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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Mueller News Conference/5/29/2019

Friday, May 31st, 2019

      The bizarre news conference called by Robert Mueller did not help clear up the mess he had made of his 2-year effort to bring down President Trump. To follow are 2 excellent reviews of what Mueller said and what it all might mean.

 

Richard Viguerie’s

CONSERVATIVEHQ

Mueller’s Bitter End

George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 5/30/19

Note to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his band of angry Democrats: There is insufficient evidence to charge me in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, but that doesn’t mean that you should encourage Congress to spend the next two years harassing me about it.

Robert Mueller’s hastily called press conference yielded one thing, and one thing only; a last opportunity for Mueller to encourage the overthrow of the President he despises, but was incapable of overthrowing himself.

Beyond infuriating Democrats by announcing that “…the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress…” Mueller stated only the obvious: “…there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” and “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

The further problem for Trump-haters is that buried in Mueller’s statement was an important statement of fact that further exonerates President Trump:

“…the [Department of Justice] opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.” (Emphasis ours.)

In other words, had there been evidence uncovered that Donald Trump conspired with anyone to obstruct justice, the co-conspirators could have and would have been charged, even if the President is shielded from such a charge by the Constitution.

After Mueller’s exhaustive investigation no co-conspirators in any cover-up or conspiracy to obstruct justice were charged and the Special Counsel announced when the final report was filed there would be no further indictments, ergo, there is no conspiracy to obstruct justice or cover-up for House Democrats to investigate.

Many anti-Trump media commentators and all of the radical Leftists vying for the Democratic nomination for President seem to have interpreted some of Mueller’s remarks as an invitation or referral to Congress to begin an investigation and impeachment hearings.

And that may be Robert Mueller’s fervent wish for the outcome of his investigation and yesterday’s press conference, but that is not what he said. What he said was not a reference to specific conduct that might be impeachable, but rather a simple statement of fact:

“…second, the [Department of Justice] opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing. And beyond Department policy we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

So that was Justice Department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated and from them we concluded that we would not reach a determination, one way or the other, about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office’s — that is the office’s final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.”

The Department of Justice “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing,” but there is no statement of any fact that constitutes criminal wrongdoing to trigger that process, no co-conspirators charged in an alleged cover-up or obstruction of justice. Far from making an “impeachment referral” to Congress, all Mueller did was to state the well-known constitutional law that governs the decision not to charge a sitting president, any sitting president, with a federal crime.

Somewhat like those of the ancient oracle of Delphi, Robert Mueller’s pronouncements will be interpreted to justify the desires of those hearing them. So, regardless of what Robert Mueller said yesterday, or what is in the plain language of the Special Counsel’s report, in the end Trump-haters, House Democrats hungry for TV time during impeachment hearings, and the radical Far Left Democrats running for President, will all do what they perceive to be is in their political self-interest. And, recognizing that that is their motivation, fair-minded Americans should not allow them to get away with claiming otherwise.

 

Daily Wire

4 Key Takeaways From Robert Mueller’s Farewell Address

Alex Wong/Getty Images

By Ben Shapiro

@benshapiro

May 29, 2019

On Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally emerged from the shadows to make a declaration: he’s leaving, and he’s taking the dog. According to Mueller, his job here is finished, since his 448-page report on Russian election interference and Trump administration obstruction has concluded. What’s more, according to Mueller, the country is better off for the Mueller investigation having taken place, despite two years, billions of dollars in media coverage, and no actual conclusion.

 

Trump Reacts To Mueller Statement: ‘Nothing Changes…Case Is Closed’

Well, then.

There were a few key messages in Mueller’s valedictory.

  1. Mueller’s Original Brief Was Limited. Mueller began his statement by recognizing that his original brief was to investigate “Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.” He proceeded to outline the fact that this interference was highly damaging to the political process: “As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military, launched a concerted attack on our political system.” All of this is fine and dandy; there’s little controversy over any of it.
  2. Mueller’s Investigation Never Should Have Included Obstruction by Trump. Mueller then moved on to his explanation of his investigation of obstruction. Unlike the election interference investigation, which began as a counterintelligence investigation inside the FBI, the obstruction investigation began as a criminal investigation — and a criminal investigation that Mueller admits he never had the authority to conclude. Mueller stated regarding Russian interference, “It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.” That would be true of Trump’s associates. That would not be true of Trump himself — Mueller recognizes that he never had the authority to indict a sitting president. He explained:

[U]nder longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.

Yet Mueller proceeded to write two hundred pages about Trump himself, and his conduct. This means that Mueller spent tens of millions of dollars and years of time investigating unindictable conduct. So what the hell was he doing? Mueller provided two separate explanations for the investigation of Trump’s conduct: first, he said, the investigation was permitted because it is “important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available.” Evidence of what, though? A crime? But Mueller refused to allege a crime. So evidence of something — something that wasn’t prosecutable right now, and that Mueller refused to suggest amounted to a crime for the future. Mueller himself said the investigation was justified because perhaps it would have resulted in evidence that “could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.” But Mueller didn’t charge co-conspirators in obstruction. This is bizarre, at least.

Mueller’s second justification is more obvious: he essentially said he was doing Congress’ impeachment groundwork for them. “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller stated. This is an invitation to impeachment.

But that’s not Mueller’s job. He is a member of the executive branch. He is not an independent counsel. He is not a legislative investigator. A criminal investigation that cannot possibly result in charges is a conflict in terms. Mueller never should have agreed to such an investigation under the law, and Mueller’s own standard makes that clear.

 

  1. Mueller Wants Trump To Go Down, But Wouldn’t Call For Prosecution. Mueller infamously stated that there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.” So far, so good. That’s a prosecutorial statement in prosecutorial language. But then Mueller wildly exceeded his brief. In fact, he pulled a James Comey: he effectively indicted Trump for supposed non-crimes publicly, the same way Comey did Hillary Clinton. Of course, he said he would never do that: “It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.”

That’s pretty rich, coming just paragraphs after Mueller accused Trump of a non-crime without the possibility of resolution of the actual charge:

If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime….we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.

Trump’s opponents have hung their hats on this statement to show that Trump only escaped prosecution because he was the president, and because of the Department of Justice regulations. But that’s not quite right. In actuality, Mueller said that the DOJ regulations created a threshold barrier to a decision: he had no right to make a decision, he said, because no prosecution was available. Thus, he made no decision. Instead, he decided to publicly say he could not exonerate Trump. Now, presumably that remark was directed toward Trump’s false statements that he had been totally exonerated. But it was partisan and inappropriate for a man of Mueller’s stature: the comments effectively shifted the burden of proof from Mueller to Trump himself.

It’s not Mueller’s job to exonerate anyone. It’s his job to prosecute or not prosecute. Instead, he told everyone that Trump might be prosecutable, but he couldn’t really say, but still, there might be impeachment available. The proper language here would have been the same as the language surrounding collusion: “insufficient evidence.” But instead, Mueller refused to say even that.

Was any of this supposed to be in the purview of Mueller’s activity?

 

  1. Mueller Didn’t Expose Barr As A Perjurer Or Obstructor Of Justice. Barr stated in public testimony that Mueller told him “several times in a group meeting that he was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction.” Here, Mueller stated that he could not prosecute, and that he would not say whether Trump had committed a crime. These two statements are not actually in conflict. Mueller may well have told Barr that he had not reached a determination on obstruction, and that he saw no reason to do so. That’s what he told the public, after all. Furthermore, Mueller explained that he didn’t question Barr’s “good faith” in his decision to “make the entire report public all at once.” So much for Barr’s supposed obstruction.

Then, Mueller said that he was out. Done. Finito. He explained that, having created a political Rorschach test, he would now act like Watchmen’s Rorshach: “all the whores and politicians will look up and shout: ‘Save us!’ And I’ll look down and whisper, ‘No.’” Mueller stated, “the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.”

Did Mueller clarify anything today? Only that he exceeded his original mandate — that after conducting a thorough investigation, he was willing to inject himself into the political process rather than sticking to his role. That’s damning not just for Trump — who will now have to face down Democrats calling for his political head — but for a career prosecutor who decided that the business of criminal prosecution was too difficult, and that he’d prefer to serve as a roadbuilder for impeachment.

 

 

George Washington Elected

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

On Februart 4, 1789, the first Electoral College convened and elected George Washington as the first president of the United States. Only 10 states were represented in the college. Some had not held their presidential election yet, and others hadn’t yet ratified the Constitution and were therefore ineligible to vote. Congress finally certified the results on April 6, after a quorum was established. Each elector had two votes: all 69 electors present cast one of their votes for Washington. The second vote went toward determining who would be the vice president. John Adams was the runner up, with 34 votes. He provided balance to the ticket, too: he was from Massachusetts, and Washington was from Virginia, which was the largest state at that time.

Washington had led the Continental army to victory in the American Revolution, and he had served as the president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, so he was an easy choice, and perhaps the only choice. But he really didn’t want the job. He wrote to a friend, “My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to his place of execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an Ocean of difficulties …”

At his inauguration on April 30, Washington wore a simple suit of brown broadcloth. According to the journal of a senator who was present at his swearing in, Washington was very nervous: “This great man was agitated and embarrassed more than ever he was by the leveled cannon or musket.” Washington admitted as much in his inaugural address to Congress: “Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order.”

The details of the office — and indeed, the entire system of American government — were still being hammered out when he took office. Throughout his presidency, Washington took great pains to distance himself from the monarchical customs and ceremonies of Britain. When the Senate asked him how he wanted to be addressed, and offered “His Highness” as an option, he turned them down in favor of the less lofty “Mr. President.” He didn’t wear a military uniform or any robes of state to official functions, appearing instead in a black velvet suit.

Washington served two terms and then stepped down in 1797, despite many calls for him to continue in office. He believed that it was crucial to set the precedent for a peaceful transition, and he longed for a quiet retirement at Mount Vernon, his Virginia plantation. He composed his 32-page farewell address with the help of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. In his speech, he urged the nation to think of itself as a unified body. He said that partisanship “serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.”

Washington only got to enjoy the quiet life at Mount Vernon for two years. He died of epiglottitis, a severe throat infection, in 1799.

 

At Last The Mueller Probe Has Been Released

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

THE DAILY WIRE

On Friday afternoon, at 5 PM EDT,March 21, 2019, the Justice Department confirmed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had indeed turned in his long-awaited report on supposed Trump-Russia collusion. Attorney General William Barr then released a letter to the ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees informing them that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”

Under Department of Justice regulations, Barr must review the Mueller report for release; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a letter last year suggesting that no allegations concerning non-criminal activity would be released to the public. Late on Friday afternoon, multiple news outlets broke the story that Mueller had recommended no further indictments in his report.

The Mueller report represents the conclusion of a nearly two-year-long inquiry under Mueller’s auspices, begun when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey.

Democrats have been clamoring for a full release of the Mueller report, presuming that a redacted report will be far less damaging to President Trump than the full report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement calling on Barr to “make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” declaring that the “White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”

It remains to be seen how much information Barr releases publicly.

 

Many in the media continue to report, despite the lack of further indictments, that prosecutions that have already taken place somehow provide evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. This is flatly false. None of the indictments already pursued concern collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that implicates Trump or any high-ranking campaign officials. With that said, it is possible that Mueller recommended no further indictments thanks to DOJ regulations that state a sitting president cannot be indicted. We won’t know the full extent of that possibility until we learn the details of the report.

Meanwhile, media members have already turned their eyes hopefully to the Southern District of New York, where the possibility of criminal indictment against President Trump on the basis of campaign finance violations remains.

 

The Truth About Marijuana/Mental Illness And Violence

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

IMPRIMUS

HILLSDALE  COLLEGE

Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

January 2019 • Volume 48, Number 1Alex Berenson

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 need opiates, 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.

 

Rats/Filth/Trash In Our Cities

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Freedom Outpost

Rats, Public Defecation & Open Drug Use: Our Major Western Cities Are Becoming Uninhabitable Hellholes

Michael SnyderFebruary 13, 2019

Almost everyone that goes out to visit one of our major cities on the west coast has a similar reaction.  Those that must live among the escalating decay are often numb to it, but most of those that are just in town for a visit are absolutely shocked by all of the trash, human defecation, crime and public drug use that they encounter.  Once upon a time, our beautiful western cities were the envy of the rest of the world, but now they serve as shining examples of America’s accelerating decline.  The worst parts of our major western cities literally look like post-apocalyptic wastelands, and the hordes of zombified homeless people that live in those areas are too drugged-out to care.  The ironic thing is that these cities are not poor.  In fact, San Francisco and Seattle are among the wealthiest cities in the entire nation.  So if things are falling apart this dramatically now, how bad will things get when economic conditions really start to deteriorate?

Let’s start our discussion by looking at the rat epidemic in Los Angeles.  Thanks to extremely poor public sanitation, rats are breeding like mad, and at this point, they have even conquered Los Angeles City Hall

Officials at Los Angeles’ City Hall are considering ripping all of the building’s carpets up, as rats and fleas are said to be running riot in its halls.

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A motion was filed by Council President Herb Wesson on Wednesday to enact the much needed makeover amid a typhus outbreak in the downtown area.

Wesson said a city employee had contracted the deadly bacterial disease at work, and now he’s urging officials to investigate the ‘scope’ of the long-running pest problem at the council building.

People from all over the world are drawn to Los Angeles because of what they have seen on television, but it is truly a filthy, filthy place.  The number of homeless has been rising about 20 percent a year, public drug use is seemingly everywhere, and there are mountains of trash all over the place.  Needless to say, rats thrive in such an environment, and the epic battle that one L.A. journalist is having with rats was recently featured in the L.A. Times

Eastside, Westside, north and south, they’re everywhere. If you’re a rat, the California housing crisis has not hit you yet and it never will.

At our house, it sounded like the rats were having relay races in the ceiling, and they don’t wear sneakers. Your eyes blink and your leg twitches as you drift off to sleep knowing that if the plague comes back, you are living at ground zero.

In our garden, they devoured entire heads of lettuce. They destroyed my squash just before it was ripe and ready to eat. They stole my tomatoes, cilantro and Anaheim chili peppers. Were they bottling their own salsa?

But let’s not be too hard on Los Angeles, because the same things that are going on there are happening in major cities all over the western portion of the country.

For example, a massive rat infestation recently forced authorities to close a shockingly filthy homeless encampment under a bridge in Salem, Oregon

Amid the trash, human despair and anguish, one weeping woman prepared to leave the most recent place she knows as home without any real inkling of where she’ll go next.

Terry Balow, an outreach worker with the Salvation Army, has been here for the darker moments of living life under a bridge — anger, mental illness, drug use and human frustration boiling over at times everywhere one looks.

Yet it was a rat infestation and concern about human health that prompted the city of Salem to move the campers out.

“It just grew and grew and got worse,” Balow said. “It’s badder than people can imagine.”

Yes, there have always been homeless encampments in this country, but in modern times we have never faced anything on the scale that we are facing now.

More than half a million Americans are homeless right now, and that number continues to grow.  And as it grows, communities will increasingly be forced to make some tough decisions.

I am quite eager to talk about San Francisco, but before we get to the City by the Bay, let’s take note of something that just happened in Denver.

If you are into public defecation, you will be very happy to learn that Denver just made it legal

First, the obvious: The Denver City Council has voted unanimously to decriminalize a number of offenses, including defecating in public. Also, urinating in public. Camping on public or private land without permission. Panhandling. And lying across public rights-of-way, such as sidewalks.

Democrat Mayor Michael Hancock and city officials explained the new ordinances are designed to protect immigrants — legal and the other kind — from “unintended consequences.” These consequences were fines and longer jail terms, as has been customary in most places for violating the behavioral norms of civilized American society.

If only America’s founders could see us now.

They would be so proud.

Speaking of public defecation, San Francisco has become world famous for the piles of human poop that constantly litter their streets.  During one seven day stretch last summer, a total of 16,000 official complaints were submitted to the city about human feces.

Blessed with such beautiful natural surroundings and so much wealth, San Francisco should be a great place to visit, but that definitely is not the case.

When reporter John Stossel recently visited San Francisco, he was stunned by what he found

San Francisco is a pretty good place to “hang out with a sign.” People are rarely arrested for vagrancy, aggressive panhandling or going to the bathroom in front of people’s homes. In 2015, there were 60,491 complaints to police, but only 125 people were arrested.

Public drug use is generally ignored. One woman told us, “It’s nasty seeing people shoot up — right in front of you. Police don’t do anything about it! They’ll get somebody for drinking a beer but walk right past people using needles.”

In San Francisco, they actually give out free syringes to drug addicts, and it is being reported that they handed out a total of 5.8 million free syringes in 2018.

That is a lot of syringes.

They also try to get the syringes back in order to prevent the spread of disease, but that hasn’t been too successful

There’s just one problem – well, more than one – despite spending an extra $1.8 million last year in an effort to retrieve needles, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the department handed out about 2 million more syringes than it got back… many of which are now washing around the streets of one of the richest cities in America (along with the feces of their users).

And with so much public drug use going on, it should be no surprise that crime is completely and totally out of control.  Here is more from John Stossel

Each day in San Francisco, an average of 85 cars are broken into.

“Inside Edition” ran a test to see how long stereo equipment would last in a parked car. Their test car was quickly broken into. Then the camera crew discovered that their own car had been busted into as well.

It has been said that “as goes California, so goes the country”, and if this is where the rest of the nation is headed then we are in serious trouble.

When Bill Blain recently visited San Francisco, he was so horrified by what he encountered that he felt he must write about it

I hope my American hosts will forgive me for raising this, but the squalor we saw in The City was frightful. San Francisco has always been one of favourite US cities, but the degree of homelessness, mental illness and drug abuse we saw on this trip was truly shocking. Walking round SF on a Sunday Morning and we saw sights we couldn’t believe. This must be one of the richest cities in the world – home to 4 of the 10 richest people on the planet according to Wiki. I asked friends about it, and they shrugged it off.. “The City has always attracted the homeless because of the mild weather,”.. “It’s a drug thing”.. “its too difficult”… “you get used to it..”

Well, I didn’t.

I found it quite shocking the number of folk sleeping rough on the sidewalks, the smell of weed and drug impedimenta everywhere, the filth, mental illness and degradation on view just a few meters from the financial centre driving Silicon Valley. It’s a city where the destitute seem to have become invisible to the Uber hailing elites. We found ourselves hopping on one of the beautiful F-Route Trolley Buses to find nearly every seat occupied by someone lugging around their worldly possessions around in a plastic bag. It was desperately sad.

San Francisco has a new mayor, and they are going to spend millions upon millions of dollars to try to clean up the streets.

But it won’t be easy to turn things around, because more drug users and homeless people are moving into the city every single day

And San Francisco is generous. It offers street people food stamps, free shelter, train tickets and $70 a month in cash.

“They’re always offering resources,” one man dressed as Santa told us. “San Francisco’s just a good place to hang out.”

So, every week, new people arrive.

We like to think that we are setting a positive example to the rest of the world, but the truth is that they are laughing at us.

America is in an advanced state of decay, and it is getting worse with each passing year.

If we keep doing the same things we will keep getting the same results, and right now there are no signs that the overall direction of this nation will change any time soon.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

 

 


William S. Frankl, MD, All Rights Reserved