check system for gun purchases.

The House already passed the background checks bill, but only after it was attached to a bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

Congress needs to “conduct some pretty vigorous oversight to see why the FBI failed, because their point of failure was pretty disturbing. And we’ve got to investigate what happened with the local authorities that failed multiple times,” Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told The Hill.

“Before you begin crafting any legislation,” he said, “you need to make sure you know exactly what happened.”

Thank You Ms Zenona, Mr Wong, and The Hill. 

See Also:

New Democrat Gun Law Strips The Mask Off The Gun Control Movement

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

China Goes For The Mao Thing Again, And It's NOT Going To Like It

Monica Showalter
Feb 27, 2018

China's leader, President Xi Jinping, has done what Hugo Chávez of Venezuela did and abolished term limits on his current ten-year reign of power.

You'd think they'd know better than to follow a guy like that, but obviously, they don't.

According to analysis in Time magazine, linked on Instapundit, it started with:

... the publishing of a proposal – one certain to be ratified next month – that China's two five-year presidential term limit be abolished. This will essentially allow current President Xi Jinping, who is already China's strongest leader for generations, to remain in power for as long as he desires. The move is the culmination of a series of power plays by Xi over recent months, including having his eponymous political thought enshrined in the national constitution, and failing to appoint any potential successors to China's apex executive body, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

Cripes, what a disaster for them.

Time tries to blame it on President Trump as part of a trend toward centralization of power, which is nonsense (Trump's criticized the press but certainly hasn't spied on any of its members, let alone tried to shut it down as President Obama did.) The real mystery here is why in the age of international trade, the internet, and social media, China would think it could try this at all.

Seems trade isn't about to lead to democratization.

Putting power in the hands of one man and making him a cult, which the Time analysis points out is beginning to happen, as well as launching more hideously planned centrally directed national projects such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution (which Time points out Xi was on the short end of), make for an absolutely certain road to ruin, as China's own history shows. Yet it's all starting to happen with this move, which shows that the will to power of one man is more important in the communist system than the wishes of a billion other people.

It also shows that communism, as the great Jeanne Kirkpatrick posited in Dictators and Double Standards, written in the 1970s, is irreformable. It can only go more tyrannical, or else it can break. For years, China's communist party has been in a crisis: it allows capitalism, and people see what capitalism can do, and then leaves people wondering why anyone needs the communists. It's atheist, so it doesn't even have a religious basis for public acceptance of its power. Seriously, what does anyone need these people for?

So now it's gone to the one-man absolute dictator model.

Does China really think it can roll back social media and internet access as a one-man Assad- or Saddam-style regime and control everything? Yes, there have been moves to control the internet, and maybe Xi has been emboldened by Google's and Yahoo's easy rolling over for those efforts, but it probably won't go on forever. What's more, with the dark internet, controls are being evaded. It really isn't possible to control the flow of information anymore, which one-man rule requires, yet Xi thinks he can do it.

Why is this happening? Probably because China's been down on its luck trade-wise, with Mexico and Central America snapping up its business, and Trump condemning free trade (which I don't agree with) has sent a chill to the forces inside China, which promote it. That's the economic backdrop. China also has discontented youth and fewer opportunities for them. And the discontented youth are not the wave of the future – old people are. The one-child policy has been a disaster so bad for the Chinese that it's created a population bust. China recently revised the policy to two children, but the move from the central planners came too late. The country is now facing the prospect of growing old before it grows rich.

Apparently, Xi thinks he can turn it around as a one-man dictator, as Mao was. His will be a really good socialism this time, as the Tom Wolfe-described justification for socialism in the wake of all its failures, goes. It makes absolutely no sense in reality.

Mao Zedong, Zhang Zhenshi and a committee of artists.

Instapundit's Stephen Green has far more insights as to what this likely means:

Dictatorships trade the superficial instability of democratic republics, where ritualized revolutions – in the form of elections – make for institutional stability, and allows for overhaul without violence. In its place, dictators bask in superficial stability, immune from electoral whims. But when the would-be electorate gets fed up, violence is often their only outlet.

Just ask the Ceaușescus.

Or, to keep the people distracted, the dictator might embark on a war of foreign conquest – which almost always ends poorly for the would-be conquerer.

This is the road Xi has chosen. We'll see if he (or China) likes where it leads. 

Thank You Ms Showalter and American Thinker.

The Politics of San Francisco's Homeless Problem

Throw hundreds of $Millions of OPM into a corrupt city/State University system to institute 'Mental Health' and you get, . . . San Francisco.

Michael Bargo, Jr.

About a year ago, in January 2017, Leilani Farha visited the city of San Francisco and was appalled at the extent of the substandard housing conditions suffered by San Francisco's homeless population. Leilani works for the United Nations as a special rapporteur on adequate housing. She travels around the world to investigate housing conditions and called the housing conditions of San Francisco's homeless "unacceptable." She concluded that California "is allowing, by international human rights standards," conditions are that "deplorable."

This is particularly disturbing when one considers that California is the most populous and the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world. San Francisco has made some effort to deal with homelessness. The city spent $275 million on homelessness in the fiscal year that ended in June 2017 and is expanding that to $305 million for the year that ends in June 2018.

But that is not enough, since there is a long waiting list for nighttime shelters. Visitors to San Francisco are appalled to see persons on sidewalks committing drug crimes such as injecting themselves with needles. And the city has areas now fouled by the smell of human waste.

One has to wonder what San Francisco, which has some of the wealthiest citizens in the nation, is doing with all their money. After all, the major tenet of liberalism, which San Francisco declares is its guiding public policy, is to help the disadvantaged and poor.

In order to understand the lack of financial commitment to helping the homeless, it may be helpful to review the salaries of San Francisco County "public servants." Their jobs, and their professed mission, is to devote themselves to helping the needy. There is no shortage of money, but there appears to be a shortage of commitment to allocating public taxes to helping the homeless.

The money goes to those who are dedicated to helping the homeless. There are many examples of salary extravagance. For example, according to the website TransparentCalifornia. com, Madonna P. Valencia, the manager of the Dept. of Public Health, had a salary of $275,395.65 in 2016. In addition to that, she received benefits of $65,154.15 in that year for a total compensation package of $340,549.80. Another manager of public health, Theresa A. Dentoni, received $276,109.42 in 2016 and benefits of $64,073.87 for a total of $340,183.73. And this in a city that cannot afford to make portable toilets available to residents.

The assistant medical examiner, Harminder S. Niarula, another person in public health, had a total salary in 2016 of $336,000. Stephen C. Wu, a senior physician specialist, earned $336,000 in 2016. Another supervising physician specialist, Catherine T. James, collected $333,000. And nursing supervisor Patricia Carr got $333,000.

The list of those in public health working for the County of San Francisco goes on and on. It appears that $300,000 is a benchmark for the top officials. There are about 300 persons in San Francisco County's government who received a salary in the $300,000 to $400,000 area. Then there are over 2,300 people working for the County of San Francisco who earn between $200K and $300K a year.

The point is, these people, numbering less than 2,300, took in about $575,000,000 in 2016 just in salary and benefits. If you add those who made from $300K to $400K in 2016, that's an additional $100 million. So in 2016, San Francisco County spent about $675,000,000 on just 2,600 salaried employees. That's over a half-billion dollars taken by less than 3,000 people while in 2017 at least 12,000 persons lived on the streets, and San Francisco couldn't afford to provide portable toilets to them or overnight sleeping facilities.

This kind of economic argument is made all the time by Democrats, who say the top CEOs can afford to pay their employees more. The voters of San Francisco have the right to ask why, if the top officials of San Francisco make this amount of money, some can't be set aside for the homeless of San Francisco, especially since San Francisco likes to boast that it is the most liberal and accommodating city to those in need.

Perhaps someone should sue the City of San Francisco, using the argument that the primary function of government is public safety and health. For once, a federal Judge might make a ruling to force pay cuts for these people and devote more of the county's resources to paying for facilities to meet the health needs of the homeless.

So far, the liberal rhetoric of San Francisco has succeeded only in making public employees wealthy, not safeguarding the public health and safety of the residents. Amid the wealth and luxury of San Francisco, there is a growing population of poor and destitute residents. This argues more for the idea that liberalism is just good old-fashioned government greed: once in power, government employees make themselves wealthy at the expense of everyone else and create the traditional exploitive society where the few live by impoverishing the many.

The facts are clear: in the most liberal and progressive and Democrat-controlled city in the country, one can find the largest homeless population living in the unhealthiest conditions of any city.

Thank You Mr Bargo and American Thinker. 

Related Interest:

California's Exploding Homeless Population Result of Failed Democrat Policies

Connecting Mental Illness And Mass Shootings Misses The Point, Experts Say

Trump Vows Mental Healthcare Fix After Florida Shooting. He Also Wants To Slash Coverage.

As we've been pointing out for a decade, the Only way to fix Mental Healthcare is to slash its budget, . . . to nothing.

New Poll On Gun Control Seems To Confuse Mental Illness With Being A Danger

4:19 pm on February 26, 2018 by Kimberly Ross

Since the Parkland, Florida mass shooting almost two weeks ago, the gun debate has reignited. Of course, the debate never really goes away. For long stretches, though, it seems as if it is placed on the backburner until tragedy strikes again.

In the wake of the February 14th massacre, which took the lives of seventeen precious, innocent individuals, we’re left with numerous questions. Why didn’t the FBI follow-up on tips? Why didn’t Broward County law enforcement, who had visited Cruz’s house nearly forty times, consider him a real danger to the community? Shouldn’t there be armed guards on school campuses? What about arming teachers?

These are all important discussions to have.

A question that many seem to be asking, and rightly so, is how did someone with Nikolas Cruz’s mental health obtain a firearm? It is clear that the shooter struggled with mental fitness. He had attempted suicide in the past and also took medication for depression. But, did that mean he was going to be a school shooter? Those factors by themselves don’t indicate a desire to hurt another individual.

Whether we agree with it or not, there is a stigma against mental illness in this country. It is talked of quietly in private and tiptoed around in public. It’s an uncomfortable subject matter. You can’t look at someone in passing and diagnosis them with mental problems like you can assess someone’s physical capacity and the movement of their limbs.

It is much more complex.

That’s why the results from this new USA Today/Suffolk University poll bring about more questions than answers.
The USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll of 1,000 registered voters nationwide, taken Tuesday through Saturday, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
On guns, a nation that is often divided on issues is remarkably united:
By almost 2-1, 61%-33%, they say tightening gun-control laws and background checks could prevent more mass shootings in the United States.
By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, they say semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, used by the Florida shooter, should be banned.
I think most people would agree that background checks are imperative. The real issue is the reporting done to the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). The NICS failed to keep Devin Patrick Kelly, the shooter who killed twenty-six people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last fall, from obtaining a firearm. However, he should have been barred from possession of a weapon due to his history of domestic violence, not to mention the actual death threats he had made over the years.

Banning AR-15s is another matter, entirely. Will all semi-automatics be targeted? Is the problem with AR-15s due to the fact that many falsely classify it as an ‘assault rifle’?
The last poll result is what really jumped out at me, though.
By more than 6-1, 76%-12%, they say people who have been treated for mental illness should be banned from owning a firearm.
Since when did being “treated for mental illness” automatically qualify someone as a threat? If that is the case, then millions of Americans are walking time-bombs. That person struggling with an eating disorder might pop off a few rounds into a crowded hotel lobby. That quiet guy down the street who struggles with anxiety? Watch your back as you walk your dog past his house. He may set his sight on you.

See how ridiculous this becomes?

According to the NAMI, the following are classified as mental illness:
Anxiety disorders
Borderline personality disorder
Disassociative disorders
Early psychosis and Psychosis
Eating disorders
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Shizoaffective disorder
If mental illness by itself, with no other qualifications, is reason enough to keep someone from obtaining a firearm, then I would be kept from purchasing one. As a mother who has struggled with postpartum depression off and on since the birth of my 19-month old son, wouldn’t I be considered a threat? After all, 76% of the people polled believe that individuals treated for mental illness shouldn’t exercise their right to bear arms.

I’ve been to counseling. Don’t let me buy that gun.

This is the problem with painting a broad brushstroke across an issue. The majority of people struggling with mental illness would never hurt another living soul. Most quietly deal with their inner turmoil. They don’t seek to assuage their pain by pointing the barrel of a gun at someone else.

Do some become violent? Yes. Are there very serious concerns associated with extreme mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar, or borderline personality disorder? Of course. But we can’t lump everyone together and place them in a category labeled: “the bad people whose brains don’t work properly and who can’t be trusted around firearms.”

Gun control is a multi-layered issue. It may feel good to make generalizations about other Americans due to the guns in their homes or the Zoloft in their medicine cabinets, but they don’t come close to addressing the root of the problem.

And look at that? We’re back to square one.

Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.

Thank You Ms Ross and Redstate.

Monday, February 26, 2018

USDA: 35,891 Retailers Engaged In Food Stamp Fraud

"Why, We need a Govt. Program! That'll fix Everything!"

Terence P. Jeffrey | February 26, 2018 | 5:35 PM EST

( - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a report estimating that 35,891 food retailers around the country engaged in food stamp fraud, illegally “trafficking” more than $1 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits annually over the three-year period from 2012 through 2014.

“Retailer trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits occurs primarily when SNAP recipients sell their benefits for cash to food retailers, often at a discount,” the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service said in a summary of the report.

“SNAP benefits are permitted for the purchase of eligible food items from authorized food retailers,” said the report. “The sale or exchange of SNAP benefits for anything other than food sold by an authorized SNAP retailer is illegal.”

The report, published in September 2017, looked at food stamp trafficking in 2012, 2013 and 2014, estimating that more than $1 billion in SNAP benefits were “trafficked” annually during that time period and that about 11.8 percent of the 303,522 retail stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits over the period were involved in trafficking.

“An estimated $1.077 billion in SNAP benefits annually were trafficked and thereby diverted from their intended purpose,” said the report.

“Overall, about 1.5 percent of total SNAP benefits were trafficked; and approximately 11.8 percent of all authorized SNAP stores engaged in trafficking,” it said.

Some types of stores were more likely to engage in food stamp trafficking than other types, according to the report.

This chart enumerating, by type, the stores estimated to have engaged in food-stamp trafficking appears on page 9 of the USDA report:

Publicly owned stories did not traffic in food stamp benefits, the report said.

“As there were no publicly owned stores found to have trafficked, privately owned stories account for 100 percent of all benefit dollars trafficked although they account for only 54.6 percent of all SNAP redemptions,” it said.

Larger stores were less likely to traffic in food stamps than smaller stores and “convenience stores” were the most likely of all to engage in trafficking.

Of the 35,891 food retailers the report estimated engaged in food stamp trafficking, only 30 were categorized as “supermarkets” and only 42 were “large groceries.”

By contrast, 1,700 were medium-sized groceries; 4,850 were small groceries, and 25,954 were “convenience stores.”

While only 0.07 percent of supermarkets engaged in food stamp trafficking, according to the report, 23.32 percent of small groceries did and 19.42 percent of convenience stores.

“Trafficking was most likely to occur in the most urban areas,” the report said.

“The store violation rate rises in accordance with the level of urbanization,” it said. “The most rural areas have the lowest story violation rate of just above 5 percent and the most urban areas have the highest store violation rate of 14.4 percent.”

“Trafficking is defined as buying or selling benefits for cash or consideration other than eligible food, and the penalty is permanent disqualification,” said the report. “Permanent disqualification occurs when a retailer’s authorization to redeem SNAP benefits is revoked.”

A USDA summary of activity in the SNAP program in fiscal 2016 indicated that there were 1,845 retailers permanently disqualified from the program that year.

A breakdown by states showed that the largest number of retailers permanently disqualified from SNAP in fiscal 2016 were in New York (448), the second largest number was in Florida (175), the third largest was in California (133) and the fourth largest was in New Jersey (130).

Please support CNSNews today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

Thank You Mr Jeffrey and CNS

The 'Resistance' "Spectacle of Roaring Dishonesty" Is A Disgrace

Tyler Durden

Martin Shkreli Found Responsible For $10 Million In Losses

Tyler Durden
Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:59

Martin Shkreli is going from Pharma Bro to Pharma Bro(ke).

After denying the Shkreli legal team's long-shot motion to throw out one of Shkreli's convictions on Friday, Brooklyn judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who presided over Shkreli's summer trial that resulted in three convictions on securities and wire fraud, has released her recommendation for the financial restitution Shkreli must play to his purported victims.

Altogether, Shkreli - who was once worth $100 million but is now effectively broke - was found responsible for $10 million in restitution.

The news is bound to be a shock to his legal team, which argued that, since Shkreli's "victims" ultimately made money on their investments in two hedge funds run by Shkreli, the former Pharma founder and CEO shouldn't be forced to make restitution payments.

Whether Shkreli will end up paying the full recommended amount is unclear. Shkreli is due to be sentenced on March 9. He's facing up to 20 years.

As Reuters explains, the ruling could mean more prison time for Shkreli. That's because the dollar amount of financial loss plays a major role in federal sentencing guidelines. While Matsumoto must consider these guidelines, she is not bound to follow them.

Matsumoto said in Monday’s order that under federal law, all of the money that investors put in Shkreli’s funds as a result of his fraud - about $6.4 million - must be considered loss. She also said he shouldn't get credit for paying his investors back because he only did so once they confronted him with their suspicions. He must also be held responsible for about $4 million in intended losses from trying to prop up the price of Retrophin shares, even though he was not successful.

* * *
Shkreli, who was sent to a Brooklyn federal prison to await sentencing after publishing what prosecutors successfully argued were a series of threatening social media posts, made his first public court appearance in months on Friday. Reporters noted Shkreli had grown a prison beard, and was also looking surprisingly buff.

As the New York Post explained, Shkreli got buff in prison.

"He’s got his prison muscles," under his navy blue detention uniform, one source close to the defense noted of the convicted Ponzi fraudster’s first court appearance since he was locked up in September.

The newly bearded Shkreli, 34, has apparently fit right in at his new home in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.

"They like him in there," the source told The Post of Shkreli’s fellow cons.

"They don’t put their arms around him and say ‘Give me your money’ like they do to other new prisoners… they like him."

Prosecutors initially asked for Shkreli to forfeit $7.3 million in assets, including a Picasso painting and one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album.

Shkreli's lawyers have been pushing for their client to receive a sentence of under 16 months. But two legal analysts told CNBC that the high dollar amount of the recommended restitution means Shkreli could be sentenced to a decade in prison - possibly longer.

John Coffee, director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia University Law School, told CNBC, "Under the Sentencing Guidelines, the gain or loss from the offense is a principal factor in determining the sentence."

"Such a finding of loss could justify a 10-year sentence - or longer. But federal judges no longer have to follow the guidelines and they are only advisory," Coffee said.

"She has great discretion as to the sentence she imposes; she could recognize that he is a first offender and give him modest time. Or she could place more emphasis on the amount of the loss and his unrepentant attitude," Coffee said.

"This is why most defense counsel instruct their client to appear modest and humble at their trial. Shkreli was the opposite and may pay a high price for his arrogance."

Matthew Schwartz, a lawyer not affiliated with the Shkreli case, told CNBC, "In Shkreli's case, if the government is right that the losses are between $9.5 [million] to $25 million, then there will be a 20-level increase to the applicable sentencing guidelines; whereas if Shkreli is right, the loss amount would be zero."

"A 20-level difference in the sentencing guidelines could easily mean a difference of literally decades in prison," said Schwartz, of the firm Boies Schiller Flexner. "Of course, the guidelines are just that, and the court is not required to adhere to them."

The judge has not yet ruled on the amount of money Shkreli will fork over when he is sentenced, but prosecutors are recommending that he pay more than $7 million in restitution. 

Thank You Mr Durden and Zerohedge.

Former Official Will Cooperate With Investigators Probing Scheme To Funnel Money From State Dept To Kerry's Daughter

Well, this is a surprise, said no one.

Ethan Barton Investigative Reporter
10:27 PM 02/21/2018

A former senior Peace Corps official agreed to cooperate with any law enforcement investigations surrounding a scheme that funneled millions of Department of State dollars to a nonprofit founded and run by former Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, recently published court documents show.

Warren “Buck” Buckingham agreed to cooperate as a condition of an agreement with the Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney’s Office that would keep him from facing prosecution for a related illegal lobbying charge, court documents filed Thursday and made public Tuesday show. (RELATED: Former Peace Corps Official Who Steered Contracts To John Kerry’s Daughter May Avoid Prosecution)

Also as part of the agreement, Buckingham admitted to the charge that he lobbied his former Peace Corps colleagues to help his employer, Seed Global Health, secure a $6.4 million State Department-funded contract extension around September 2015.

Buckingham also helped Seed – a nonprofit founded and run by Kerry’s daughter Vanessa Kerry – secure it’s original nearly $3 million contract, which was also funded with State Department money, in September 2012. Buckingham soon left the Peace Corps while under investigation for improperly hiring an employee and subsequently sending the official lewd emails.

Officials from both agencies met with Vanessa and arranged the scheme that would funnel State Department money to Seed through the Peace Corps, previous Daily Caller News Foundation investigations show in detail. (EXCLUSIVE: John Kerry’s State Department Funneled MILLIONS To His Daughter’s Nonprofit)

Additionally, John Kerry’s State Department hired Buckingham as a consultant soon after the former Peace Corps official helped Vanessa’s nonprofit secure its first contract.

Buckingham agreed to cooperate with “any ongoing investigation” the Attorney’s Office or other law enforcement agencies conducts related to the money funneling scheme, court documents said. He agreed to “disclose all factual information” surrounding the scheme, including “any document, record or other tangible evidence.”

Buckingham also agreed to “make himself available for interviews or testimony,” including testifying before a grand jury or in trials and identifying other witnesses who may have information related to the investigation, court documents said.

Seed hired Buckingham around the time the original contract was expiring to “manage [the] relationship with external partners such as the Peace Corps,” the court documents said. Buckingham contacted Peace Corps “to review questions posed by Peace Corps regarding the renewal of” Seed’s contract.

Buckingham was notified in September 2015 that his “communications with Peace Corps about the cooperative agreement were potential violations of conflict of interest laws” and subsequently stopped talking with the agency about the contract, court documents said.

The documents only refer to Buckingham’s work with “Foundation A,” but significant details make it clear the organization is Seed.

First, the timing, value and funding source of the arrangement identified in the court documents were unique to Seed.

Second, the court documents note that the State Department secretary in February 2013 “was the father of the co-founder and CEO of Foundation A.”

Third, the court document shows that the foundation in question hired Buckingham around the same time as Seed.

Fourth, Buckingham lobbied the Peace Corps for Seed’s contract extension, TheDCNF previously revealed.

Neither Seed nor Buckingham’s lawyer immediately returned a request for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

Thank You Mr Barton and the DC.

Florida Governor Opening Probe Into Broward County Sheriff's Office Over Mishandling of Parkland School Shooting

Christian Datoc Breaking News and Engagement Editor
10:00 AM 02/26/2018

Florida Governor Rick Scott has formally tasked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to launch a probe into the Broward County Sheriff’s Office over their mishandling of the Parkland shooting.

“I have asked for FDLE to immediately investigate the law enforcement response and will continue to review this matter as more facts come out. There must be an independent investigation and that is why I asked the FDLE Commissioner to immediately start this process,” Scott said in a Sunday night statement.

The governor’s announcement came just hours after Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran sent a letter to his office calling for the “immediate” suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. (RELATED: 74 Florida Lawmakers Call On Governor To ‘Immediately’ Suspend Broward County Sheriff — READ THEIR LETTER)

“I have spoken to Speaker Corcoran about his request and I understand his concerns,” Scott added. “I have spoken to the Speaker regularly since the shooting, and like me, he wants the families to have answers and for there to be full accountability. That’s what the victims and their families deserve.”

Israel made headlines Sunday by stating in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that he has shown “amazing leadership” in the wake of Nikolas Cruz’s killing spree, although the evidence would suggest otherwise.

Following Scott’s proclamation, Israel said the Broward County Sheriff’s Office will fully cooperate with the FDLE probe.

Thank You Mr Datoc and the DC.

The Rot In American Law And Justice

Shawn Mitchell
Posted: Feb 26, 2018 12:01 AM

The awful paralysis of four armed deputies, who sheltered outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while inside, an unchallenged lunatic murdered children, should dwell in the national mind. Whether it resulted from shared cowardice, bad orders, or poor training at the Department, Sheriff Scott Israel must account to his community and the report should inform the nation.

The atrocity in Parkland is the most recent and tragic of high profile failures in American law and justice. But it is not the most representative or troubling sign of rot in once-trusted institutions. Recent events have revealed a long train of flawed officials with personal and political motives, engaging in conduct severed from Constitutional oaths, from ideals of service, and even from basic lawfulness and decency.

The roster of infamy reaches to the top of government. But, its particulars haven’t entered America’s general consciousness because we’ve lacked a shared belief that scandalous acts are in fact scandalous. Political scandal depends on an aggressive, tenacious media pursuing, uncovering, and reporting misconduct, and loudly seeking accountability. That kind of reportage engages the public and spurs demands for response.

Such a media went malignantly missing for nearly a decade and is still AWOL if the derelict are Democrats. As a result, a number of acts and events are dimly in public awareness, but cause no grasp or revulsion at the decay they reveal.

Recall the infamous Phoenix tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the nation’s top law enforcer, in charge of investigating Hillary Clinton for alleged national security crimes. There is no innocent explanation for that huddle. There is no non-corrupt explanation. Dirt was done but we’ll probably never know what.

A local reporter coincidentally discovered the rendezvous and the national media grudgingly relayed, but without any determined pursuit of the obvious, damning implications. The press managed to cap the outbreak at DEFCON Embarrassing. Lynch quickly announced she’d unlawfully punt her charging authority to FBI Director James Comey.

Comey was already playing charades with the stillborn investigation of Hillary’s lax server and vanishing emails. President Obama himself had used a pseudonym to share secrets with Clinton on the same setup. There was never a chance he would stand by for justice to run its course. Comey gamed the famously futile probe, eschewing conventional tools like subpoenas and grand juries, handing out immunity like candy, tying investigators’ hands, and drafting his she-gets-out-of-jail-free speech before the team had even talked to the target.

While Comey was the public face of the farce, the office boss was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe took charge of Clinton’s fate under the curious circumstance that a few months prior, Clinton money man Terry McAuliffe had given McCabe’s wife Jill $700,000 to run for a Virginia state senate seat. The stench of that conflict is so sulphurous it would humble the geysers in Yellowstone, but it eluded the bloodhounds of America’s canine press.

McCabe supervised from behind a desk while the agent on the ground was the exceptional Peter Strzok, who reportedly is a skilled counter-intelligence agent and admittedly a vehement Trump hater. He and his FBI attorney pal Lisa Page exchanged some 50,000 texts (which the Bureau absurdly claimed were lost until the Inspector General reported they were found). Contrary to the mitigating spin, the messages did not merely express political preference. They evinced intense loathing for Donald Trump and burning desire for Hillary Clinton to win. This should not be the man deciding who to press or how hard to chase. But, he is the man McCabe chose and he was only too happy to work with the velvet gloves imposed from above.

That is, he was until he took off his pussycat hat and exchanged it for brass knuckles to chase Trump in the Russia collusion investigation.

The collusion narrative was spawned under disputed parentage, but we have recently learned more about the extraordinary role played by another compromised power couple, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie, a former Russia specialist at the State Department. In twists too sordid and contrived for a credible spy novel, the Hillary! campaign used intermediaries to hire the political intrigue shop Fusion GPS for opposition research on Trump.

Fusion hired Nellie for undefined assistance in its research. Fusion also hired former British spy Christopher Steele who reportedly relied on Russian sources to produce the salacious dossier. Nellie passed information onto Bruce, who conveniently ran it up the flagpole at FBI, which conveniently tossed it at the wall in the FISA court, after repeated tries, securing one or more warrants to spy on Trump associates. Ohr did not disclose to officials at Justice that his wife was paid by Fusion. FBI did not disclose to the FISA court that the dossier originated with the Hillary campaign, or that FBI subsequently fired Steel for pimping the story to the media. It’s a slick loop, with Hillary! paying both for Steele’s collecting and for the Ohrs’ info relays.

President Trump lost patience with Comey’s double act of assuring the president he was not a target, but hinting in public that Trump sat fat in the middle of a bull’s eye. Trump fired Comey, who shrewdly leaked government documents (his own self-serving memos) to pressure for the appointment of a special counsel.

Enter Comey pal and consummate FBI insider, former Director Robert Mueller. Mueller assembled a merry band of conspicuously partisan crusaders, including Strzok, and set out in pursuit. Things went very differently for the targets of Team Mueller then they had for the Clinton camp. Paul Manafort, who was fully cooperating with authorities, was awakened with his wife in a pre-dawn no-knock raid, agents bursting in with guns drawn. Nasty, unnecessary tactics from the guy the media praises as a no-nonsense Eagle Scout. National Security advisor Michael Flynn was squeezed until he copped a plea to lying to the FBI about post-election transition contacts that were perfectly legal. Without explanation, before Flynn’s sentencing, the judge in the case was removed.

The new judge has shown considerable skepticism toward the government’s case against Flynn, delaying sentencing for six months and ordering Mueller to turn over all exculpatory and mitigating evidence in his possession. Since ethical rules already require prosecutors to do that, the new order might be a sign of specific wariness.

Every step in the sequence of events looks suspect, from Clinton/Lynch, to Comey’s phony probe, to McCabe’s richly supported wife, to Strzok’s animus, to the Ohrs’ Fusion money connection to Mueller deciding investigators should be snarling pit bulls, after all.

The double standards and suspect dealing cannot be ignored But, maybe they can be compartmentalized into a box labeled “partisan combat.” Maybe administrations will play dirty, but the pros in the field still uphold the highest traditions of American justice. It would be comforting to believe, but that takes us back to the massacre in Florida. It was reported shortly after the atrocity that the FBI had received specific warnings about the danger the killer posed and disturbing, concrete signals he was sending. The FBI failed to follow up or intervene. It was reported also that local law enforcement and social services had had innumerable contacts with and about the killer, and failed to make meaningful response. And on that awful day, four armed deputies crouched outside doing nothing while blood flowed in the halls. It forces us to ask, and should force the media to explore, does anything in the system, from top to bottom, still work like it should?

Thank You Mr Mitchell and Townhall.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

NRA's Dana Loesch: Liberals 'Call Trump A Tyrant' But Want Him To Confiscate Our Guns - 'Figure That One Out!'

Michael W. Chapman | February 23, 2018 | 11:45 PM EST

( -- In her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, conservative author, radio host, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch noted that in many criminal incidents, including the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla., "the government has proven that they cannot keep you safe."

Ironically, she added, the same people who "call Trump a tyrant " also want to confiscate our firearms. Try to figure that one out!"

“I want to make this super obvious point," said Loesch. "The government has proven that they cannot keep you safe, and yet some people want all of us to disarm. You heard that town hall [on CNN] last night -- they cheered the confiscation of firearms, and it was 5,000 people."

"I had to have a security detail to get out," she said. "I wouldn’t have been able to exit that if I did not have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming ‘burn her.’ I came there to talk solutions and I am going to continue to talk solutions as the NRA’s been doing since before I was alive."

“But the government can’t keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely on the protection of the same government that has already failed numerous times to keep us safe," said Loesch.

"Then, they also call Trump a tyrant but then say they want the president to also confiscate our firearms," she said. "Try to figure that one out!"

Loesch continued, “After the Parkland [shooting] tragedy the media were rushing to try to find out who this person was, and Politico ran a headline that said a ‘white nationalist said he’s one of us.’ Here’s a message for people in the legacy media: don’t trust white nationalists, don’t use them as sources, don’t trust them."

"Senator Byrd’s legacy lives on, I guess," she said. The late-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WVa.) was an 'Exalted Cyclops' in the Ku Klux Klan.

Loesch then addressed the liberal media in the room and cited Slate, Salon, and ThinkProgress.

She said, "I want you to ask yourselves where are the stories about how only 38 states submit less than 80% of criminal convictions to the background check system – it’s only as good as what’s submitted to it. How many of you knew that? Now, why isn’t Diane Feinstein calling for that? I have to question whether or not they want this system to fail?"

"Where are those headlines? Where are those headlines?" said Loesch. "And, by the way, did you know those are millions of people who have been adjudicated mentally unfit or criminally dangerous that are able right now to go and purchase a firearm?"

"Because the politicians who have given the most lip service about it have done the least about this," said the NRA spokeswoman.. "They could change this tomorrow, they could change this today! But they won’t because they’re exploiting a tragedy for an agenda."

"Shame on you!" said Loesch. "We call BS!"

Thank You Mr Chapman, CNS, and Ms Loesch. 

"Shame on you!" said Loesch. "We call BS!"

And Then Some. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Your Feelings Have Nothing To Do With The 2nd Amendment (A Must Read)

American Thinker
William Sullivan 
Feb 24, 2018

Looking to capitalize on the public whirlwind demanding gun control measures, Ohio governor John Kasich took to Twitter to ask:

If all the sudden you couldn't buy an AR-15, what would you lose?  Would you feel your second amendment [sic] rights would be eroded?  These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen.
What I'd lose should be pretty obvious.  I'd lose the ability to purchase an AR-15 to defend my family, my life, and my home because the federal government has prohibited me from doing so – i.e., infringed upon my right to do so.  The Second Amendment could not be clearer in declaring that the federal government has no such right enumerated in the Constitution.

If the practical result is that my rights are inarguably infringed, why would your feelings, my feelings, or anyone else's feelings have any relevance whatsoever? 

This is not a discussion.  These are my rights.  How you feel about the exercising of my rights doesn't matter at all.  And if it is decided that your feelings warrant the legal erosion of my rights, isn't it clear that what we're talking about are not, in fact, "rights" as understood by our Founders, but allowances that government either permits or rescinds based upon the whims of a perceived majority opinion?

Kasich is virtue-signaling, pretending there's some make-believe middle ground between the preservation and erosion of Second Amendment rights.  After all, even if the majority of Americans does agree that AR-15s should be outlawed, it doesn't hold that the prohibition of AR-15 sales could preserve Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens while simultaneously, and obviously, curtailing them.

This is precisely where the cultural battle lines are drawn today.  Is there a certain primacy inherent in the Second Amendment, such that to abridge it would necessitate an abridgement of our liberty, or are we to shape our laws in response to the fickle winds of what an emotional majority rabble happen to desire for gun laws at a given moment?

It's important to note that while the majority rabble may undoubtedly care immensely about its own feelings, it does not care about your liberty.  What the popular majority desires and what your liberty requires are two distinctly separate conversations.  To quote Lord Acton: "At all times, sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities."

So does it matter if a majority want stricter gun control in general polling?  No.  Does it matter that Don Lemon, Jimmy Kimmel, and all the other leftist celebrities who've been granted implied expertise on the subject continue to pitch the easily disproven notion that fewer guns will somehow lead to fewer murders by gun?  No.  Does it matter if millions of high school students are demanding policy prescriptions toward strict federal gun control, despite having never owned a home where everyone they love and are honor-bound to protect at all costs, and everything they've worked a lifetime to earn, can potentially be stolen from them if they are left unable to adequately defend themselves?  A thousand times, no.

Because our laws, our social contract, matter more than the whims of a majority. 

We are not yet a people that has become disinterested in self-preservation and in favor of relying solely upon state-sponsored protections.  Certainly, our Second Amendment is amendable via the constitutional amendment process, however much our Founders were resolute in its timeless purpose.  The process to do that requires well more than a simple majority, as the limiting of the Second Amendment carries with it an ominous portent of future potential abuse by government that a people interested in the preservation of individual liberty should easily recognize.

And yet, though it has been mercilessly attacked and subverted by past federal legislation, the Second Amendment remains perhaps the most primal touchstone of the American people.  The left crafts villainous straw men to attack in efforts to account for that devotion, and for the failure to achieve expansive federal regulation of guns.  But the real culprit that often keeps expansive gun control legislation on the drawing board is the sheer will of the American people, who continually hold their lawmakers accountable for actions they undertake.  That is how a representative republic, not a pure democracy, works.

No new law, as yet offered, could have assuredly prevented the recent and horrific Parkland massacre.  But appropriate preventative action by authorities – namely, the FBI – could have.  Armed security in the school also could have, or at least could have minimized the loss of life.

Perhaps what people should be clamoring for is accountability for the FBI's failure.  Or perhaps people should recognize that all but one mass shootings since 1950 were committed in "gun-free" zones, and that this simple fact alone signifies that making the zones we live in less "gun-free" is a logical recipe for fewer mass shootings.

Perhaps any of those things might be a better response to the Parkland shootings than demanding some arbitrary federal action based upon how you "feel" about my Second Amendment right.

Thank You Mr Sullivan and American Thinker.