Friday, October 28, 2016

Anthony Weiner's Laptop Has Emails Which May Incriminate Hillary Clinton

New Emails in Clinton Case Came From Devices Once Used by Anthony Weiner

Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton on the campaign’s plane on Friday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A new trove of emails that appear pertinent to the now-closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was discovered after the F.B.I. seized at least one electronic device shared by Anthony D. Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, federal law enforcement officials said Friday.
The F.B.I. is investigating illicit text messages that Mr. Weiner, a former Democratic congressman from New York, sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case — one federal official said they numbered in the tens of thousands — potentially reigniting an issue that has weighed on the presidential campaign and offering a lifeline to Donald J. Trump less than two weeks before the election.
In a news conference in Des Moines, Mrs. Clinton called on the F.B.I. to release more information about what it had found “without delay,” and insisted that she was confident there would be no change to the F.B.I.’s decision to drop the case last summer.
“The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately,” she said.
In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that emails had surfaced in a case unrelated to the Clinton case, and that they “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
Anthony Weiner at the Democratic National Convention in July. CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. was taking steps to “determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” He said he did not know how long it would take to review the emails, or whether the new information was significant.
Mr. Trump has fallen behind Mrs. Clinton in most national polls and in many key states. Polls have been tightening in recent days, however, amid the daily release of hacked Clinton campaign emails published byWikiLeaks.
Mr. Trump seized on the F.B.I. action on Friday at a rally in New Hampshire. To cheers of “lock her up” from his supporters, Mr. Trump said: “Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”
After deriding the F.B.I. for weeks as inept and corrupt, Mr. Trump went on to praise the law enforcement agency.
“I have great respect for the fact that the F.B.I. and the D.O.J. are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” Mr. Trump said, referring also to the Department of Justice. “This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”


Document: Letter to Congress From F.B.I. Director on Clinton Email Case


The Clinton campaign called on Mr. Comey to provide information beyond what was put forth in the letter.
“Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the director himself notes they may not even be significant,” said John D. Podesta, chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
He added: “It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.”
Mrs. Clinton, arriving Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, waved at members of the media gathered on the tarmac but ignored shouted questions.
The Republican National Committee cheered the new attention on Mrs. Clinton’s emails as a potential turning point in the race.
“The F.B.I.’s decision to reopen their criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret email server just 11 days before the election shows how serious this discovery must be,” Reince Priebus, the Republican committee chairman, said in a statement. “This stunning development raises serious questions about what records may not have been turned over and why, and whether they show intent to violate the law.”
In July, Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. had closed the investigation after determining that no one should face criminal charges. But Mr. Comey did criticize Mrs. Clinton and her aides for what he termed the “extremely careless” handling of sensitive information.
Ms. Abedin separated from Mr. Weiner in August after it emerged that he was exchanging lewd messages with a woman on social media. Such behavior had destroyed his congressional career and his 2013 mayoral campaign.
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s association with the couple as an example of her bad judgment.
“I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” Mr. Trump said last summer. “Who knows what he learned and who he told?”

Correction: October 28, 2016 
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported when the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, announced that the bureau had closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use. It was in July, not September.

See Also:

Benghazi on the Record: Asked and Answered

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New York City Council Members Want a $36,000 Raise, So They Vote and Give Themselves The Money

That is an easy way to scam the public.

Good job, City Council!

Betsy Combier
Editor, National Public Voice
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Crain's Business EDITORIAL

Council's tortured pay-raise saga shows members still don't get it

FEBRUARY 5, 2016

The city’s process for raising elected officials’ pay involves recommendations from an independent commission. And for good reason: so the public can trust that the pay raise is warranted. Yet City Council members declared that they deserved a salary well above what the commission proposed: $148,500 instead of $138,315. And that only they should get more than was suggested—not the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents or district attorneys.
On Friday, council members voted 40 to 7 to give themselves that hefty $36,000 raise. If their goal was to increase cynicism, they did a bang-up job. But they weren’t done. Their self-serving justifications and hurried vote only made matters worse. The members tried to sell their disingenuous move by packaging it with reforms sought by good-government groups. The reforms increase transparency, limit members’ outside income and—ironically—preclude future councils from raising their own pay, as this council is doing. The council should be willing to pass reforms without the quid pro quo of a pay raise. After all, improving the government is their job, not something that merits a permanent annual bonus.
One of the reforms—elimination of the stipends that members receive for holding "leadership positions" and for chairing committees, subcommittees and task forces—is being oversold. Members say this will reduce the council speaker’s power over them, as she is the one who hands out their titles (which are held by an absurd 46 of the 51 members and boost their $112,500 salaries by an average of 10%). But members treasure these appointments for many reasons besides the money. They love the titles, the power to steer legislation and hold hearings, the media opportunities and the fundraising advantage.
When a member chairs the Land Use Committee, for example, real estate interests shower him with donations without even being asked. Members say preventing them from having second jobs will deter corruption. That’s true in Albany, where legislators have a light work schedule, a low base salary and usually another job. But corruption, thankfully, is less of an issue in the council, where members already make a decent living.
Banning outside income is a solution in search of a problem. Few council members even have a second job. To cap off this escapade, the council rushed the legislation through, scheduling a rare Friday vote even though the pay increase is retroactive to Jan. 1. The only point of hurrying was to limit the chance for criticism. Accepting the commission’s recommended raise, which outpaced inflation, would have conveyed that elected officials are not their own bosses. In giving themselves an increase of their choosing, council members strengthened the case against one. – THE EDITORS
A version of this article appears in the February 8, 2016, print issue of Crain's New York Business.

Monday, January 18, 2016

JOSEPH MARGULIES: Criminal Justice Must Be Organized Around Dignity, Community, and Equality

Reform and the Failure of Imagination
LINK
Blind JusticeThese are peculiar times. On the one hand, uttering the words, “criminal justice reform” is an invitation to what a friend once described as a state of heated agreement. As I have often described, and as all can see, there is an accelerating recognition that the American criminal justice system is badly broken and in desperate need of repair.
This is strange enough, given the long and enduring enthusiasm for punishment and demonization in this country. Even more curious is the satisfaction the chattering class seems to derive from declaring, again and again, how bad things have become. The declaration seems to act as a kind of penance, expiating the sin of prolonged ignorance.
And spare me the prattle about the size, cost, and moral bankruptcy of the carceral state, as though repeating it yet again, this time with feeling, will account for the energy that finally swirls around the topic. The conditions that now attract so much attention have existed for years, and cannot remotely explain the relatively sudden interest in reform.
Yet on the other hand, the gathering intensity and increasing popularity of these declarations is not matched by anything in the policy pipeline (as opposed to the research pipeline) that has the slightest chance to effect meaningful reform, let alone achieve a genuine transformation of the criminal justice system.
Indeed, as the call for change grows louder, consensus seems to coalesce around programs like the Justice Reinvestment Initiative that are least likely to achieve comprehensive change. This produces the most curious condition of all: the more people want things to be different, the more likely they are to stay the same. How can we get at the root of a paradox like that?
* * *
Criminal justice reform in the United States suffers from three, overlapping and equally serious flaws. First, as I have written before, it focuses overwhelmingly on the back end of the system—that is, on the institutions and practices that shape the lives of people who have already been convicted or sentenced to prison. The reforms that attract the most attention, especially among politicians, say almost nothing about the front end—policing, prosecution, and defense services.
Second, criminal justice reform assiduously avoids questions of race. The most widely imitated reforms in state houses across the country and the halls of the U.S. Capitol treat race and racial disparity as though they were obscenities, not to be uttered in polite conversation. The silence surrounding Black Lives Matter and other anti-police-violence movements, for instance, is deafening.
And third, reform expends nearly all its energy on the hunt for the elusive low-level, non-violent drug offender. But as I have noted elsewhere, “drug offenders represent only 20 percent of the prison population nationwide, and only a small fraction of these people are both low-level and have no history of violence. Tracking down this particular inmate is like hunting for a snark.”
Taken together, these three limitations—the refusal to address the front end of the system, the failure to confront questions of race, and the obsessive focus on a very small number of unrepresentative offenders—all but guarantee that criminal justice reform will be modest and incremental at best. Of course, even modest and incremental improvements are better than nothing. But it would be a terrible shame for this moment to pass with no more to show for it than tinkering.
These limitations represent an acute failure of imagination. Policymakers cannot or will not imagine a criminal justice world meaningfully different from the one we have created. To encourage this mental leap, I have urged the development of an alternative,transformative vision for criminal justice organized around three, inviolable principles: dignity; community; and equality.
In response to this call, some people have wondered how to get from here to there. At one level, this is a question about how and why reform happens in the United States, which is a complex phenomenon. But as I have shown elsewhere, to win widespread support for major institutional change in the United States, reformers must construct a narrative that successfully casts the offending institutions as “un-American”—that is, as a betrayal of the potent myths and iconic ideals of national identity. Developing such a narrative does not guarantee a movement’s success—much also depends on expanding political opportunities. But not developing it guarantees a movement’s failure.
And therein lay the problem. Despite all the talk about criminal justice reform, the narrative of the punitive era remains fundamentally unchallenged and unchanged. That narrative runs something like this: The most important role for the state is to guarantee the security of a person’s life and property. Some people threaten that security for no good reason other than personal failings, and it is the responsibility of all law-abiding citizens to see to it that the state has the power and resources it needs to fulfill its central mission.
This deceptively simple narrative is the foundation upon which the entire architecture of the carceral state has been constructed. It gave rise to an interlocking set of institutions, rules, and practices at every phase of the criminal justice system, from the first contact with the police to the enduring disabilities imposed after release from prison. Collectively, this elaborate lattice enabled the state to accomplish what had been constructed as its primary mission—viz., to separate “us” from “them” as thoroughly as possible.
To ensure their legitimacy in a post-civil rights era, these rules, practices, and institutions had to have several characteristics. First, they had to be facially neutral, which honored the newfound creedal commitment to formal equality and permitted the belief that racial or ethnic disparities in criminal justice derive entirely from different rates of offending. They allowed the state, in other words, to appear fair.
Second, the entire system had to be inscribed into the written law, which encouraged the myth that ours is a government of laws and not of men. And finally, it had to protect and promote the historic attachment to individual liberty and private property, which allowed it to claim the legitimacy that comes from a long and uninterrupted pedigree.
The creation of the carceral state was of course more complex than I suggest here. The narrative of the punitive era also had to fit other emerging narratives of the late 20th century, like the elevation of individual responsibility that lay behind the gradual decline of the welfare state and the triumph of a colorblind ethos. The punitive narrative also needed to create heroes and demons (the over-worked prosecutor twisted into knots by legal technicalities, for instance, and her perennial nemesis, the cunning drug dealer who manipulates the rules to escape justice), which in turn gave cultural legitimacy to the expanding and entangling reach of the state.
The point, however, is that a simple narrative about the way the world ought to be was mobilized and pressed into service again and again to create an entirely new legal, political, and cultural apparatus—the governance of the carceral state. And as yet, this narrative has no competitor. Criminal justice reform in the United States does not attack this narrative so much as sand down its rough edges. As a result, we continue to live in a world dominated by the punitive narrative: when it comes to criminal justice, the state exists to protect us from them.
I continue to maintain that criminal justice in the United States needs to be organized around dignity, community, and equality. But we need a narrative that takes us from here to there—a narrative that makes change just and resistance “un-American.” That is the work of future columns.

Joseph Margulies
Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of Record in Rasul v. Bush (2004), involving detentions at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, and in Geren v. Omar &Munaf v. Geren (2008), involving detentions at Camp Cropper in Iraq. Presently he is counsel for Abu Zubaydah, whose interrogation in 2002 prompted the Bush Administration to draft the “torture memos.” In June 2005, at the invitation of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, Margulies testified at the first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on detainee issues.
Margulies writes and lectures widely on civil liberties in the wake of September 11 and his commentaries have appeared in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the National Law Journal, the Miami Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Legal Times. He is also the author of the widely acclaimed book, Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power (Simon and Schuster 2006). Among other accolades, Guantánamo was named one of the best books of 2006 by The Economist magazine. It received the prestigious Silver Gavel Award of 2007, given annually by the American Bar Association to the book that best promotes “the American public’s understanding of the law and the legal system.” It also won the Scribes Book Award of 2007, given annually by the American Society of Legal Writers to honor “the best work of legal scholarship published during the previous year.” He is also the author of What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity(Yale Univ. Press 2013) and has won numerous awards for his work since 9/11.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Robert M. Wachter: How Measurement Fails Doctors and Teachers


By ROBERT M. WACHTER, New York Times, JAN. 16, 2016
LINK

TWO of our most vital industries, health care and education, have become increasingly subjected to metrics and measurements. Of course, we need to hold professionals accountable. But the focus on numbers has gone too far. We’re hitting the targets, but missing the point.

Through the 20th century, we adopted a hands-off approach, assuming that the pros knew best. Most experts believed that the ideal “products” — healthy patients and well-educated kids — were too strongly influenced by uncontrollable variables (the sickness of the patient, the intellectual capacity of the student) and were too complex to be judged by the measures we use for other industries.

By the early 2000s, as evidence mounted that both fields were producing mediocre outcomes at unsustainable costs, the pressure for measurement became irresistible. In health care, we saw hundreds of thousands of deaths from medical errors, poor coordination of care and backbreaking costs. In education, it became clear that our schools were lagging behind those in other countries.
So in came the consultants and out came the yardsticks. In health care, we applied metrics to outcomes and processes. Did the doctor document that she gave the patient a flu shot? That she counseled the patient about smoking? In education, of course, the preoccupation became student test scores.

All of this began innocently enough. But the measurement fad has spun out of control. There are so many different hospital ratings that more than 1,600 medical centers can now lay claim to being included on a “top 100,” “honor roll,” grade “A” or “best” hospitals list. Burnout rates for doctors top 50 percent, far higher than other professions. A 2013 study found that the electronic health record was a dominant culprit. Another 2013 study found that emergency room doctors clicked a mouse 4,000 times during a 10-hour shift. The computer systems have become the dark force behind quality measures.

Education is experiencing its own version of measurement fatigue. Educators complain that the focus on student test performance comes at the expense of learning. Art, music and physical education have withered, because, really, why bother if they’re not on the test?

At first, the pushback from doctors and teachers was dismissed as whining from entitled and entrenched guilds spoiled by generations of unfettered autonomy. It was natural, went the thinking, that these professionals would resist the scrutiny and discipline of performance assessment. Of course, this interpretation was partly right.

But the objections became harder to dismiss as evidence mounted that even superb and motivated professionals had come to believe that the boatloads of measures, and the incentives to “look good,” had led them to turn away from the essence of their work. In medicine, doctors no longer made eye contact with patients as they clicked away. In education, even parents who favored more testing around Common Core standards worried about the damaging influence of all the exams.

Even some of the measurement behemoths are now voicing second thoughts. Last fall, the Joint Commission, the major accreditor of American hospitals, announced that it was suspending its annual rating of hospitals. At the same time, alarmed by the amount of time that testing robbed from instruction, the Obama administration called for new limits on student testing. Last week, Andy Slavitt, Medicare’s acting administrator, announced the end of a program that tied Medicare payments to a long list of measures related to the use of electronic health records. “We have to get the hearts and minds of physicians back,” said Mr. Slavitt. “I think we’ve lost them.”

Thoughtful and limited assessment can be effective in motivating improvements and innovations, and in weeding out the rare but disproportionately destructive bad apples.

But in creating a measurement and accountability system, we need to tone down the fervor and think harder about the unanticipated consequences.

Measurement cannot go away, but it needs to be scaled back and allowed to mature. We need more targeted measures, ones that have been vetted to ensure that they really matter. In medicine, for example, measuring the rates of certain hospital-acquired infections has led to a greater emphasis on prevention and has most likely saved lives. On the other hand, measuring whether doctors documented that they provided discharge instructions to heart failure or asthma patients at the end of their hospital stay sounds good, but turns out to be an exercise in futile box-checking, and should be jettisoned.

We also need more research on quality measurement and comparing different patient populations. The only way to understand whether a high mortality rate, or dropout rate, represents poor performance is to adequately appreciate all of the factors that contribute to these outcomes — physical and mental, social and environmental — and adjust for them. It’s like adjusting for the degree of difficulty when judging an Olympic diver. We’re getting better at this, but we’re not good enough.

Most important, we need to fully appreciate the burden that measurement places on professionals, and minimize it. In health care, some of this will come through advances in natural language processing, which may ultimately allow us to assess the quality of care by having computers “read” the doctor’s note, obviating the need for all the box-checking. In both fields, simulation, video review and peer coaching hold promise.
Whatever we do, we have to ask our clinicians and teachers whether measurement is working, and truly listen when they tell us that it isn’t. Today, that is precisely what they’re saying.

Avedis Donabedian, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, was a towering figure in the field of quality measurement. He developed what is known as Donabedian’s triad, which states that quality can be measured by looking at outcomes (how the subjects fared), processes (what was done) and structures (how the work was organized). In 2000, shortly before he died, he was asked about his view of quality. What this hard-nosed scientist answered is shocking at first, then somehow seems obvious.
“The secret of quality is love,” he said.

Our businesslike efforts to measure and improve quality are now blocking the altruism, indeed the love, that motivates people to enter the helping professions. While we’re figuring out how to get better, we need to tread more lightly in assessing the work of the professionals who practice in our most human and sacred fields.

Robert M. Wachter is a professor and the interim chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the author of “The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age.”

Ross Douthat: The Bill Clinton Question

Ross Douthat




IN 2014 Matt Bai published a book called “All the Truth Is Out,” a history of Gary Hart’s scandal-driven downfall that doubled as a lament for political journalism’s surrender to the lure of tabloid culture.

Bai’s book was a great read, and nobody would dispute his point that there’s far less privacy for politicians than in the days when Lyndon Johnson could tell a group of reporters: “You may see me coming in and out of a few women’s bedrooms while I am in the White House, but just remember, that is none of your business.”

But his book’s title was still a little bit misleading. Even today, we don’t get all the truth about the sex lives of the powerful and famous. We get more of it than people got in the 1960s, but it still often comes in fragments, glimpses, rumor and conjecture.

You can read a thousand supermarket stories, for instance, without getting any closer to the truth about most Hollywood relationships. And while the mainstream press isn’t necessarily protective of public figures, neither is it rushing out to do National Enquirer-style digging whenever there’s a plausible rumor in the wind. For every Eliot Spitzer or Mark Sanford, there’s a scandalous story that flares and vanishes amid a lot of journalistic discomfort about touching it.

There’s also a certain randomness to when a scandal actually breaks big. To take a nonpolitical example, Bill Cosby’s sexual exploitations were kinda-sorta in the public record for years and years, but they were a footnote in profiles and biographies until Hannibal Buress starting talking about Cosby-the-rapist in his comedy routines. Then suddenly, it was a story, a cascade of stories, and the whole truth or something close was out.

Similarly, in the political realm, The National Enquirer first published John Edwards-Rielle Hunter stories in October of 2007. But Edwards was able to make his way through an entire primary campaign before the mainstream media finally, reluctantly, started reporting on his love child.

Which brings us to Bill Clinton, whose old scandals are once more in the news — because Donald Trump is talking about them, because Juanita Broaddrick took to Twitter to reassert her claim that Clinton raped her in 1978, and because today’s liberal deference toward rape victims makes an uneasy fit with how the Clinton camp dealt with accusations from Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones in the 1990s.

This has produced a lot of discussion about whether the former president’s sexual past is “fair game” during his wife’s 2016 campaign. But that question tends to assume that there’s some consensus about the former president’s sexual past. It assumes that all the truth is out.

In reality, though, the narrative around Clinton’s sexual past is highly unstable, with several variations that have a plausible claim on being true.

There’s the official Clintonite narrative, in which the former president strayed with Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky, was forgiven by his wife and daughter, and deserves to have his repentance respected.

Then there’s the narrative that I suspect most Americans believe, in which the former president was much more of a tomcat in Arkansas, and probably has tomcatted occasionally in his post-presidency — but always consensually, and lately in ways that have minimized exposure or embarrassment.

If either of these narratives are true, then Clinton’s sex life will be a non-issue in 2016. If an adulterer, even a frequent adulterer, is all he is, then an America that didn’t want him impeached in the 1990s isn’t going to object to having him as the First Gentlemen today.

But suppose you believe the Broaddrick story. Liberals dismissed it during the impeachment days, but if you read the summary of the case from the (mostly liberal) Dylan Matthews at the (mostly liberal) website Vox, this dismissal looks unfair. There’s an inescapable he-said/she-said dynamic, but one need not be a “believe all rape allegations” absolutist to find her claim persuasive.

If she’s telling the truth, then Clinton’s sexual past becomes something more predatory. The slippage between a powerful man’s dalliances and straightforward predation is something that could happen just once. But looked at in the light of a credible rape allegation, there are all sorts of Clinton stories — the Willey and Jones cases, the rumors collected by Jones’s lawyers, the old tales of state troopers being used as procurers, the 2002 globetrotting on the jet of a billionaire who’s also a convicted statutory rapist — that could suggest a darker pattern, tending toward the Cosby-esque.

The truth about Bill Clinton’s past, then, is that we don’t actually know the truth. And even in our tabloid-driven age, it’s quite possible that we simply never will.

But if the question is, “Does Bill’s past matter for Hillary’s campaign?,” the answer depends less on what we know right now than on what might be waiting to come out.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

John Whitehead on A Culture of Fear in America

From Sibel Edmonds' blog Boiling Frog Post

Sibel Edmonds


A Culture of Fear & the Epigenetics of Terror
JOHN W WHITEHEAD | DECEMBER 17, 2015

LINK

Fear Makes People Stupid!

- See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/12/17/a-culture-of-fear-the-epigenetics-of-terror/#sthash.swvKTFOP.dpuf
No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.”—Edward R. Murrow, Broadcast Journalist

America is in the midst of an epidemic of historic proportions.

The contagion being spread like wildfire is turning communities into battlegrounds and setting Americans one against the other.

Normally mild-mannered individuals caught up in the throes of this disease have been transformed into belligerent zealots, while others inclined to pacifism have taken to stockpiling weapons and practicing defensive drills.
This plague on our nation—one that has been spreading like wildfire—is a potent mix of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic hallmarks of the post-9/11 America in which we live.
Everywhere you turn, those on both the left- and right-wing are fomenting distrust and division. You can’t escape it.

We’re being fed a constant diet of fear: fear of terrorists, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of people who are too religious, fear of people who are not religious enough, fear of Muslims, fear of extremists, fear of the government, fear of those who fear the government. The list goes on and on.
The strategy is simple yet effective: the best way to control a populace is through fear and discord.

Fear makes people stupid.

Confound them, distract them with mindless news chatter and entertainment, pit them against one another by turning minor disagreements into major skirmishes, and tie them up in knots over matters lacking in national significance.

Most importantly, divide the people into factions, persuade them to see each other as the enemy and keep them screaming at each other so that they drown out all other sounds. In this way, they will never reach consensus about anything and will be too distracted to notice the police state closing in on them until the final crushing curtain falls.

This is how free people enslave themselves and allow tyrants to prevail.
This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. Instead, fueled with fear and loathing for phantom opponents, they agree to pour millions of dollars and resources into political elections, militarized police, spy technology and endless wars, hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes.

All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward, and “we the suckers” get saddled with the tax bills and subjected to pat downs, police raids and round-the-clock surveillance.

Turn on the TV or flip open the newspaper on any given day, and you will find yourself accosted by reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police and marauding SWAT teams.

America has already entered a new phase, one in which children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government agents because of the content of their Facebook posts, and law-abiding Americans are having their movements tracked, their financial transactions documented and their communications monitored
These threats are not to be underestimated.

Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language in which they are couched: the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.

Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government. Even while President Obama insists that “freedom is more powerful than fear,” the tactics of his administration continue to rely on fear of another terrorist attack in order to further advance the agenda of the military/security industrial complex.

An atmosphere of fear permeates modern America. However, with crime at a 40-year low, is such fear of terrorism rational?

Even in the wake of the shootings in San Bernardino and Paris, statistics show that you are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack. You are 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane. You are 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack. You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack. You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocating in bed than from a terrorist attack. And you are 9 more times likely to choke to death in your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack.

Indeed, those living in the American police state are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. Thus, the government’s endless jabbering about terrorism amounts to little more than propaganda—the propaganda of fear—a tactic used to terrorize, cower and control the population.

So far, these tactics are working.

The 9/11 attacks, the Paris attacks, and now the San Bernardino shooting have succeeded in reducing the American people to what commentator Dan Sanchez refers to as “herd-minded hundreds of millions [who] will stampede to the State for security, bleating to please, please be shorn of their remaining liberties.”

Sanchez continues:

I am not terrified of the terrorists; i.e., I am not, myself, terrorized. Rather, I am terrified of the terrorized; terrified of the bovine masses who are so easily manipulated by terrorists, governments, and the terror-amplifying media into allowing our country to slip toward totalitarianism and total war…

I do not irrationally and disproportionately fear Muslim bomb-wielding jihadists or white, gun-toting nutcases. But I rationally and proportionately fear those who do, and the regimes such terror empowers. History demonstrates that governments are capable of mass murder and enslavement far beyond what rogue militants can muster. Industrial-scale terrorists are the ones who wear ties, chevrons, and badges. But such terrorists are a powerless few without the supine acquiescence of the terrorized many. There is nothing to fear but the fearful themselves…

Stop swallowing the overblown scaremongering of the government and its corporate media cronies. Stop letting them use hysteria over small menaces to drive you into the arms of tyranny, which is the greatest menace of all.
As history makes clear, fear leads to fascistic, totalitarian regimes.
It’s a simple enough formula. National crises, reported terrorist attacks, and sporadic shootings leave us in a constant state of fear. Fear prevents us from thinking. The emotional panic that accompanies fear actually shuts down the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of our brains. In other words, when we are consumed by fear, we stop thinking.

A populace that stops thinking for themselves is a populace that is easily led, easily manipulated and easily controlled
.
The government is managed by a powerful leader (even if he or she assumes office by way of the electoral process). This is the fascistic leadership principle (or father figure).
The government assumes it is not restrained in its power. This is authoritarianism, which eventually evolves into totalitarianism.
The government ostensibly operates under a capitalist system while being undergirded by an immense bureaucracy.
The government through its politicians emits powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
The government has an obsession with national security while constantly invoking terrifying internal and external enemies.
The government establishes a domestic and invasive surveillance system and develops a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the citizenry.
The government and its various agencies (federal, state, and local) develop an obsession with crime and punishment. This is overcriminalization.
The government becomes increasingly centralized while aligning closely with corporate powers to control all aspects of the country’s social, economic, military, and governmental structures.
The government uses militarism as a center point of its economic and taxing structure.
The government is increasingly imperialistic in order to maintain the military-industrial corporate forces.

The parallels to modern America are impossible to ignore.

“Every industry is regulated. Every profession is classified and organized,” writes Jeffrey Tucker. “Every good or service is taxed. Endless debt accumulation is preserved. Immense doesn’t begin to describe the bureaucracy. Military preparedness never stops, and war with some evil foreign foe, remains a daily prospect.”

For the final hammer of fascism to fall, it will require the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary. In times of “crisis,” expediency is upheld as the central principle—that is, in order to keep us safe and secure, the government must militarize the police, strip us of basic constitutional rights and criminalize virtually every form of behavior.

Not only does fear grease the wheels of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified, cowed citizens, but it also embeds itself in our very DNA so that we pass on our fear and compliance to our offspring.

It’s called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences.

For example, neuroscientists observed how quickly fear can travel through generations of mice DNA. As The Washington Post reports:
In the experiment, researchers taught male mice to fear the smell of cherry blossoms by associating the scent with mild foot shocks. Two weeks later, they bred with females. The resulting pups were raised to adulthood having never been exposed to the smell. Yet when the critters caught a whiff of it for the first time, they suddenly became anxious and fearful. They were even born with more cherry-blossom-detecting neurons in their noses and more brain space devoted to cherry-blossom-smelling.

The conclusion? “A newborn mouse pup, seemingly innocent to the workings of the world, may actually harbor generations’ worth of information passed down by its ancestors.”

Now consider the ramifications of inherited generations of fears and experiences on human beings. As the Post reports, “Studies on humans suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of such traumatic events such as famine, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

In other words, fear, trauma and compliance can be passed down through the generations.
Fear has been a critical tool in past fascistic regimes, and it now operates in our contemporary world—all of which raises fundamental questions about us as human beings and what we will give up in order to perpetuate the illusions of safety and security.

In the words of psychologist Erich Fromm:
[C]an human nature be changed in such a way that man will forget his longing for freedom, for dignity, for integrity, for love—that is to say, can man forget he is human? Or does human nature have a dynamism which will react to the violation of these basic human needs by attempting to change an inhuman society into a human one?

We are at a critical crossroads in American history, and we have a choice: freedom or fascism.

Let’s hope the American people make the right choice while we still have the freedom to choose.
# # # #

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

- See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/12/17/a-culture-of-fear-the-epigenetics-of-terror/#sthash.XF83zXdx.dpuf

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ann Cronin: Hillary: A Presidential Candidate In Need Of An Education

Hillary is alienating educators with her allegiance to the Big Testers and political leaders who fund Education-as-a-Profit-making-Venture Corporations.
Betsy Combier

Ann Cronin



Hillary Clinton


Hillary: A Presidential Candidate In Need Of An Education
JULY 20, 2015 ~ 2 COMMENTS

LINK
What does Hillary think about what is going on now in k-12 education?

Watch this video and find out:

http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4534445

What I would like to ask Hillary after watching the video is:

1. What do you mean by the Common Core being a “wonderful direction”? Do you know what the 42 Common Core English Language Arts Standards are and in what ways they help or hinder students becoming thoughtful readers, effective writers, and deep and broad thinkers?

I am very familiar with those 42 Common Core English Language Arts Standards and know that they are detrimental to producing thoughtful readers, effective writers, and deep and broad thinkers. I doubt that Hillary has read those standards and, even if she has, has no idea about the developmental needs of students and the best ways to teach them.

Of course, standards can be a good idea, but only if the standards themselves are worthy ones. It is also a good idea to eat three meals a day but not if those meals are comprised of a lot of sugar and very little protein and vitamins. The Common Core English Language Arts Standards are sugary fluff and will make neither the students nor the country strong. .

2. What do you mean when you say that the Common Core was “not politicized”?

The Common Core standards were approved by governors before they were even written and before the governors knew what they would contain because accepting them was the only way that states could be relieved of the sanctions the federal government would impose on them for not meeting the impossible goals of NCLB and be allowed to apply for Race to the Top money. It was all totally political. It was all about the federal money. It was political bribery.

3. Why do you imagine that the Common Core and the aligned detesting will prevent a ” two tiered educational system” when, in reality, the Common Core and the aligned testing will create those two tiers?

One tier is the children of privilege who either go to elite private schools which do not adhere in any way to the Common Core and which do not test their students with Common Core aligned tests or go to suburban schools which do not limit education to the Common Core and do not emphasize test prep because the income level of their students insures good test scores.

The other tier is the children in urban schools whose education is largely test prep about the limited and damaging content of the Common Core.

Tier one students develop skills for their future; tier two students learn how to take tests that do not assess the quality of their thinking, collaborating, reading, or writing.

4. What do you mean when you said that we should go “back to basics”? What are your “basics” and why are we going “back”?

Basics for the present and the future are: exploration, collaboration, effective written and oral communication, creativity, cultural awareness, curiosity, questioning, imagination, accessing and analyzing information, problem solving, innovation, civic engagement, and initiative. The Common Core addresses none of these, and the Common Core aligned tests assess none of them either.

5. Why do you say that we should “look to teachers” for the direction of education?

You praise the Common Core, yet when the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and the Common Core Early Childhood Standards were created, not one single teacher was involved. The standards were created by employees of testing companies. The Common Core Standards are not good education. They are a compilation of items which can be measured on standardized tests and teach students to write essays which can be nonsensical but receive high marks from the testing company computers which grade them.

6. Hillary, please can we talk?