Lisa Page Transcript Reveals Obama’s DOJ Ordered FBI Not To Charge Hillary
MARCH 13, 2019 BY KIRSTY JANE
House Judiciary Committee members released the transcript of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s testimony in front of the committee last year and it contained several major revelations.
One of the biggest revelations was that Page, who was having an affair with then-FBI agent Peter Strzok, said that the infamous “insurance policy” text message was referring to the Russia investigation.
The Daily Wire Reports:
“During her interview with the Judiciary Committee in July 2018, Page was questioned at length about that text — and essentially confirmed this referred to the Russia investigation while explaining that officials were proceeding with caution, concerned about the implications of the case while not wanting to go at ‘total breakneck speed’ and risk burning sources as they presumed Trump wouldn’t be elected anyway,” Fox News reported. “Further, she confirmed investigators only had a ‘paucity’ of evidence at the start.”
Page and Strzok, who both hated then-candidate Donald Trump and were pro-Hillary Clinton, were involved in the FBI’s initial counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
In an August 15, 2016 text message, Strzok texted Page: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe’s] office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro wrote the following about the text message when it was released in December 2017:
This looks an awful lot like motivation for launching an investigation into Trump in order to sink Trump as a hedge against Trump’s victory. The FBI’s investigation into Russian governmental interference in the election began in July 2016, just weeks before Strzok’s text message. And that means that there is now more of a smoking gun of FBI corruption against Trump than there is of Trump colluding with Russia.
Page also indicated that the decision to not charge Clinton with felony gross negligence in her email scandal came at the direction of the Obama Justice Department.
“We did not blow over gross negligence. We, in fact and, in fact, the Director because on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there’s a potential here for this to be the charge,” Page said. “And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence.”
Page continued: “And the Justice Department’s assessment was that it was both constitutionally vague, so that they did not actually feel that they could permissibly bring that charge, and also that it had either never been done or had only been done once like 99 years ago. And so they did not feel that they could sustain a charge.”
“When you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: ‘You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to,” Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) said to Page.
“That’s correct,” Page responded.
Ratcliffe tweeted out an excerpt of Page’s testimony, writing: “Lisa Page confirmed to me under oath that the FBI was ordered by the Obama DOJ not to consider charging Hillary Clinton for gross negligence in the handling of classified information.”
AOC's Green New Deal Proposal Is One Of The Stupidest Documents Ever Written
Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images
By BEN SHAPIRO
February 7, 2019 On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) released a six-page proposal for her much-ballyhooed Green New Deal. Before so much as reading it, presumably, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who happens to be a 2020 presidential frontrunner, endorsed it:
She should have read it.
Whoever wrote the proposal is, to put it kindly, dense. Idiotic. Moronic. Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) found herself unable to pretend to take it seriously; she said she hadn’t seen it yet, but “it’s enthusiastic and I appreciate the enthusiasm.” This, not coincidentally, is precisely what I say when I find out that my 2-year-old son has used his magic markers on his bedroom wall. When Nancy Pelosi has to pat you on the head and tell you that your picture of a doggie – which, for the record, looks like a blob with three legs and a spaghetti sauce stain – is just great honey, you’re in trouble.
She added that the Green New Deal “will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream or whatever they call it nobody knows what it is but they’re for it, right?”
For her part, AOC seems to know that she can’t declare war on Pelosi without the cagey veteran nuking her. “I don’t consider that to be a dismissive term. I think it’s a great term,” the farcical 29-year-old former bartender-turned-Congresswoman eagerly said. To which New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz correctly tweeted, “Oh, honey.”
How bad is the Green New Deal paper? Putting aside the fact that, as written, it would receive a C+ in any high school English class, it essentially articulates a magical world in which the skies rain chocolate, the world is powered by unicorn farts, and AOC dances through the gumdrop meadows to Lisztomania. The proposal calls for the United States to be free of carbon emissions within 10 years without the use of nuclear power. It calls for every building in the United States to be replaced or retrofitted in green fashion. It calls for universal healthcare, free college education, the replacement of airplanes with high-speed trains, charging stations “everywhere” (this is the sort of exactness the proposal contains), replacement of “every combustion-engine vehicle,” government-provided jobs, family and medical leave, vacations, retirement security, and the abolition of “farting cows.” It also calls for total “economic security” for anyone “unable or unwilling to work.”
Whether AOC plans to chain up billionaires and work them against their will or simply engage in anti-billionaire dekulakization remains to be seen. After all, somebody will have to pay for this.
Or not. According to AOC, nobody will have to pay for this – like a timeshare you bought on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1997, this thing will pay for itself! This is a direct quote: “At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how we will pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.”
The question, guys, isn’t how to pay for the Fyre Festival – it’s what we’ll do with the free drinks, the beautiful cabanas, and the epic memories we’ll create together!
I correct myself: my two-year-old son could come up with a better, more realistic proposal than this one. It’s not actually much of a competition.
But, we’ve been told, AOC is the Fresh Face™ of the Democratic Party – So Fresh, So Face. Sadly, the intellectual content that emanates from that fresh face is indistinguishable from the product of the cows she seeks to abolish.
GAVIN MCINNES SUES SPLC OVER 'OBSESSIVE, MALICIOUS' HATE LABELS'
Purposefully deceitful and intended to ... inflict harm'Published: 4 hours ago
Gavin McInnes (YouTube screenshot)
Gavin McInnes, the conservative commentator and host of the internet-based program “Get Off My Lawn,” is suing the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center for designating him a “hate” figure, charging the group’s “concerted, obsessive and malicious actions” were designed to harm him.
“SPLC’s defamatory, false, and misleading designation of Mr. McInnes as a ‘hate’ figure is purposefully deceitful and intended to tarnish Mr. McInnes’s reputation, disparage Mr. McInnes’s good name and work, inflict harm and financial damage, reduce Mr. McInnes’s goodwill and standing in the community, expose Mr. MicInnes, his family and anyone else associated with him to public scorn, harassment, intimidation, and potential violence, and to denigrate, malign, and ridicule Mr. McInnes to countless individuals and potential employers and partners around the world,” Monday’s lawsuit by McInnes explains.
It’s just the latest in a number of lawsuits against SPLC over its hate-group designation, which puts Christian pro-family groups such as the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom in the same category as the KKK and other white supremacists.
SPLC leaders Richard Cohen and Heidi Beirich recently were sued by the Center for Immigration Studies under the nation’s organized crime law for “falsely” designating CIS as a “hate group.” The civil case filed under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, charges the SPLC leaders have violated federal wire fraud and other laws. It alleges a “pattern of racketeering through SPLC enterprise” and seeks a judgment of three times the damages to CIS as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
The damage from SPLC “hate” labels has been real.
CIS said in its complaint: “In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the lobby of the Family Research Council, a Christian nonprofit charity and lobbying group based in Washington D.C., with a 9mm pistol and shot an FRC employee, before being wrestled to the ground until police arrived.
“When interviewed by the FBI, Corkins admitted he intended to kill the staff and said, ‘Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups. I found them online.’ On its website, the SPLC has a map displaying the locations of all ‘hate groups’ in the country, which includes the FRC’s headquarters where Corkins entered. The SPLC responded by saying that the FRC deserved to be labeled a hate group because it ‘has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda.'”
Author and pundit John Stossel once said SPLC was a hate group itself.
SPLC also was sued in U.S. District Court in Maryland by Baltimore lawyer Glen K. Allen, who named SPLC and leaders Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok.
Allen’s lawsuit alleges: “Motivated by lucrative fundraising aims and employing fundraising techniques decried across the political spectrum as deceptive, the SPLC’s avowed goal, under the leadership of Beirich, Potok, and others, is to destroy, through public shaming, loss of employment, loss of reputation and other severe harms, groups and persons the SPLC broadly defines as its political enemies.”
The complaint contends SPLC is not entitled to “receive, pay for, and use stolen documents, including confidential documents and documents protected by attorney client privilege, to tortiously interfere with Allen’s prospective advantage in employment; to defame him by publishing false statements that he was ‘infiltrating’ the city of Baltimore’s Law Department; or to masquerade as a 501c3 public interest law firm dedicated to a tax exempt educational mission, when in reality the SPLC fails the basic requirements for this favored status because of its illegal actions (including numerous instances of mail and wire fraud), multiple violations of canons of professional ethics (including improper disclosure of confidential and privileged documents and failure to train its nonlawyer employees), orchestration of violations of the constitutional rights of the organizations and individuals it targets, and sensational supermarket tabloid style one-sided depictions of its victims.”
Previously, SPLC settled a lawsuit by Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation for more than $3 million for putting them on the “hate” list.”
McInnes’ complaint contends that while he is an “avowed and vocal opponent of discrimination based on race, religion or sexual preference, and of ideologies and movements espousing extremism, nationalism and white supremacy,” SPLC still gave him its “hate designation.”
In the lawsuit, McInnes says SPLC is “defaming him by use of the SPLC Hate Designations, and publishing other false, damaging and defamatory statements about him.”
The case was filed in Alabama District Court.
McInnes alleges SPLC “harassed” him, his family and friends, and lied about him.
A statement from McInnes, reported by Gateway Pundit, said: “They purposely lie about their enemies in an attempt to ‘destroy’ them (their words) and it’s become a very effective way to make money. Scaremongering brought them the $50 million their founder originally set out to make. Since then, it’s garnered hundreds of millions including untold millions in the Cayman Islands. I don’t fault entrepreneurs, but they are using this incredible wealth to wield power over the innocent and destroy careers and businesses in their insatiable need to generate more bigots – because in the world of SPLC fundraising, mo hate is mo money.”
The lawsuit explains SPLC lumps those who disagree with its social agenda as “haters,” along with groups such as the KKK.
Among SPLC’s targets?
“Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson and former Vanderbilt University professor and scholar Carol Swain, who are both black … Christian organizations such as the Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, ADF, Freedom, American Family Association, and the Pacific Justice Institute … Islamic anti-extremism activists Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer … immigration enforcement advocacy groups FAIR, the Center for Immigration Studies, The Remembrance Project, ProEnglish and, legal Immigrants for America … American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray … write and commentator David Horowitz; Accuracy in Media President Cliff Kinkaid … WorldNetDaily (WND) founder Joseph Farah, Sen. Rand Paul, and plaintiff Gavin McInnes.”
McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys organization but left it in 2018, brought the action because SPLC “acknowledges that its goal is to destroy organizations and persons it targets as ‘hate groups.'”
Issues that trigger SPLC’s “hate” designations include “constitutionally protected ‘marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing,'” the complaint explains.
It points out SPLC decided to “settle” with FRC over that organization’s claims following the Corkins attack.
“Based on SPLC’s ‘hate’ targeting, SPLC ultimately paid Family Research Council $3.4 million to settle its defamation claim.”
“Three years later, in June of 2017, during a weekend softball game that had been publicly announced, James Hodgkinson attempted to kill those Republican members of Congress and their staff who were present, critically injuring U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and several congressional staffers,” the filing said. “The ensuing investigation revealed that Hodgkinson ‘followed’ SPLC on Facebook, and by all indications knew that SPLC had associated Rep. Scalise, a conservative Republican, with SPLC-designated ‘hate groups.'”
The filing continues, “Short of incitement to murder, SPLC’s designation of an organization as a ‘hate group’ or a person as a ‘extremist’ can and does kill careers and reputations.”
SPLC seeks to deplatform and defund its designated “hate” organizations.
That includes working with social media companies to ban the groups and with financial companies to block their transactions.
The complaint alleges interference with financial transactions, defamation, false light invasion of privacy, aiding and abetting employment discrimination.
The filing seeks court declarations that SPLC’s publication of “false” representations were done with actual malice, that the statements damaged McInnes, and that he should be paid actual, compensatory and pecuniary damages.
Read more at
Former Defense Intelligence Officer Pleads Guilty to Attempted Espionage
Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, a resident of Syracuse, Utah, and a former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, pleaded guilty today in the District of Utah in connection with his attempted transmission of national defense information to the People’s Republic of China. Sentencing is set for Sept. 24, 2019.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney John Huber for the District of Utah and Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office announced the charges.
Hansen retired from the U.S. Army as a Warrant Officer with a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence. He speaks fluent Mandarin-Chinese and Russian. DIA hired Hansen as a civilian intelligence case officer in 2006. Hansen held a Top Secret clearance for many years, and signed several non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at DIA and as a government contractor.
As Hansen admitted in the plea agreement, in early 2014, agents of a Chinese intelligence service targeted Hansen for recruitment and he began meeting with them regularly in China. During those meetings, the Chinese agents described to Hansen the type of information that would interest the Chinese intelligence service. During the course of his relationship with the agents of the Chinese intelligence service, Hansen received hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for information he provided them, including information he gathered at various industry conferences. Between May 24, 2016 and June 2, 2018, Hansen solicited from an intelligence case officer working for the DIA national defense information that Hansen knew the Chinese intelligence service would find valuable. Hansen agreed to act as a conduit to sell that information to the Chinese. Hansen advised the DIA case officer how to record and transmit classified information without detection, and explained how to hide and launder any funds received as payment for classified information. The DIA case officer reported Hansen’s conduct to the DIA and subsequently acted as a confidential human source for the FBI.
As Hansen further admitted in the plea agreement, Hansen met with the DIA case officer on June 2, 2018, and received from that individual documents containing national defense information that Hansen previously solicited. The documents Hansen received were classified. The information in the documents related to the national defense of the United States in that it related to United States military readiness in a particular region and was closely held by the United States government. Hansen reviewed the documents, queried the DIA case officer about their contents, and took written notes about the materials relating to the national defense information. Hansen advised the DIA case officer that he would remember most of the details about the documents he received that day and would conceal some notes about the material in the text of an electronic document that Hansen would prepare at the airport before leaving for China. Hansen intended to provide the information he received to the agents of the Chinese intelligence service with whom he had been meeting, and Hansen knew that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.
Hansen pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to gather or deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government. The plea agreement calls for an agreed-upon sentence of 15 years.
Special agents of the FBI, IRS, U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, U.S. Army Counterintelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency were involved in the investigation.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Lund, Karin Fojtik, Mark K. Vincent and Alicia Cook of the District of Utah, and Trial Attorneys Patrick T. Murphy, Matthew J. McKenzie and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington assisted with this case.
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Trudeau In TROUBLE: Canadian Prime Minister Is Facing A Political Crisis, Possible Resignation
Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images
By EMILY ZANOTTI
March 3, 2019 Canada's heart-throb Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has had a rough week, and things may only be getting worse.
According to the BBC, Trudeau is facing claims that he exerted intense political pressure on Canada's female, indigenous attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to "abandon prosecution" of Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, a "corrupt company" with alleged ties to Trudeau and some of his closet political pals. When Wilson-Raybould refused to call off an investigation (and subsequent prosecution) into SNC-Lavalin over fraud and corruption charges, the story goes, Trudeau fired her.
For some time, the story remained uncorroborated — a mere rumor that circulated around Canada's government officials. But last week, Wilson-Raybould testified in front of Parliament, telling her story in "meticulous detail," according to Canadian reporter Ezra Levant, parsing out "how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
"[Wilson-Raybould] refused to bend the law for Trudeau's cronies. But they didn't stop. Trudeau; his chief of staff; his principal secretary; even the finance minister. They met her ten times, phoned her ten more. trying to get the charges dropped. She wouldn't. So Trudeau fired her as A-G," Levant tweeted in a short "primer" for American audiences — an account substantiated by The Washington Post. Trudeau eventually appointed Wilson-Raybould to a lesser position, handling veteran's affairs.
Because Wilson-Raybould was silenced by attorney-client privilege, only Trudeau was able to speak fully on the matter, according to Levant's account, but after weeks of pressure, and several high-profile departures from Trudeau's inner circle, Wilson-Raybould was invited to testify in front of Parliament, and Trudeau waived privilege.
The result was a bombshell testimony that appears to implicate Trudeau in a major political scandal.
"For a period of approximately four months between September and December 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin," Wilson-Raybould testified.
"These events involved 11 people (excluding myself and my political staff) – from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance. This included in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails, and text messages. There were approximately 10 phone calls and 10 meetings specifically about SNC-Lavalin that I and/or my staff was a part of," she added.
It's against the law in Canada to exert pressure on an attorney general, leaving Trudeau potentially exposed to criminal charges. Wilson-Raybould testified in front of Parliament that she did not know whether any laws had been broken, but that it should be clear "she was not prepared to help the company avoid a trial and that she believes it was why she was demoted in a Cabinet shuffle in January."
Trudeau denies the allegations, and told the BBC that he "disagreed" with the '"characterization' of events and maintained his staff followed the rules."
"The prime minister said he had full confidence in an inquiry by a parliamentary justice committee into the affair and in an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner, and would 'participate fully' in that process," he added.
To make matters worse, The Washington Post reports, the issue has captured the attention of China, which is now accusing the Trudeau administration of exerting political pressure over lesser ministers who tried to cut a deal with China to release prisoners held in Canada on U.S. charges. The two prisoners are awaiting extradition to the U.S. rather than facing justice in Canada, much to China's dismay.
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
January 2019 • Volume 48, Number 1 • Alex Berenson
Author, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Alex Berenson is a graduate of Yale University with degrees in history and economics. He began his career in journalism in 1994 as a business reporter for the Denver Post, joined the financial news website TheStreet.com in 1996, and worked as an investigative reporter for The New York Times from 1999 to 2010, during which time he also served two stints as an Iraq War correspondent. In 2006 he published The Faithful Spy, which won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel from the Mystery Writers of America. He has published ten additional novels and two nonfiction books, The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate America and Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.
The following is adapted from a speech delivered on January 15, 2019, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.
Until recently, my wife Jackie—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.
A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.
Of course? I said.
Yes, they all smoke.
So marijuana causes schizophrenia?
I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.
Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.
So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.
I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.
Over the last 30 years, psychiatrists and epidemiologists have turned speculation about marijuana’s dangers into science. Yet over the same period, a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign has pushed public attitudes about marijuana the other way. And the effects are now becoming apparent.
Almost everything you think you know about the health effects of cannabis, almost everything advocates and the media have told you for a generation, is wrong.
They’ve told you marijuana has many different medical uses. In reality marijuana and THC, its active ingredient, have been shown to work only in a few narrow conditions. They are most commonly prescribed for pain relief. But they are rarely tested against other pain relief drugs like ibuprofen—and in July, a large four-year study of patients with chronic pain in Australia showed cannabis use was associated with greater pain over time.
They’ve told you cannabis can stem opioid use—“Two new studies show how marijuana can help fight the opioid epidemic,” according to Wonkblog, a Washington Post website, in April 2018— and that marijuana’s effects as a painkiller make it a potential substitute for opiates. In reality, like alcohol, marijuana is too weak as a painkiller to work for most people who truly needopiates, such as terminal cancer patients. Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Project, acknowledge that they have always viewed medical marijuana laws primarily as a way to protect recreational users.
As for the marijuana-reduces-opiate-use theory, it is based largely on a single paper comparing overdose deaths by state before 2010 to the spread of medical marijuana laws— and the paper’s finding is probably a result of simple geographic coincidence. The opiate epidemic began in Appalachia, while the first states to legalize medical marijuana were in the West. Since 2010, as both the epidemic and medical marijuana laws have spread nationally, the finding has vanished. And the United States, the Western country with the most cannabis use, also has by far the worst problem with opioids.
Research on individual users—a better way to trace cause and effect than looking at aggregate state-level data—consistently shows that marijuana use leads to other drug use. For example, a January 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks.
Most of all, advocates have told you that marijuana is not just safe for people with psychiatric problems like depression, but that it is a potential treatment for those patients. On its website, the cannabis delivery service Eaze offers the “Best Marijuana Strains and Products for Treating Anxiety.” “How Does Cannabis Help Depression?” is the topic of an article on Leafly, the largest cannabis website. But a mountain of peer-reviewed research in top medical journals shows that marijuana can cause or worsen severe mental illness, especially psychosis, the medical term for a break from reality. Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are about three times as likely to develop schizophrenia, the most devastating psychotic disorder.
After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”
Over the past decade, as legalization has spread, patterns of marijuana use—and the drug itself—have changed in dangerous ways.
Legalization has not led to a huge increase in people using the drug casually. About 15 percent of Americans used cannabis at least once in 2017, up from ten percent in 2006, according to a large federal study called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (By contrast, about 65 percent of Americans had a drink in the last year.) But the number of Americans who use cannabis heavily is soaring. In 2006, about three million Americans reported using cannabis at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number had nearly tripled, to eight million, approaching the twelve million Americans who drank alcohol every day. Put another way, one in 15 drinkers consumed alcohol daily; about one in five marijuana users used cannabis that often.
Cannabis users today are also consuming a drug that is far more potent than ever before, as measured by the amount of THC—delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in cannabis responsible for its psychoactive effects—it contains. In the 1970s, the last time this many Americans used cannabis, most marijuana contained less than two percent THC. Today, marijuana routinely contains 20 to 25 percent THC, thanks to sophisticated farming and cloning techniques—as well as to a demand by users for cannabis that produces a stronger high more quickly. In states where cannabis is legal, many users prefer extracts that are nearly pure THC. Think of the difference between near-beer and a martini, or even grain alcohol, to understand the difference.
These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.
Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.
On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.
According to this latter study, 7.5 percent of adults age 18-25 met the criteria for serious mental illness in 2017, double the rate in 2008. What’s especially striking is that adolescents age 12-17 don’t show these increases in cannabis use and severe mental illness.
A caveat: this federal survey doesn’t count individual cases, and it lumps psychosis with other severe mental illness. So it isn’t as accurate as the Finnish or Danish studies. Nor do any of these studies prove that rising cannabis use has caused population-wide increases in psychosis or other mental illness. The most that can be said is that they offer intriguing evidence of a link.
Advocates for people with mental illness do not like discussing the link between schizophrenia and crime. They fear it will stigmatize people with the disease. “Most people with mental illness are not violent,” the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains on its website. But wishing away the link can’t make it disappear. In truth, psychosis is a shockingly high risk factor for violence. The best analysis came in a 2009 paper in PLOS Medicine by Dr. Seena Fazel, an Oxford University psychiatrist and epidemiologist. Drawing on earlier studies, the paper found that people with schizophrenia are five times as likely to commit violent crimes as healthy people, and almost 20 times as likely to commit homicide.
NAMI’s statement that most people with mental illness are not violent is of course accurate, given that “most” simply means “more than half”; but it is deeply misleading. Schizophrenia is rare. But people with the disorder commit an appreciable fraction of all murders, in the range of six to nine percent.
“The best way to deal with the stigma is to reduce the violence,” says Dr. Sheilagh Hodgins, a professor at the University of Montreal who has studied mental illness and violence for more than 30 years.
The marijuana-psychosis-violence connection is even stronger than those figures suggest. People with schizophrenia are only moderately more likely to become violent than healthy people when they are taking antipsychotic medicine and avoiding recreational drugs. But when they use drugs, their risk of violence skyrockets. “You don’t just have an increased risk of one thing—these things occur in clusters,” Dr. Fazel told me.
Along with alcohol, the drug that psychotic patients use more than any other is cannabis: a 2010 review of earlier studies in Schizophrenia Bulletin found that 27 percent of people with schizophrenia had been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder in their lives. And unfortunately—despite its reputation for making users relaxed and calm—cannabis appears to provoke many of them to violence.
A Swiss study of 265 psychotic patients published in Frontiers of Forensic Psychiatry last June found that over a three-year period, young men with psychosis who used cannabis had a 50 percent chance of becoming violent. That risk was four times higher than for those with psychosis who didn’t use, even after adjusting for factors such as alcohol use. Other researchers have produced similar findings. A 2013 paper in an Italian psychiatric journal examined almost 1,600 psychiatric patients in southern Italy and found that cannabis use was associated with a ten-fold increase in violence.
The most obvious way that cannabis fuels violence in psychotic people is through its tendency to cause paranoia—something even cannabis advocates acknowledge the drug can cause. The risk is so obvious that users joke about it and dispensaries advertise certain strains as less likely to induce paranoia. And for people with psychotic disorders, paranoia can fuel extreme violence. A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia on 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes found that most believed they were in danger from the victim, and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis—more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.
Yet the link between marijuana and violence doesn’t appear limited to people with preexisting psychosis. Researchers have studied alcohol and violence for generations, proving that alcohol is a risk factor for domestic abuse, assault, and even murder. Far less work has been done on marijuana, in part because advocates have stigmatized anyone who raises the issue. But studies showing that marijuana use is a significant risk factor for violence have quietly piled up. Many of them weren’t even designed to catch the link, but they did. Dozens of such studies exist, covering everything from bullying by high school students to fighting among vacationers in Spain.
In most cases, studies find that the risk is at least as significant as with alcohol. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined a federal survey of more than 9,000 adolescents and found that marijuana use was associated with a doubling of domestic violence; a 2017 paper in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology examined drivers of violence among 6,000 British and Chinese men and found that drug use—the drug nearly always being cannabis—translated into a five-fold increase in violence.
Today that risk is translating into real-world impacts. Before states legalized recreational cannabis, advocates said that legalization would let police focus on hardened criminals rather than marijuana smokers and thus reduce violent crime. Some advocates go so far as to claim that legalization has reduced violent crime. In a 2017 speech calling for federal legalization, U.S. Senator Cory Booker said that “states [that have legalized marijuana] are seeing decreases in violent crime.” He was wrong.
The first four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use were Colorado and Washington in 2014 and Alaska and Oregon in 2015. Combined, those four states had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults in 2013. Last year, they had almost 620 murders and 38,000 aggravated assaults—an increase of 37 percent for murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults, far greater than the national increase, even after accounting for differences in population growth.
Knowing exactly how much of the increase is related to cannabis is impossible without researching every crime. But police reports, news stories, and arrest warrants suggest a close link in many cases. For example, last September, police in Longmont, Colorado, arrested Daniel Lopez for stabbing his brother Thomas to death as a neighbor watched. Daniel Lopez had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was “self-medicating” with marijuana, according to an arrest affidavit.
In every state, not just those where marijuana is legal, cases like Lopez’s are far more common than either cannabis or mental illness advocates acknowledge. Cannabis is also associated with a disturbing number of child deaths from abuse and neglect—many more than alcohol, and more than cocaine, methamphetamines, and opioids combined—according to reports from Texas, one of the few states to provide detailed information on drug use by perpetrators.
These crimes rarely receive more than local attention. Psychosis-induced violence takes particularly ugly forms and is frequently directed at helpless family members. The elite national media prefers to ignore the crimes as tabloid fodder. Even police departments, which see this violence up close, have been slow to recognize the trend, in part because the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths has overwhelmed them.
So the black tide of psychosis and the red tide of violence are rising steadily, almost unnoticed, on a slow green wave.
For centuries, people worldwide have understood that cannabis causes mental illness and violence—just as they’ve known that opiates cause addiction and overdose. Hard data on the relationship between marijuana and madness dates back 150 years, to British asylum registers in India. Yet 20 years ago, the United States moved to encourage wider use of cannabis and opiates.
In both cases, we decided we could outsmart these drugs—that we could have their benefits without their costs. And in both cases we were wrong. Opiates are riskier, and the overdose deaths they cause a more imminent crisis, so we have focused on those. But soon enough the mental illness and violence that follow cannabis use will also be too widespread to ignore.
Whether to use cannabis, or any drug, is a personal decision. Whether cannabis should be legal is a political issue. But its precise legal status is far less important than making sure that anyone who uses it is aware of its risks. Most cigarette smokers don’t die of lung cancer. But we have made it widely known that cigarettes cause cancer, full stop. Most people who drink and drive don’t have fatal accidents. But we have highlighted the cases of those who do.
We need equally unambiguous and well-funded advertising campaigns on the risks of cannabis. Instead, we are now in the worst of all worlds. Marijuana is legal in some states, illegal in others, dangerously potent, and sold without warnings everywhere.
But before we can do anything, we—especially cannabis advocates and those in the elite media who have for too long credulously accepted their claims—need to come to terms with the truth about the science on marijuana. That adjustment may be painful. But the alternative is far worse, as the patients at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute—and their victims—know.
Enemies Within The Church
Trevor Loudon discusses his upcoming documentary and fact findings on the infiltration of the church in America. This is a wake up call for America.
New Attorney General William Barr Will NOT Recuse Himself from Mueller Probe
New Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion investigation.Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement, “Following Attorney General Barr’s confirmation, senior career ethics officials advised that Attorney General Barr should not recuse himself from the Special Counsel’s investigation. Consistent with that advice, Attorney General Barr has decided not to recuse.”
Finland's government resigns over failed healthcare reform
Prime Minister Juha Sipila said he was "hugely disappointed" in the outcome.
Finland's extensive welfare systems are under financial pressure as the nation's population ages, yet reform plans remain politically controversial.
Mr Sipila's government is expected to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a planned election in April.
Some political opponents questioned the need for the high-profile resignation of the Centre Party government with just weeks to go until the election.
But Antti Kaikkonen, a senior member of the Centre Party, defended the decision, which was taken after it became clear the party could not achieve its goals.
"If anyone asks what political responsibility means, then I would say that this is an example," he tweeted.
Mr Sipila, a former IT entrepreneur who made millions before entering politics, had previously said he would consider resigning if his primary reform policy failed.
The government had hoped its planned reforms would save up to €3bn (£2.6bn) over the next decade.
What is Finland's healthcare problem?
Like many developed nations, Finland has an ageing population that is putting financial pressure on its social welfare systems.
As an increasing number of people live longer in retirement, the cost of providing pension and healthcare benefits can rise. Those increased costs are paid for by taxes collected from of the working-age population – who make up a smaller percentage of the population than in decades past.
In 2018, those aged 65 or over made up 21.4% of Finland's population, the fourth highest after Germany, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, according to Eurostat.
Finland's welfare system is also generous in its provisions, making it relatively expensive. Attempts at reform have plagued Finnish governments for years. Mr Sipila's proposed solutions included creating regional authorities for health and welfare services, rather than the local municipalities that currently manage the system, and offering including private companies in the healthcare system to a greater extent to offer "freedom of choice".
Mr Sipila's government also famously experimented with a guaranteed minimum income scheme – giving €560 (£480) a month to 2,000 unemployed people as a basic income with no conditions attached.
Initial results suggested the pilot scheme left people happier, but still unemployed.
Mr Sipila's Centre Party has been in a centre-right coalition government since 2015. Since a 2017 re-negotiation, the government has been formed of the Centre Party, the National Coalition, and Blue Reform.
The opposition Social Democrats have taken the lead in recent polls by several percentage points.
Parts of San Francisco resemble the poorest slums in the world -- even though the city is one of the richest in America.
Venezuela was my home, and socialism destroyed it. Slowly, it will destroy America, too.
Daniel Di Martino, Opinion contributor
Published 3:15 a.m. ET Feb. 15, 2019
While neither 'Medicare-for-all' nor a wealth tax will turn America into Venezuela overnight, all it would take is a series of catastrophic policies.The first time I couldn’t buy food at the grocery store, I was 15 years old. It was 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela, and I had spent more than an hour in line waiting. When I got to the register I noticed I’d forgotten my ID that day. Without the ID, the government rationing system would let the supermarket sell my family the full quota of food we needed. It was four days until the government allowed me to buy more.
This was fairly normal for me. All my life I lived under socialism in Venezuela until I left and came to the U.S. as a student in 2016. Since the regime in charge imposed price controls and nationalized the most important private industries, production plummeted. No wonder I had to wait hours in lines to buy simple products such as toothpaste or flour.
And the shortages went far beyond the supermarket.
My family and I suffered from blackouts and lack of water. The regime nationalized electricity in 2007 in an effort to make electricity “free.” Unsurprisingly, this resulted in underinvestment in the electrical grid. By 2016, my home lost power roughly once a week.
Our water situation was even worse. Initially, my family didn’t have running water for only about one day per month, but as the years passed we sometimes went several weeks straight without it. For all these problems, the regime has blamed an iguana, right-wing sabotage, and even the weather.
A rich country, wasted resourcesThe excuses for these shortages were hollow: In reality, Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world to use for electricity, and three times more fresh water resources per person than the United States. The real reason my family went without water and electricity was the socialist economy instituted by the dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.
The welfare programs, many minimum wage hikes, and nationalizations implemented by their regimes resulted in a colossal government deficit that the central bank covered by simply printing more money — leading to rampant inflation. Now, prices double every few weeks and the standard of living continues to plummet.
A man walks past a mosaic depicting late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (left) and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 30, 2019. (Photo11: JUAN BARRETO, AFP/Getty Images)
I watched what was once one of the richest countries in Latin America gradually fall apart under the weight of big government.
I didn’t need to look at statistics to see this, but, rather, at my own family. When Chavez took office in 1999, my parents were earning several thousand dollars per month between the two of them. By 2016, due to inflation, they earned less than $2 per day. If my parents hadn’t fled the country for Spain in 2017, they’d now be earning less than $1 per day, the international definition of extreme poverty. Even now, the inflation rate in Venezuela is expected to reach 10 million percent this year.
Venezuela has become a country where a woeful number of children suffer from malnutrition, and where working two full-time jobs will pay for only six pounds of chicken a month.
American liberals embrace same failed policiesEven though so many of us Venezuelans fled to America to escape from the destructive consequences of socialism, liberal politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., have praised the same kind of policies that produced famine, mass exodus and soaring inflation in Venezuela.
Even worse, in recent weeks, Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna, and Tulsi Gabbard have mischaracterized the current protests against Maduro and condemned President Trump’s widely-supported moves to help end Maduro’s dictatorship.
Additionally, many congressional Democrats support “Medicare-for-all” and the "Green New Deal,” proposals that would nationalize the health insurance industry, guarantee everyone who wants it a job and massively raise taxes, increasing government intervention in the economy like few countries except Cuba and Venezuela have seen before. Proponents think that they can give all Americans quality health care, housing, and everything for free and that somehow politicians can do a better job at running a business than the business owners themselves.
Daniel Di Martino, center, with his parents in Caracas, Venezuela, in December 2016. (Photo11: Family handout)
These proposals would skyrocket the budget deficit and national debt, which just reached a record $22 trillion. If that is not enough, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, endorsed paying for the proposal by asking the Federal Reserve to print money. This is exactly what produced Venezuela’s nightmare.
Still, the liberal economist Paul Krugman recently argued in a column that “whenever you see someone invoking Venezuela as a reason not to consider progressive policy ideas, you know right away that the person in question is uninformed, dishonest, or both.”
I can assure Mr. Krugman that I’m neither uninformed nor dishonest. Of course, it’s true that neither "Medicare-for-all" nor a wealth tax alone would turn the United States into Venezuela overnight. No single radical proposal would do that. However, if all or most of these measures are implemented, they could have the same catastrophic consequences for the American people that they had for Venezuela.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said: “The United States will never be a socialist country.” I sincerely hope the president is right, and that every American can resist the lure of false promises — so this great country can always shine above the dark cloud of socialism, and avoid Venezuela’s fate.
Daniel Di Martino is a Venezuelan expatriate and Young Voices contributor studying economics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Follow him on Twitter @DanielDiMartino.
Laura Loomer published this short film about the current immigration crisis on America’s Southern border and the need for a border wall on the Southern border. Please watch:
UTT: Putting Freedom on the Offensive Where It Belongs