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Saturday, 22 February 2020

KHAN: Is America Suffering A Mental Health Crisis Or A Moral Crisis?

Amid the mass shootings, the substantial uptick in suicides, and the addiction epidemic, the constant refrain seems to be that America is suffering a mental health crisis. Certainly, the numbers bear out when we consider prescription drug use to treat anxiety and depression alone.
Harvard University reported that antidepressant use has increased by 400% since the 1990s:
According…to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the rate of antidepressant use in this country among teens and adults (people ages 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008.
Those statistics alone should be cause for some serious soul-searching for all of us. Such a staggering increase in antidepressant use certainly adds to the argument that America is quickly becoming a helpless, inoculated society of hopeless souls.
Even a popular TED Talk diagnosed our current plight with exacting precision:
We are the most addicted, we are the most medicated, obese, and in-debt adult cohort in human history.
Worse, the actual effectiveness of antidepressants is not at all confirmed when factoring in placebo. In fact, the claims made by psychiatry and by pharmaceutical companies on antidepressants remain quite dogmatic. In a piece entitled “The Psychiatric Drug Crisis” for The New Yorker, Gary Greenberg states the following:
Despite their continued failure to understand how psychiatric drugs work, doctors continue to tell patients that their troubles are the result of chemical imbalances in their brains. As Frank Ayd pointed out, this explanation helps reassure patients even as it encourages them to take their medicine, and it fits in perfectly with our expectation that doctors will seek out and destroy the chemical villains responsible for all of our suffering, both physical and mental. The theory may not work as science, but it is a devastatingly effective myth.
Sadly, simple physical exercise has been repeatedly proven to be more effective in treating mild to moderate depression. In 2014, The Atlantic Monthly reported:
A 2011 study…looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.
If simple physical exercise can remedy an exceedingly common mental health issue, the fundamental problem with so many in America is, ultimately, a moral one. Our volition, our sense of courage and forbearance, are all now at a premium. However, so many are now accosted by a very insidious and nihilistic question: “What’s the point?”
Resignation and defeat seem to pervade the American landscape. We can barely even register notions of the common good, never mind what is objectively good for ourselves.
The moral and ethical foundation that ought to buttress us in times of hardship and fatigue is cracked and crumbling, if not altogether broken. While the Left has certainly deconstructed our values into oblivion, we cannot disregard our collective spiritual and moral lassitude in this crisis either.
At best, only frail and brittle platitudes inform our collective moral pedigree these days. There are no longer discernible footholds to guide us out of the various trials and tribulations that assail us. Instead, we are told to inoculate ourselves with all manner of pills and potions. Others simply turn to illicit drugs and alcohol to remedy the existential aches.
A dull despair seems the order of the day. We must do better. It’s imperative that we dust off and engage our moral compass once again for the betterment of each other, and for ourselves. And we must do so with courage, fortitude, and, most importantly, hope.

Advice Columnist Who Accused Trump Of Rape Fired From Magazine, Blames Trump

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll announced on Twitter earlier this week that she had been fired from Elle, the French-style fashion magazine, back in December after serving as a regular contributor to the publication for over 25 years. 
In the announcement, Carroll indicated that she doesn’t cast any blame on the magazine itself; rather, she blamed President Trump, a person she publicly accused of rape in her recent book. 
“Because Trump ridiculed my reputation, laughed at my looks, & dragged me through the mud, after 26 years, ELLE fired me. It was a great honor of my life writing ‘Ask E. Jean.’ I blame @realdonaldtrump,” said Carroll, tagging the president’s twitter account. 
In a statement to The New York Times, a spokesperson for Hearst Magazines, the parent-company responsible for publishing Elle, claimed that the circumstances surrounding Carroll’s departure were unrelated to her rape allegation against the president. 
“E. Jean Carroll was long a beloved voice in the pages of Elle, the decision not to renew her contract was a business decision and had nothing to do with politics,” said the spokesperson, reports the news agency. 
While the organization has publicly denied that national politics played a role in Carroll’s firing, the Times interviewed over a dozen of the publisher’s current and former employees, and discovered that many believed the advice columnist was terminated partly because of salary and internal politics. 
According to the Times, Carroll was paid over $5 per word, and was recently bumped down in a contract negotiation to 900-words per month, from 1800-words per month. The news agency also reports that some of the editors of the magazine were disappointed when Carroll decided to publish an excerpt from her upcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” in New York Magazine. 
On June 24, 2019, New York Magazine published an excerpt of the book, which alleged that Donald Trump met Carroll in the 1990s inside of a luxury department store. During the encounter, Trump and Carroll allegedly laughed about trying on clothing, but soon afterward, Carroll claims that Trump raped her inside of a dressing room.
This is gonna be hilarious, I’m saying to myself — and as I write this, I am staggered by my stupidity. As we head to the dressing rooms, I’m laughing aloud and saying in my mind: I’m gonna make him put this thing on over his pants….
The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.
I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. I am wearing a pair of sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels, which puts my height around six-one, and I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand — for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other — and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Carroll filed a defamation suit against the president for calling her a liar, and saying that she was just trying to sell books: “Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda – like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” said the president. “False accusations diminish the severity of real assault. All should condemn false accusations and any actual assault in the strongest possible terms.”

According to the Associated Press, Carroll has also legally demanded that Trump submit to a DNA test to prove that a sample of male genetic material found on the dress she was wearing at the time belongs to him. The suit and legal demand is currently pending in court.

QUEEN WIN: Harry And Meghan Forced To Drop Branding Name, Trademark Applications Removed; Markle Upset

Days after Queen Elizabeth II banned grandson Harry and wife Meghan Markle from cashing in on the “Sussex Royal” brand, the existing royals acquiesced, confirming in a statement that the name will be dropped and their trademark applications have been withdrawn. And Markle is particularly unhappy over the Queen’s ban, reports say.
“While The Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK Government rules surrounding use of the word Royal, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation,” read a statement from the couple issued from a spokeswoman on Friday, The Washington Examiner reported.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ in any territory post Spring 2020,” the spokeswoman continued. “Therefore, the trademark applications that were filed as protective measures, acting on advice from and following the same model for the Royal Foundation, have been removed.”
As noted by the Examiner, reports flew in the wake of the Queen’s “royal” ban, indicating Markle was upset over the move. “Meghan said she was upset about the news and that there was ‘nothing legally stopping’ her and Prince Harry from using the branding,” the report said.
The new mother, according to The Daily Mail, told friends that using the term “royal” “shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place and it’s not like they want to be in the business of selling T-shirts and pencils.”
“Meghan said she’s done with the drama and has no room in her life for naysayers, and the same goes for Harry,” a source told The Daily Mail.
As reported by The Daily Wire on Tuesday, the Queen decided that it was improper for Harry and Meghan to use the word “royal” in their branding since giving up on their royal duties.
“Harry and Meghan have spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new Sussex Royal website to complement their hugely popular Instagram feed,” a report from The Daily Mail noted. “They have also sought to register Sussex Royal as a global trademark for a range of items and activities, including clothing, stationery, books and teaching materials.”
The @SussexRoyal Instagram page currently has 11.2 million-plus followers; the name of the page will now have to be changed. Additionally, SussexRoyal.com, Harry and Meghan’s site, has an “update” that was posted on January 18, promising upcoming changes to the site, seemingly in-line with their renounced titles:
Update: 18th of January 2020
In line with the statement by Her Majesty The Queen, information on the roles and work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be updated on this website in due course. We appreciate your patience and invite you to explore the site to see the current works of Their Royal Highnesses.
In January, Harry and Meghan dropped the shocking bombshell on the Queen that they would be leaving behind their royal duties and working to become financially independent. About a week after the announcement, her majesty financially cut off the couple and stripped them of their titles.

HE DIDN’T OWN THAT: Appeals Court Rules Graffiti Artists To Get $6.7 Million After Building Owner Tore Down Buildings

In February 2018, a New York judge awarded $6.7 million to graffiti artists who sued the owner of buildings they defaced because he tore down the buildings. That decision was appealed by the owner, but on Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the judge was correct, ruling the owner had violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.
In 2018, Federal Judge Frederic Block ruled against Long Island developer Jerry Wolkoff, who had permitted the “artwork” on his property, known as 5 Pointz, for decades, stating that Wolkoff was not sorry he had painted over the graffiti in 2013, torn down the buildings in 2014, and begun construction for two 40-story residential apartment buildings in 2015. Block said the penalty he assessed would not have been so exorbitant if Wolkoff had waited for the judge’s permission and demolished the art 10 months later than he did; that would have allowed artists to retrieve their paintings from the buildings.
Block was seemingly impressed with the aerosol artists; in November 2017, during the trial triggered by a lawsuit from the 21 aerosol artists, he gushed about how works produced by the artists “spoke to the social issues of our times.” He also stated that the “respectful, articulate and credible” artists testified about “striking technical and artistic mastery and vision worthy of display in prominent museums if not on the walls of 5Pointz.”
Block slammed Wolkoff, saying, “Wolkoff has been singularly unrepentant. He was given multiple opportunities to admit the whitewashing was a mistake, show remorse, or suggest he would do things differently if he had another chance. … Wolkoff could care less. As he callously testified. The sloppy, half-hearted nature of the whitewashing left the works easily visible under thin layers of cheap, white paint, reminding the plaintiffs on a daily basis what had happened. The mutilated works were visible by millions of people on the passing 7 train.”
Block also asserted, “The shame of it all is that since 5 Pointz was a prominent tourist attraction, the public would undoubtedly have thronged to say its goodbyes during those 10 months and gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the last time. It would have been a wonderful tribute for the artists that they richly deserved.” As the New York Post reported, Block defended his decision by stating, “If not for Wolkoff’s insolence, these damages would not have been assessed. If he did not destroy 5 Pointz until he received his permits and demolished it 10 months later, the Court would not have found that he had acted willfully.”
The 2nd Circuit, agreeing with Block’s decision, wrote, “In recent years, ‘street art,’ much of which is ‘temporary,’ has emerged as a major category of contemporary art,” adding that the street artist Banksy has been named on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. They added, “A Banksy painting at 5Pointz would have possessed recognized stature, even if it were temporary.”
Marie Cecile Flageul, a curator who worked with the 21 artists sharing the $6.7 million payout, who had previously said that what Wolkoff did was “artistic murder,” stated of graffiti, “Now, it’s a validated art form which is collected, acquired and showcased in museums and galleries around the world.”

WATCH: Daughter Of ‘Miracle On Ice’ Hockey Coach Says Dad Would Have Loved Trump

During a Trump rally in Las Vegas on Friday, the daughter of legendary hockey Coach Herb Brooks said she believes her father would have been a fan of President Donald Trump.
“He would be proud to be here with you all,” said Kelly Brooks-Paradise of her father to the massive Vegas crowd, wearing a “Keep America Great” hat.
“And, my personal opinion,” she added, “he would have been a Trump fan.”
Brooks was the coach of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic Hockey team in 1980, famously coaching the upset win in a politically-charged game against the Soviet Union dubbed the “Miracle on Ice.”
“Trump has 14 members of the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ gold-medal Olympic hockey team at his Vegas rally, [including] captain Mike Eruzione,” tweeted Washington Post reporter David Nakamura. “They apparently were in town to celebrate the 40th anniversary.”
Trump has 14 members of the 1980 'Miracle on Ice' gold-medal Olympic hockey team at his Vegas rally, incl captain Mike Eruzione. They apparently were in town to celebrate the 40th anniversary.
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“With the team members on stage wearing Keep America Great hats, Trump is now instructing Eruzione to look at the ‘fake news,’ and complaining again about South Korea’s ‘Parasite’ winning best picture,” Nakamura reported.
“Team invited late coach Herb Brooks’ adult daughter to the mic,” he added. “She tears up and then says of her father: ‘In my personal opinion, he would have been a Trump fan.'”
With the team members on stage wearing Keep America Great hats, Trump is now instructing Eruzione to look at the "fake news," and complaining again about South Korea's"Parasite" winning best picture.
Team invited late coach Herb Brooks' adult daughter to the mic. She tears up and then says of her father: "In my personal opinion, he would have been a Trump fan."
See David Nakamura's other Tweets
“I can still hear the arena, I felt like it was vibrating,” Brooks-Paradise recalled of the game, reported by KARE 11 News earlier this week. “It’s kind of hard, but exciting.”
As highlighted in a recent ESPN report on the “miracle” Olympics, Coach Brooks trusted his young players.
“Brooks trusted his players, even if they were a bit younger. (The average age of the American roster was 22.1 years old, while the Soviets averaged 25.9 years of age. The U.S. had 19-year-old Mike Ramsey, while the Soviets had 35-year-old Boris Mikhailov playing in his third and final Olympics.)” the report noted. “The Americans were the best-conditioned team in any game they played and used their depth to their advantage.”
“You know, you watch hockey games today and they shorten their bench, but Herb never shortened our bench,” Eruzione recently said, according to ESPN. “We’re playing the Soviets and we’re playing [line] one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. [Mark] Wells centered [Phil] Verchota and [Eric] Strobel as a fourth line, and trust me, that was an awfully good fourth line.”
“In that Soviet game, we would — in a minute and a half to two minutes — play all four lines. I mean, you’d be out there for 30 seconds max, 15 seconds sometimes,” he added. 
The U.S. team had the odds against them versus the Soviets. For example, as noted by ESPN, the Soviets “had won each of the previous four Olympic gold medals in hockey and 12 gold medals in the 16 world championships they played in between 1961 and 1979” and “The USSR also won all 12 matchups with the United States between the 1960 and 1980 Olympics, outscoring the Americans 117-26.”
“Even when the U.S. had NHL players playing for it in the 1976 Canada Cup, it lost to the Soviets twice (outscored 9-2),” the report added. “Oh, and that doesn’t even include the Soviets’ infamous 10-3 blowout exhibition win to close out the 1980 U.S. team’s pre-Olympic tour at Madison Square Garden, just one week before the Olympic Games began.”
Still, the Americans were victorious. 

WATCH:

BREAKING: Feds Notify Bernie Sanders That Russia Is Trying To Help His Campaign

Federal officials have notified socialist Bernie Sanders that Russia is trying to boost his presidential campaign in an effort to impact who becomes the Democrats’ presidential nominee.
The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump and other top lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been informed about Russia’s efforts to boost Sanders.
Top officials “have repeatedly warned that Russia has ongoing plans to interfere in U.S. elections and foster divisions among Americans, part of a strategic goal to undermine U.S. standing in the world,” The Post reported. “Some analysts believe that the Kremlin’s goal is to cause the maximum disruption within the United States, and it throws the support of its hackers and trolls behind candidates based on that goal, not any particular affinity for the persons running.”
Sanders has a long history of being cozying up to Russia, including when he was the mayor of Burlington.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month:
One issue involves Sanders’s stance toward the former Soviet Union, a record that could undercut Democrats’ ability to criticize Trump for being too close to Russia today.
The documents from the Sanders archives include a letter from Soviet Embassy First Secretary Vadim Kuznetsov in March 1983, congratulating Sanders on his reelection as mayor and thanking Sanders for receiving him in Sanders’s office. Kuznetsov had been in Burlington to attend a conference on nuclear disarmament at the University of Vermont a few days earlier. Neither Sanders nor conference organizers appear to have read a 1976 Time magazine article that identified Kuznetsov as a member of a “Soviet intelligence squad” posing as diplomats to infiltrate U.S. politics.
In 1988, Sanders traveled to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and forged a “sister city” cooperation program there. Many believe he gave a rosy depiction of conditions there just a few years before the communist system collapsed.
One potential reason Russia may be seeking to boost Sanders is that he has a history of being highly critical of U.S. military and defense spending, suggesting that drastic cuts need to be made in order to fund his far-left socialist programs.
Cuts to the U.S. defense spending would make it harder for the U.S. to counter increasing aggression from Russia.
By contrast, Trump has been harder on Russia than any president in recent memory.
Here are some of the following actions that Trump has taken against Russia:
  • Trump has repeatedly enacted tough sanctions against Russia and Russian oligarchs for a wide range of offense ranging from election interference to supporting destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
  • Trump expelled over 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. after Russia engaged in an assassination attempt in the U.K.
  • Trump played a significant role in securing an extra $100 billion in funding for NATO, which serves to counter Russian aggression.
  • The Trump administration killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria.
  • Trump has aggressively tried to prevent Russia from expanding its influence in the energy sector in Europe.
  • Trump proposed buying Greenland last year in an apparent attempt to counter increasing Russian aggression and influence in the arctic.
  • Trump has repeatedly gone after Russia’s top allies, including China, Iran, and North Korea.