ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Shooting in Florida; Don't Blame the Mentally Ill

Jack Bragen
Friday February 23, 2018 - 12:49:00 PM

President Trump was predictable in blaming the Florida high school shooting on mental illness, and in offering no hint of a solution. He was predictable in complimenting the bravery of first responders, and in expressing sorrow over this loss. In addition, he was predictable in disrespecting those who are outraged by the government's inadequate weapons policy.

Mass shooters are completely different and distinct from the overwhelming majority of mentally ill people, who simply are trying to make our lives livable, and who are trying to get through another day, or who are trying to make ends meet with the pitiful income we get from SSDI and/or SSI.

The overwhelming majority of mass shooters are either terrorists or sociopaths, and do not fit the diagnoses of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar illnesses. -more-


Conn Hallinan
Friday February 23, 2018 - 12:58:00 PM

Italian elections are always complex affairs, but the upcoming Mar. 4 vote is one of the most bewildering in several decades: the right is resurgent, the left embattled, and the issue drawing the greatest fire and fury has little to do with the economic malaise that has gripped the country since the great economic crash of 2008.

These days predicting election outcomes in Europe is a fool’s game because the electorate is so volatile, a state one hardly can blame it for given the beating it has taken from the almost decade-long policies of the European Union (EU). The organization’s rigid economic strictures for dealing with the debts incurred from the 2008 crisis—social service cutbacks, tax hikes, massive layoffs, and privatization—have sharply increased economic inequality throughout the continent and created a “lost generation” of young people: poorly educated, unemployed, and locked into low paying part-time jobs (if they manage to find one). -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Four Pillars of the Russia Probe

Bob Burnett
Friday February 23, 2018 - 12:17:00 PM

On February 16th, the Justice Department unveiled the first of four pillars of the Mueller investigation into interference in the 2016 election: the indictment of 13 Russians for Internet-based meddling. This should end Trump claims the Mueller investigation is a "hoax." The DOJ announcement suggests that we should expect many more indictments as a product of the remaining three pillars of the probe.

The February 16th announcement, by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, focussed on an extensive effort, conducted by Internet trolls headquartered in St. Petersburg, to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Using a variety of tactics, the Russians began by disparaging Hillary Clinton, switched to inhibiting voter participation, and concluded by encouraging Americans to either vote for Trump or a third-party candidate, such as Jill Stein. (At its peak, the Russian effort had a monthly budget of $1.25M and employed hundreds of operatives.)

The DOJ indictment is noteworthy because it arrived unexpectedly -- there were no press leaks suggesting an indictment was imminent -- and the 37-page legal brief was unusually thorough -- it appears the FBI had a source inside the St. Petersburg troll factory ("Internet Research Agency"). The indictment revealed that the head of the Russian operation was Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close friend of Russian premier Vladimir Putin. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Sen. Feinstein’s New Assault Weapons Ban

Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 23, 2018 - 12:33:00 PM

In February 14, 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined by 24 Democrats introduced new legislation that would ban AR-15s, which is the most popular rifle in the U.S. According to Sen. Feinstein, an AR-15 is a military weapon. No militaries use civilian AR-15s. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Forecasting the Midterm Elections in the West

Bob Burnett
Friday February 16, 2018 - 06:09:00 PM

The 2018 midterm elections will occur on November 6th. Democrats have been predicting a "blue wave," but recently there's been an uptick of support for President Trump and, as a result, Democrats are nervous. Nonetheless, the eleven western states look positive for Dems. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: North and South Korean Olympic Games mini-detente

Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 16, 2018 - 06:14:00 PM

Vice President Mike Pence represented the U.S. at the Olympic opening ceremonies in PyeongChang, South Korea. Athletes from North Korea and South Korea marching under the same flag in the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games was a significant symbolic moment for many. The North Korean delegation was led by Kim Yo Jong, the trusted younger sister of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Shortened Lifespan of Mentally Ill People

Jack Bragen
Friday February 16, 2018 - 06:34:00 PM

According to numerous sources, schizophrenia reduces life expectancy by about twenty years. Heavy smoking reduces life expectancy by about ten years. Put those two together, and it adds up to parents much of the time outliving their mentally ill offspring. And I have seen this happen as I've lived among persons with mental illness. I could name a dozen or more mentally ill acquaintances, and some friends, who met this fate. -more-