Tuesday, February 20, 2018

FBI: Marijuana Arrests Outpace All Violent Crime

Waking Times | Feb 19, 2018

The Influence - Reminder: the war on drugs is still in full effect.

It may be easy to forget with more and more states turning to legalized recreational and medical marijuana. It can get lost when we hear so many government officials responding to the opioid crisis with calls for compassionate treatment instead of harsh punishments.

But it is happening nonetheless.

Although felt daily in communities across the country, this fact only seems to break into the general consciousness every now and then. A reminder came earlier this week when the FBI released new crime statistics showing a 1.6 percent increase in marijuana-related arrests in 2016 compared to 2015.

The figures represent a change in the overall trend, with marijuana related arrests declining steadily since 2008, and even hitting a two-decade low in 2015. But the numbers still show over 650,000 arrests made in an endless pursuit to rid the country of a non-lethal drug.

To put everything in perspective, the FBI says, “Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 10,662,252 arrests in 2016. Of these arrests, 515,151 were for violent crimes, and 1,353,283 were for property crimes.”

So police arrested more people for marijuana than they did all violent crimes combined.

Again for the people in the back: at a time when more states are legalizing marijuana because they no longer consider it a crime, we are still arresting more marijuana users than violent offenders. To be clear, this country would be thrown into sheer chaos if people committed violent crimes at the same rates they use marijuana. So the fact that arrests for those crimes are lower can be seen as a positive sign in at least one regard.

But the statistics still speak to how law enforcement agencies use our tax dollars and where their priorities lie. It’s a question of resources, both in terms of time and money. In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union found that marijuana arrests cost taxpayers around $3.6 billion in 2010 alone.

How much better could society function if that same $3.6 billion were used to combat property crimes and violent crimes? Or better yet, diverted to other social programs that look to curb recidivism and lower crime rates in the first place? We as citizens have a right to know and decide how our tax money is spent, and if marijuana is a problem, how many people consider it a $3.6 billion problem?

While it’s unclear what caused the uptick in arrests, the fact is they’re still happening. Prevailing attitudes towards marijuana have been changing for years, and in all likelihood they will continue to change as the country as a whole takes a more relaxed attitude toward the drug. Yet every day people are being arrested and forced to pay the penalty for something that may not even be a crime a few miles away. However this news moves you, remember, the war on drugs is far from over.

Also read: Best of the Best: Big Pharma Stands to Lose $18.5 BILLION if Marijuana is Legalized Nationally: Is this Why the Current Administration is Attempting to Halt the Progress of Medical Cannabis? 

Left-wing indoctrination in schools is worse than you think

SOTT | Feb 10, 2018 | John Hinderaker

© Teachers for Social Justice
Edina High School in suburban Minneapolis was long regarded as one of the country's top secondary schools. In recent years, its national ratings and its local reputation have slipped, perhaps in part because teachers are spending time promoting a left-wing agenda and bullying conservative students rather than teaching the subjects they are paid to teach.

Following last November's election, 80 Edina High School teachers - which must represent pretty much the entire faculty - signed an editorial in the school's newspaper that was basically a Democratic Party manifesto. The editorial was authored by Tim Klobuchar (second cousin). It went so far as to oppose calls for unity; unity, it implied, will exist only when all conservatives have been banished from the stage.

We learned of the editorial and other events surrounding the election just a few days ago, and I wrote about left-wing indoctrination at Edina High School on Center of the American Experiment's web site. This caused more students and teachers to get in touch with us, and I did follow-up posts here and here. Stories about abuse at the hands of bullying left-wing teachers continue to come in.

Not many things shock me, but I confess that I have been shocked by what I have learned about the Edina public school system. Indoctrination in left-wing politics begins in elementary school, where children are taught the pernicious doctrine of "white privilege." In Edina, not even bus drivers are exempt: they, too, are required to take political re-education classes.

Read more at SOTT..

How Jordan Peterson's stoic world view provides an antidote to nihilism, identity politics and the tribalism of cultural Marxism

SOTT | Feb 17, 2018 | Breda O'Brien


Irish Times - It reflects how polarised our age has become that Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian professor of psychology, has become both a cultural rock star and an object of intense hate.

For Camille Paglia, the contrarian social historian, he is "the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan". (I would give the philosopher Charles Taylor that prize.)

Canadian columnist Tabatha Southey dismissed Peterson as "the stupid man's smart person" in a snarky article where she lampoons "his long, rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies".

Peterson came to public attention when he opposed a Canadian law that added gender expression and identity to anti-discrimination law. He objected to the law being used to force people to use pronouns such as "ze" and "zher".

However, he also said that if a student approached him and asked him to use different pronouns, he would do so. Peterson's battle is with an overweening state, and oppressive political correctness.

He has become a hero, particularly for young men, and for North American Christians. He also has a following among the alt-right, though Peterson's defenders point out that one cannot choose one's supporters.

Jung devotee

On the surface, his popularity is inexplicable. His YouTube videos are often more than two hours long and get hundreds of thousands of views of views. The most popular, Biblical Series I: Introduction to the Idea of God, is more than 2½ hours long and has been viewed more than 1½ million times. Peterson is open about suffering from depression. He is a Carl Jung devotee and he assumes a familiarity with figures such as Dostoevsky and Orwell.

He derides positive thinking because he believes life is tragic and believes we should try to find meaning by incremental small changes.
For Peterson, the Judeo-Christian tradition is a vast, symbolic repository of culture, with a key message about how to live a moral life
A few weeks ago, Cathy Newman interviewed him on Channel Four 4, and spent almost half an hour trying to frame this self-described "classic British liberal" as a misogynistic, alt-right provocateur.

Peterson's lifetime as a clinical psychologist was obvious, as he patiently rebutted the caricature of his views again and again.

The interview spawned a thousand memes. A typical one has Peterson saying: "I had bacon and eggs for breakfast." Newman responds: "So you're saying kill all vegans?"

Of course, the interview was not that bad, just an example of an interviewing style where the interviewer sees himself or herself as a protagonist debating with a person who holds dubious views, rather than someone helping the viewer to learn what the interviewee actually thinks.

Newman used the phrase "so what you are saying" or something similar 26 times and at no time did her summary accurately reflect what Peterson was saying.

The interview has had about three million hits and pushed Peterson's book 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos even further up the best-sellers' lists in Canada, the United States and the UK.

You would think he would be happy. But he is not. He believes that the interview is just another symptom of dangerous polarisation in society, one that could very easily tip over into violence.

He wants to meet Newman on camera again to really talk and listen to each other.

Psychologist

From reading and watching him, I think there are a number of keys to Peterson's thought processes.

First, he is a psychologist, focused on how individuals can live meaningful lives. His emphasis on individualism is at odds with this era of identity politics, which often manifests as tribalistic condemnation of those who hold heretical views.

Second, he is a Jungian psychologist. He sees the world in mythological and archetypal terms, so when he says that masculine energy manifests as order, and feminine energy as chaos, he claims he is not being sexist or misogynistic. Order can degenerate into totalitarianism, while without chaos there is no creativity or growth. However, the description is inexplicable to those unfamiliar with Jung.

Third, the extremism of the 20th century which saw totalitarian regimes murder countless millions fills him with visceral horror.

He feels that we all potentially have a Nazi camp guard within us, and unless we look at that dark, shadow side (there's Jung again), human beings are capable of similar atrocities again.

Fourth, there is little in his metaphysical world view that would trouble an open-minded agnostic. He is not a churchgoer, and said recently he needs three more years of study before he could state whether he believes in Christ's resurrection.

For Peterson, the Judeo-Christian tradition is a vast, symbolic repository of culture, with a key message about how to live a moral life. It is about incremental improvement, not about openness to transcendental grace. In Peterson's world, you save yourself.

What is the root of his popularity? He is offering something other than ironic, hipsterish nihilism with a side order of avocado toast.

Whether you agree with his conclusions or not (and I often don't), he is patently someone who has sincerely and deeply thought about the deeper questions.

He also has tremendous courage, risking being fired from his university for his views long before he knew he would become a YouTube sensation.

Young men in particular are responding to his injunction to grow up, to take responsibility, to become competent. That cannot be bad.

Agitprop Is Not News

Kunstler.com | Feb 20, 2018 | Howard Kunstler

© merriam-webster.com
Forget about sharks. In their Valentine’s Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials’ Warnings on Russia?, The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said:
The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country’s political and social divisions.
Hmmm…. After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don’t you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world — maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart’s bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they’ll bother with our elections.

Let’s face it, the United States is doing a stellar job of destroying itself with bad ideas, foolish ideologies, and pervasive self-deceit. If I was running the Russian intel services, I’d just pay to send a few Nebraska county commissioners to Disneyland — that would keep our seventeen US intel agencies busy until kingdom come trying to figure out the angle. And it would cheaper than spending a hundred grand to fuck with Facebook.

Actually the Times’s editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already “meddling” in 2018 elections that haven’t happened yet, aren’t our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times presented no evidence whatsoever that this alleged “meddling” is taking place. They just assert it, as if it were already adjudicated.

But then they take it another step, making the case that because Mr. Trump does not go along with the Russian Meddling story, he is obstructing efforts to prevent Russian interference in the elections that haven’t happened yet, and is therefore by implication guilty of treason. A fine piece of casuistry.

The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures “colluding” with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the “Steele Dossier” and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary’s and John Podesta’s email.

There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN “analyst,” taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war.

The “resistance” may think it is getting some mileage out of this interminable narrative, but its arrant inconsistencies only undermine faith in all our political institutions, and that is really playing with fire. We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn’t have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present — especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some way that will work in a very different economy.

Update 1:00pm Friday: Robert Mueller’s office announced indictment of thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian “entities” for alleged “interference” in US elections. The indictments refer, apparently, to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts put up by Russians. In other words, Mickey Mouse charges. Wait for the ham sandwich to be indicted

* * *

PS: Readers may wonder why I did not devote this space to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It is exactly what you get in a society that wants to erase behavioral boundaries. It is especially dangerous where adolescent boys are concerned. The country has a gigantic boundary problem. We have also created perfect conditions — between the anomie of suburbia and the dreariness of our school systems — to induce explosions of violent despair. That’s why these things happen. Until we change these conditions, expect ever more of it.

Reality Check: Trump Did Not Make It Easier for Severely Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns

Ben Swann | Feb 20, 2018

The latest mass shooting at a school in Florida is once again reigniting the debate over gun control and mental health. But now the media headlines are blaming President Trump because, they say, he signed a bill that actually made it easier for people with severe mental health problems to get guns. Is that true? Let's give it a Reality Check you won't get anywhere else.

Ben Swann links..

Israel Arming at Least Seven Syrian Rebel Groups

AntiWar | Feb 19, 2018 | Jason Ditz

Syria puts Israeli arms seized from rebels on display
Israel’s mounting interest in Syria’s War, and in particular in picking fights with the Assad government, Iran, and any other Shi’ite factions in the country, have included reports by analysts of a growing amount of Israeli arms and ammunition flowing across the border for rebels.

Officially, Israel isn’t a big fan on Sunni Islamist organizations. Such groups are the bulk of the rebellion on the Golan frontier, and that’s made them groups Israel has a very serious interest in seeing survive and thrive on the border.

Analysts say Israel is directly arming at least seven groups in the area. To be clear, no specific factions are named in any of these reports, but past reports have put Israel on the side of some very unfashionable groups, like al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which have been active in the area for some time.

Israeli officials have been very public in the past saying they prefer ISIS over the Alawite government in Syria. Expressing such a preference and arming terrorists are two different things, and Israel’s effort to step up arming for Islamist groups risks regional blowback.