November 2017

White House softens stance on Moore, cites tax vote

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On the roster: White House softens stance on Moore, cites tax vote – New questions on savings, uninsured rate from killing mandate – Romney Senate hopes rise as potential rival drops out – Another Dem joins Bill Clinton condemnation – Kumpel, wo ist mein Auto?


Would either of the tax proposals in Congress be worth you voting for an alleged child predator for Senate?

That was part of the argument on offer from the White House this morning, and it ought to be something of a wakeup call for Republicans on the matters of both the Alabama Senate election and their tax proposal.

Senior White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway was lighting into Alabama Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones today on “Fox & Friends” as a “doctrinaire liberal” who is weak on crime and illegal immigration. 

Co-host Brian Kilmeade jumped in: “So what, vote for Roy Moore?”

“I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway said. “And if the media were really concerned about all these allegations and that’s what this was truly about … Al Franken would be on the ash heap of bygone, half-funny comedians.”      

Let’s put this in some context. Last week, Conway had essentially mirrored the official White House line that if true, the allegations that Moore had abused his position as a prosecutor to pursue and intimidate teenage girls, some as young as 14, would be disqualifying. 

As Conway very succinctly and effectively put it: “No Senate seat is worth more than a child.”  

By late last week, though, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration had turned agnostic on Moore: “The president believes that these allegations are troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.”

The new ground Conway staked out today, though, was that since Franken had not yet been expelled from the Senate, the White House was free to go in four days from an askance but neutral to a position supportive of Moore – regardless of the veracity of the claims of serial, predatory misconduct by the GOP nominee. 

The case against Moore is stronger and the allegations are more serious than those facing Franken so far. But with a new accuser stepping forward, this time with a contemporaneously documented accusation made during Franken’s Senate tenure, the Minnesotan’s “please investigate me” posture may be rapidly deteriorating.

But even if Franken does survive his rapid descent from 66-year-old Democratic “fresh face” to dirty old man, is Moore worth saving? 

We wrote on Friday about the power of politically weaponized claims of sexual misconduct. Some Democrats were already arguing to spare Franken because Republicans couldn’t be counted on to deal as harshly with their offenders as Democrats wanted to. Now top Republicans are following suit. 

We talk about the moral imbecility of our era, but “both of us can do the wrong thing because neither of us will probably do the right thing” is a lulu even for the time of the Big Stupid

But leaving aside what happens to parties that act so dissolutely and cultures that will accept it, what about the tax plan that supposedly merits overlooking the brontosaurus-sized skeleton now tumbled from Moore’s closet? Did children become less valuable or did Senate seats become more valuable?

To be fair, Conway was only listing the tax plan as the first among other considerations, and didn’t even include the more ethically salient question of abortion which has been raised by those, like Alabama’s governor, who say they will back Moore even if he did cruise for teenagers outside of abuse and neglect hearings. 

No tax plan in history is worth that degree of surrender from any White House, but especially not the lumpy porridge on offer from the House and Senate just now. 

The mistaken belief among many Republicans is that they need a “win” after the ObamaCare repeal debacle and that passing tax legislation, almost irrespective of content, is a do-or-die proposal.

The legislation, which raises taxes for some in order to cut taxes for others, primarily corporations, is already unpopular. But more worrying for the GOP is that despite months of good economic news, the party and its president remain in woeful disrepair with voters. 

If good economic news is supposed to help Republicans hold the House, why isn’t it working yet? What annualized GDP growth rate and market all-time-high do GOP seers believe will deliver the popularity that has so far eluded the party in power? 

It has not yet occurred to enough Republicans that the people who are likely to be the most enthused about corporate tax cuts and a sky-high Dow Jones Industrial Average – upscale, college-educated, suburbanites – are the very same voters most likely to recoil from a permissive attitude toward Moore.

There were two conclusions Republicans could have taken from 2016’s narrow victory: That they won in spite of concerns about character and fitness and need to walk the straight and narrow henceforth; or that voters just don’t care anymore.

If the White House helps Moore limp into the Senate, the party will have a great test case on those questions as each of its candidates for the upper chamber runs manacled to the pistol packing D.A. from Etowah County.

“If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 21

New Yorker: “Thomas Hargrove is a homicide archivist. For the past seven years, he has been collecting municipal records of murders, and he now has the largest catalogue of killings in the country—751,785 murders carried out since 1976, which is roughly twenty-seven thousand more than appear in F.B.I. files. … Using computer code he wrote, he searches his archive for statistical anomalies among the more ordinary murders resulting from lovers’ triangles, gang fights, robberies, or brawls. … Hargrove created the code, which operates as a simple algorithm, in 2010… The algorithm forms the basis of the Murder Accountability Project (map), a nonprofit that consists of Hargrove—who is retired—a database, a Web site, and a board of nine members, who include former detectives, homicide scholars, and a forensic psychiatrist. By a process of data aggregating, the algorithm gathers killings that are related by method, place, and time, and by the victim’s sex.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

Trump net job-approval rating: -19.8 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.6 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

NYT: “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that doing away with the mandate would result in nearly 13 million more people without insurance and federal savings of $338 billion by 2027. But polling data, analysis from a private forecasting agency and interviews with people who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces suggest the savings could be far less, largely because many people who qualify for the subsidies will still want to take advantage of them. Even the budget office is revising its estimates and has predicted the new numbers would be smaller. In a survey this fall, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that just 7 percent of people who buy insurance on the individual market said they would go without coverage if the mandate were no longer enforced. A majority said the mandate was not a reason they bought insurance. Only about one in five said it was a major reason.”

Mulvaney says White House is ‘OK’ pulling individual mandate repeal – Politico: “White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the administration wants to repeal part of Obamacare in Congress’ tax bill but is ‘OK with taking it out’ if ‘it becomes an impediment.’ President Donald Trump has called for Congress to include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in its tax bill. … ‘I don’t think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare. We absolutely want to do it,’ Mulvaney told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’”

Lamar Alexander: ‘Bipartisan ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill’ – The Hill:“Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) expressed optimism about a bipartisan effort to stabilize ObamaCare markets, saying his bill could be included in the upcoming funding package if it had President Trump’s blessing. ‘I think if the president supports it, it’ll be a part of the end-of-the-year package,’ Alexander told CNBC in an
interview published Monday. Alexander has been pushing for his bill with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which would fund key ObamaCare payments for two years in exchange for added flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.”

Business group to target key GOP senators over tax plan deficit spike – Axios: “Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform, a coalition of small business leaders, will launch a six-figure TV campaign to oppose the GOP tax bill on the grounds that it balloons the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion. Per a source involved in the efforts: The first ads highlight promises by GOP senators James Lankford and Bob Corker to oppose any plan that increases the deficit. The TV ads — which you can see here and here — will run in these senators’ home states of Tennessee (Corker) and Oklahoma (Lankford.) Polls show the Republican tax plans are unpopular — as Axios’ David Nather has reported. But progressives know they can’t rely on lackluster public opinion to sink the bill, given the extraordinary political pressure on Republicans to pass something before the end of the year.”

Darrell Issa: ‘Californians don’t deserve a tax increase’ – Orange County Register: “Federal tax reform moved forward this past week in Washington. Good news for most of the country. Not so much for us here in California. … Unfortunately, I fear that the plan as approved could actually make the incredible burden our state’s taxpayers feel even worse. I voted no because my constituents don’t deserve a tax increase. While the world thinks living is easy in the land of sand and sun, the Southern California families and small businesses I know are putting in long hours and making tough sacrifices to make each day work. Californians have stayed late, picked up second shifts and worked hard in an honest effort to make ends meet, only to find themselves with less and less to show for it.”

Politico: “Utah Republican Boyd Matheson is forgoing a 2018 Senate campaign, a decision that further opens the door for Mitt Romney to run. Matheson, a former chief of staff to Utah Sen. Mike Lee and the president of the conservative Sutherland Institute think tank, announced on Monday that he would not run for the seat currently held by longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is 83 and deciding whether to seek another term. The prospect of a Matheson campaign had gained traction among conservatives. During a recent trip to Washington, Matheson met with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager,David Bossie. He also received encouragement from an array of conservative outside groups. But in a video released Monday, Matheson said he had chosen not to run, and that he would instead launch a new outside political group.”

Dem wave may not be enough for House in 2018 – NYT: “All considered, this year’s election results and the current national political environment are consistent with the possibility of a so-called wave election, like the ones that brought Democrats to power in the House in 2006 and swept Republicans into office in 1994 and 2010. But Republicans have important structural advantages. They enter the cycle with the advantage of incumbency and a highly favorable congressional map, thanks to partisan gerrymandering and the tendency for Democrats to waste votes with overwhelming margins in heavily Democratic urban areas. As a result, it’s not obvious that the building Democratic wave will be enough to flip control of the House. That’s not because the Democratic showing in 2017 has been any less impressive than in prior wave elections.”

Republican governors face tough map in 2010 – NYT: “For nearly a decade, meetings of the Republican Governors Association were buoyant, even giddy, affairs, as the party — lifted by enormous political donations and a backlash against the Obama administration — achieved overwhelming control of state governments. But a sense of foreboding hung over the group’s gathering in Austin this past week, as President Trump’s unpopularity and Republicans’ unexpectedly drastic losses in elections earlier this month in Virginia, New Jersey and suburbs from Philadelphia to Seattle raised the specter of a political reckoning in 2018. ‘I do think Virginia was a wake-up call,’ said Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, who took over here as chairman of the governors association. ‘There’s a pretty strong message there. When Republicans lose white married women, that’s a strong message.’”

Bannon’s new crew – Axios: “Steve Bannon is setting up a new 501(c)(4) — aka a ‘tax-exempt social welfare organization’ — to promote his agenda, and, he argues, the president’s. Such groups don’t have to disclose their donors so long as — according to the IRS code — they can ‘be operated exclusively to promote social welfare’ and so long as politics are not the group’s ‘primary activity.’ Bannon first publicly mentioned his new plans on billionaire John Catsimatidis’ Sunday morning radio show, ‘Cat’s Roundtable.’ … The group has no name yet but will be set up this week. Bannon plans to use the group to establish a ‘war council’ to promote hawkish policies against China. … For all the speculation about Bannon’s relationships with donors he’s had no fundraising apparatus to date.”

Fox News: “Not one year into the Trump administration, New Hampshire already is buzzing with the anticipation of 2020 and playing host to an early screen test for a parade of potential and declared White House hopefuls. The state Democratic Party’s annual Kennedy-Clinton fall fundraising gala – held on a cold and windy November night this past Friday, in part to celebrate their 2017 victories and look ahead to the midterms – featured two headliners with an eye on the next presidential race. Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who over the summer launched a stunningly early 2020 presidential campaign, told the audience that ‘hyper partisan politics is tearing our country apart.’ The message from the three-term congressman was ‘what we really need a president to do is to bring us together, to restore civility in politics and respect in public service.’ Eight-term Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, also a potential contender for the next Democratic presidential nomination, preached to the crowd that ‘the Democratic Party’s got to be the party that builds the new system.’”

Sasse warns of ‘political idolatry’ in Iowa – Radio Iowa: “Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse warned against false idols, political tribalism and an addiction to ‘24/7 news cycles’ during a speech in Iowa tonight. ‘Friends, there is no politician who’s going to save America,’ Sasse said. ‘Friends, there is no election that’s going to transform your life to become so much better than it is right now and into all you want it to be.’ Sasse was the featured speaker at a fundraiser in Des Moines for The Family Leader, a Christian conservative organization. Sasse told the crowd elections can make the country ‘worse’ or ‘incrementally better,’ but Sasse suggested it was ‘almost a little bit un-American’ to organize your life around two- and four-year election cycles.”

Daily Caller: “Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier said Sunday on ’Face the Nation’ that former President Bill Clinton’s accusers ‘were not treated as they should have been’ and that ‘they should have been believed.’ Speier was responding to CBS host John Dickerson who asked about her stance on the argument of a reevaluation of Bill Clinton’s presidency. ‘I think that the victims who came forward were not treated as they should have been. They should have been believed because, as I have pointed out, most people who come forward are telling the truth,’ she said. ‘Let’s remember that he did face impeachment,’ Speier said of Cinton. ‘It wasn’t as if it was just tossed to the side. He faced impeachment.’ … There are other Democrats serving in congress that are in agreement with Rep. Speier. Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said that Bill Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”

Florida politics in sex scandal tsunami – 
Politico: “The Florida Democratic Party chairman resigned Friday in shame. A Republican state senator faces possible expulsion for sexual harassment. The state Senate’s top Democratic leader abruptly stepped down after admitting an extramarital affair with a lobbyist. Even amid the flood of sexual misconduct revelations that have rocked state capitals across the country, the nation’s biggest swing state has lived up to its reputation for political drama and excess over the past month, with major implications for next year’s contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections — and the next presidential race. ‘Florida is on fire. And it’s not a controlled burn,’ said John Morgan, a major Democratic donor, godfather to the state’s medical-marijuana initiative and wildcard possible candidate for governor.”

WaPo: “Six months into a special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, White House aides and others in President Trump’s close orbit are increasingly divided in their assessments of the expanding probe and how worried administration officials and campaign aides should be about their potential legal peril, according to numerous people familiar with the debate. … The investigation reached a critical turning point in recent weeks, with a formal subpoena to the campaign, an expanding list of potential witnesses and the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Some within Trump’s circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, have already been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, while others such as Hope Hicks — the White House communications director and trusted confidant of the president — and White House counsel Donald McGahn are expected in coming weeks.”

Special counsel sends wide document request – ABC News: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned. In particular, Mueller’s investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it. Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel’s first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation.”

Sky News: “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s future as German Chancellor is hanging in the balance after her potential coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), pulled out of talks to create a new government. Mrs. Merkel had been forced to seek an alliance with an unlikely group of parties after September’s elections left her without a majority. But after four weeks of negotiations, FDP leader Christian Lindner walked out of the discussions, saying there was no ‘basis of trust’ to forge a government with Mrs. Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens. ‘It is better not to govern than to govern badly,’ he said, adding that the parties did not share ‘a common vision on modernizing’ Germany. Mrs. Merkel emerged from the talks looking weary but vowed to steer Germany through the crisis. She said she would stay on as acting Chancellor and would consult with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on how to move forward, adding that a deal had been within reach.”

U.S. News and World:
 “Trump tweeted his pique at the father of one of three UCLA basketball players arrested in China recently for shoplifting. LaVar Ball said his son LiAngelo Ball’s offense was minor and refused to credit Trump with his son’s release, which the president said he was responsible for. Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter, ‘Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!’ The three players – LiAngelo BallJalen Hilland Cody Riley – all thanked Trump when they returned to UCLA after the president, writing on Twitter, prodded them to express their gratitude. Critics faulted Trump for saying he regretted helping three American citizens being held by another government because the father of one wasn’t sufficiently grateful.”

Beast mode or least mode?  – ESPN: “President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Monday morning to criticize Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican national anthem but sitting during the anthem for the United States prior to the Raiders’ loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca. Lynch was actually standing during the first few bars of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday before taking a seat. And while he stood for the Mexican anthem, he was not completely at attention.”

Trump admin tightens scrutiny of skilled worker visa applicants – WSJ

White House says cost of opioid epidemic topped $500 billion in 2015 – AP

So why’s Marine One in Palm Beach? – Palm Beach Post

“I never thought I’d be quoted as looking like villains from James Bond, I guess I should take that as a compliment.” – Secretary Steven Mnuchin on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” in response to criticism of photos of him and his wife posing with dollar bills 

“While it may not have been in line with your tribalism theme, it is worth mentioning thatMr. Clinton was guilty of perjury in a sexual harassment trial for which he was later disbarred. ’Tribal self-identification’ I voted for Ford, Anderson, Reagan, Bush, Clinton (1st term), then Republican — Clinton’s enthusiastic abortion support convinced me to vote almost exclusively for Republicans since.” – Tom Parks, Rogers, Ark.

[Ed. note: Tribalism, Mr. Parks, is a good thing, if taken in moderation. Being part of organizations larger than ourselves is good for the soul and useful for the body. These connections help us achieve more than we can by ourselves and imbue life with particular meaning. But that’s when they’re kept in proper proportion. Here’s C.S. Lewis in “The Four Loves”: “We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. They become gods; then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred.” When it comes to politics, a good standard is to test your willingness to excuse misconduct in one of your tribe with against your enthusiasm for condemning the same behavior in a member of a rival gang. I have no doubt that you would not tolerate perjury in a president of your own party any more than you condoned it from a Democratic president. We all must daily test our assumptions in this area, though. Are we excusing too readily? Are we condemning too gleefully?]      

“In many communities American small businessmen who own/operate lawn care, lawn irrigation, landscaping, construction site cleanup, property maintenance and most every other local business that employee unskilled labor. It is quite serious in the communities I am familiar with. Obviously, a legally compliant company cannot compete when the competition is hiring cheap labor that is often paid under the table in cash. A friend of mine was telling me that the biggest issue in his residential lawn care business are the illegals with an old truck, a flatbed car trailer and two riding lawn mowers. He says, in recent years they are becoming greater in numbers and literally putting him out of business.” – Phillip ScottWilmington, N.C.

[Ed. note: The least discussed but probably most important part of immigration reform gets shorthanded as “internal enforcement.” What we’re really talking about there is increasing the penalties on those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. If the risks of hiring those here illegally outweighs the savings from cheap labor then the demand for illegal workers will slacken, thereby changing the calculus for those here illegally and those considering entering the U.S. illegally or remaining here after their visas expire. This is where prior compromises have fallen short. Many in the business community, especially in the service and agricultural sectors, rely on illegal and/or migrant workers to pad profits and have lobbied hard against cracking down on the employer side.]

“It is a mystery to me why this is never discussed when talking about taxes.   It is my contention that government cannot tax a business or more importantly a corporation simply because they simply consider taxes and the compliance with those laws as a cost of doing business.   Those costs are folded into the price of whatever goods or services being provided.   As a consequence we the consumer of whatever product they produce end up paying those taxes in the form of higher prices for those products.  I think this is a gross disservice to the US tax payers in that they mostly don’t recognize these taxes levied against businesses and corporations as being paid indirectly by themselves. What say you?” – Will Gibbs, Mossyrock, Wash.

[Ed. note: Quite so, Mr. Gibbs! One of the advantages or disadvantages (depending on where you stand) of the so-called value-added tax or other taxes on consumption is that the government’s share of the price of goods is not immediately evident to the citizens. If you want to raises taxes on income, as Republicans are currently attempting, voters will howl. Adding a half-of a percent to price of Tootsie Pops or pinochle sets is much easier to do. Thusly, a frog can get more easily boiled in a VAT…]   

Share your color commentary: Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

Irish Times: “This week, an elderly German man was re-united with his car twenty years after he forgot where he parked. He reported his car missing to the police in Frankfurt in 1997 and city authorities have just found it. The car was not stolen, but in fact parked in a garage in an old industrial building. The car was discovered because the building was due to be demolished. The police set out to find the owner of the vehicle as it was in the way.When the 76-year-old owner was found, he was driven by police and accompanied by his daughter to be reunited with the car, according to German regional paper Augsberger Allgemein. The car was in disrepair, and could not be driven home.”

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.

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Mary JaneWhite House softens stance on Moore, cites tax vote
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Indiana families may sue over plan to rebury 17 unidentified bodies found during road project

A plan to rebury 17 unidentified bodies discovered during a road project in Indiana earlier this year may end up in a courtroom.

Descendants of people buried in the Stewart-Emery Cemetery, located just north of Louisville, Ky., are threatening a lawsuit to stop town officials from reburying the remains in a nearby nature preserve.

Families told WDRB-TV the proposal would put their loved ones in an area that’s hard to access and has issues with vandalism.

“It’s a beautiful cemetery,” Kathie Miller, a descendant, told WDRB. “It’s been desecrated repeatedly over the years. Lots of vandalism and just the foot path alone is a deterrent.”

A plan to rebury 17 unidentified bodies discovered through a road project has families now threatening a lawsuit.  (WDRB)

The cemetery dates back to the 1800s, The Courier-Journal reported. Town officials said finding unmarked remains around a site of that age would not be surprising.

Instead of moving the remains to another location, some families want to see the remains returned as close to the original site as possible.

“We’ve been told that they could probably put three people each in two of the empty plots that we know are here,” Janus Emery-Bowling said.

The Clarksville town manager told WDRB officials are trying to work with families, and repeatedly stated legal issues concerning the remains have made the reburial process complicated.

Families are planning to meet in early December with public officials to figure out the next step, but are also working with attorneys to take possible legal action against the town.

“If that’s what’s necessary, that’s the type of measure we’ll have to take,” Miller said.

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Mary JaneIndiana families may sue over plan to rebury 17 unidentified bodies found during road project
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After marijuana, are magic mushrooms next to be decriminalised in California?

Mayoral candidate near San Francisco seeks signatures to put decriminalisation on statewide ballot next year, saying drug could offer healing at time of crisis

As California prepares for the legalisation of recreational marijuana in 2018, one man is pushing for the state to become the first to decriminalise magic mushrooms.

Kevin Saunders, a mayoral candidate for the city of Marina, just south of the San Francisco Bay, has filed a proposal that would exempt adults over the age of 21 from any penalties over possessing, growing, selling or transporting psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms.

If he can get 365,880 voter signatures by the end of April 2018, the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative will be placed on the statewide ballot.

Saunders thinks that now is the right time because, he says, the drug can help bridge the current political divide and restore a sense of community.

The world is really hurting and everybody is at a loss about whats going on right now with Trump, Brexit, the refugee crisis and everything else. Im at a loss at what to do politically, but the only thing I feel like we could do is get psilocybin into more peoples hands, he said.

It deflates the ego and strips down your own walls and defences and allows you to look at yourself in a different light, he said, adding: It could allow people to figure out what to do and could revolutionise the way we treat those with depression, addiction and cluster headaches.

A profound magic mushroom experience helped Saunders get over a debilitating five-year heroin addiction in 2003, when he was 32. I got to the root of why I made a conscious decision to become a heroin addict; Ive been clean almost 15 years.

California is one of eight states where voters have legalised marijuana for recreational use, even though its still included in the federal governments list of schedule 1 drugs. Saunders and Kitty Merchant, who is co-author of the measure and his fiancee, believe that magic mushrooms also listed as schedule 1 drugs are the next logical step.

I think we have learned a lot from marijuana and we are ready as a society, he said.

So far, they have about 1,000 signatures, but plan to ramp up signature-gathering efforts in early December at college campuses and events like the medical marijuana summit The Emerald Cup. Eighty-five thousand signatures will trigger hearings at the state capitol.

Merchant and Saunders are not the first couple to propose legalising mushrooms. The husband and wife team Tom and Sheri Eckhert announced earlier this year that they were pushing for a similar ballot measure in Oregon, hoping to make it the first state in the US to legalise the drug.

They have taken a more conservative approach than Saunders has, aiming for a 2020 ballot and seeking to legalise the drug to be taken only in licensed centres under the supervision of a certified facilitator. Individuals would not be able to just buy the mushrooms and consume them at home as they can with marijuana.

Its not only amazing for mental health, theres also a lot of potential for self-development and creative work, Tom Eckhert told Vice in July.

Their efforts run in parallel to several promising clinical trials in which psychedelic mushrooms have been used to successfully treat severe depression, anxiety and addiction.

Robin Carhart-Harris, who has been studying the use of psilocybin to tackle treatment-resistant depression at Imperial College London, believes that it is a logical inevitability that the drug will become available to patients.

However, such legalisation will only take place once final phase 3 clinical trials are completed and the drug is approved by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency. To standardise the dose, the psilocybin would have to be administered in capsule or pill form.

Depression is such a major problem and its not being treated effectively at the moment. A lot of patients arent seeing results with traditional antidepressants, Carhart-Harris said, adding that psilocybin could be a legal medicine to be administered in clinics within the next five years.

Although magic mushrooms are the safest of all the drugs in terms of the number of people who require emergency medical treatment, according to last years Global Drug Survey, they still carry risks.

They are drugs with very low toxicity and very low abuse potential, said psychiatrist Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, who said that if you take into account how often people take them, they are safer than cannabis.

The only difference being the potential for mushrooms to distort your perceptions, cognition, emotions in a way that is totally outside of most peoples real of normal experience. For a minority of people, taken in the wrong situation, that could be terrifying.

Winstock is inviting people to fill out the 2018 Global Drug Survey, an annual anonymous survey that analyses international drug use patterns.

Winstock said hed prefer to see a well-regulated market for magic mushrooms where youd have to show a letter from a doctor saying you were not receiving any acute mental health care or medications. Buyers should also be given advice on how to use the drug, what the effects are and given links to online services to manage difficult situations if they arise.

I would get people to treat mushrooms with the respect they deserve, he said.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a not-for-profit group focused on ending the war on drugs, would not comment on the specific proposals in California and Oregon, but its director of legal affairs, Tamar Todd, said: We certainly agree that nobody should be arrested or incarcerated simply because they possessed or used drugs.

An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Robin Carhart-Harris works at University College London. He is at Imperial College London.

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Mary JaneAfter marijuana, are magic mushrooms next to be decriminalised in California?
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How to make your own delicious weed gummies

Once you’ve mastered the basics of cooking with marijuana, like making weed butter or baking pot brownies, it’s time to move onto advanced techniques. Weed gummies are a popular choice because they fit in a little bag, they’re delicious, and their small size makes dosing a breeze.

You won’t be able to use your weed butter to make your weed gummies because your treats won’t set. Instead, you’re going to need a little tincture, which is a concentrated extract of cannabis, usually in the form of alcohol.

If you live in a state where medical marijuana is already legal, you’ll be able to skip an important step in this recipe: making your tincture. Just go to your dispensary, buy a few ounces of it, and then stop by the grocery store for your food needs and get started. But if you like doing things yourself, here’s how to make a marijuana tincture.

How to make tincture

Photo by Nekenasoa (CC-BY-SA)

To make your tincture, you’re going to need time, weed, and booze.

You will need the following:

  • 1-quart jar
  • 1 oz of activated cannabis
  • Everclear, vodka, or vegetable glycerine if you don’t drink

Step 1: Activate your cannabis, also known as decarboxylating. Raw cannabis has no psychoactive components, which is why you need to cook or smoke it to get high. You won’t feel a thing just from eating a raw nug.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F. If your oven tends to cook hot, set it to 200 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and evenly line the tray with your ounce of broken up pot. Make sure it isn’t too crowded so the heat can evenly distribute. It’s OK to do this in two batches. Cook your pot for 50 minutes. If you’re in no hurry, set the over to 200 degrees F and cook it for a little closer to 80 minutes. 

When your pot is done, you’ll notice its color will have significantly darkened. Congratulations. You’ve got activated cannabis.

Step 2: Fill your quart jar with your activated pot and then pour in your liquid, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the jar. We prefer to use Everclear, but vodka also works well.

Step 3: Put the lid on your jar, place the jar in a dark cabinet, and walk away. Leave it for at least two weeks or up to a few months if you want an absurdly potent tincture.

Step 4: Test your tincture after two weeks. If it’s strong enough, strain out the plant matter and pour your resulting mixture into dropper bottles. Put some on your tongue, in your tea, or, even better, make yourself some gummies.

Caution: Tincture is incredibly potent. It’s a concentrated form of cannabis with a very high THC level. Use caution with it and be responsible.


How to make weed gummies

Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia (CC-BY)

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups of 100 percent juice fruit juice (pulp is fine just make sure its 100 percent juice)
  • 4 tablespoons of gelatin (Unless you’re vegan, use grass-fed gelatin.)
  • 3 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 3-4 teaspoons of your tincture depending on how strong you want your gummies
  • Gummy molds (If you have Amazon Prime, there are plenty of options for under $12.)

Photo via Amazon

Step 1: Put your juice in a medium sauce place over low-medium heat. You want your liquid to get warm, but you don’t want it to boil. When your juice is warm add your tincture.

Step 2: Add your gelatin, slowly whisking it into your mixture until it is thoroughly blended into the juice. If you see any grains keep whisking until it has dissolved completely.

Step 3: Taste your mix. If it isn’t sweet enough for your liking add raw honey, one tablespoon at a time until it reaches your ideal sweetness.

Step 4: Carefully pour your mixture into your gummy molds, cover them, and let them refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Step 5: Take them out of your molds and marvel at what you have created. Eat one gummy, and wait an hour. This will give you a general idea of how strong each treat is for future dosing. 

Step 6: Store your gummies in a sealed container in your fridge until you’re ready to eat them. For maximum effect, eat them within two weeks of making them.

You have now mastered the art of making your own homemade weed gummies. Remember, you can always take more, but you can’t take back a high you already have.

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Police: 7 shot in single incident in Indiana; 1 in custody

Seven people were shot, at least one sustaining serious injuries, in a single incident early Sunday at a nightclub in Gary, Indiana, authorities said.

Gary police Detective Sgt. William Fazekas said one man involved in the shooting is in custody and officers are seeking another. Police have described the incident as isolated.

Fazekas described most victims in the shooting in the northern Indiana city as being in stable condition and receiving treatment at hospitals. However, he said one victim was taken to a hospital in Chicago, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away, with more serious injuries.

Police found four male and three female victims at Dirtty’s Jazz and Blues Club. An eighth person hurt his leg while trying to get to safety.

There were no other details related to suspects, victims or circumstances of the shooting at the venue on the city’s east side. Lt. Dawn Westerfield, a spokeswoman for the department, said she expected to have more information later Sunday or early Monday.

A representative of the club did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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Only one-third of marijuana extracts accurately labeled, researchers say

(CNN)Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. But the law is not quite as black and white regarding marijuana extracts such as cannabidiol. CBD is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, increasingly thought to offer wide-ranging health benefits, with few side effects and little risk of addiction or abuse.

“More and more evidence is coming out that CBD can be helpful for a variety of conditions, from anxiety to inflammation to seizures and epilepsy,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
No surprise, dozens of companies are jumping on the proverbial bandwagon, peddling these products to consumers who have high hopes that they will help treat myriad ailments, from chronic pain to PTSD.
    Even though medical marijuana is legal in more than half of US states, it remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate derivatives of the plant, including CBD extracts.
    Bonn-Miller believed that a “systematic evaluation” of the products on the market was needed so consumers would know exactly what they were buying. Today, “It’s the Wild West,” he said.
    For a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Bonn-Miller and his team bought 84 commercially available CBD products on the internet and had them chemically analyzed by an independent lab.
    The researchers found that only 31% of the products tested contained the precise amount of CBD advertised on the label (within the acceptable margin of error), while 26% contained less CBD than the label indicated and 43% contained more.
    Accuracy of labeling, it turned out, was also associated with product type. About half of the CBD extract oils were labeled inaccurately. Nearly 90% of the vaporization liquids were labeled inaccurately. Tinctures (alcoholic extracts) were roughly equally likely to be over-, under- or accurately labeled.

      The quick hit history of medical marijuana

    “Was I shocked? No,” Bonn-Miller said. “Was I disappointed? Yeah. It just got me thinking, we need oversight of this industry. … (It’s) one thing on the recreational side, but here we’re talking about something that people are using almost exclusively medicinally. You don’t get high off of CBD.”
    That’s what made another finding from the study stand out: “Concentration of unlabeled cannabinoids was generally low; however, THC was detected in 18 of the 84 samples tested,” according to the paper.
    THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has its own medical applications but, unlike CBD, is psychoactive and can cause a “high.”
    Unknowingly ingesting THC, Bonn-Miller said, could result in side effects such as trouble sleeping and cognitive impairment. It could also have unintended consequences, such as positive drug tests.
    “As things stand now, the supplement industry overall is not regulated,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. “You don’t always know what you’re getting, how much you’re getting or even if the active ingredients are in there at all. With medical marijuana, it is almost the opposite situation at the federal level. It is highly regulated.”
    Bonn-Miller said increased regulation is exactly the kind of change he hopes his study will initiate.
    “If the FDA regulated this industry, we would be way better off,” he said. “They’re good at regulating things. When you go and buy a prescription at a pharmacy, you know what you’re getting. … (It’s the) same thing for food. When you get a pack of Doritos or a Hershey bar, you know what it is.”
    Perhaps in a sign of what’s to come, last week the FDA issued warning letters to four companies that the agency said are “illegally selling products (derived from marijuana) online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Until these products are officially regulated, it’s buyer beware.
    Before purchasing any pot pills, potions or lotions, first check the laws where you live. Then, make sure you’re ordering from a reputable dealer. Don’t be fooled by bogus offers or sham celebrity endorsements.
    Unless you’re fully confident in the ingredients of the product, Bonn-Miller suggests following the adage “start low, go slow” — referring to dosage. Of course, your best bet is to always talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any medications or supplements, including CBD.

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    Eaze is moving into recreational marijuana delivery with $27 million in new funding

    The cannabis industry has lit up in the last year, including weed delivery startup Eaze, which just raised $27 million in Series B financing and claims a 300 percent year-over-year increase in gross sales.

    But the weed delivery startup has come under scrutiny recently for burning through at least $1 million in cash per month. In contrast, other software-based pot delivery startups like Meadow have played it lean, focusing more on improving the software and logistics.

    Eaze has gone hard on marketing spend, using aggressive growth tactics and burning through the $24.5 million it had previously raised in VC cash.

    New CEO of the company Jim Patterson, who took over the role in December 2017 explains his approach as just part of the Silicon Valley cycle to get ahead, “We are a tech startup…we’re investing in growth,” he told TechCrunch when asked about the high burn rate. “We’re investing the money now in what’s clearly going to be a very big market.”

    Part of the pop in the pot delivery industry is due to tech finally meeting the needs of the medical marijuana community in the state of California, where Eaze operates. Eaze uses its proprietary software to help consumers with a medical marijuana license in the state buy pot from local dispensaries and then delivers those purchases to their door.

    However, California is set to begin issuing licenses for the cultivation and selling of the plant for recreational use at the beginning of 2018, which will open up a whole new revenue stream for Eaze and others in the space.

    Colorado, a state where recreational use of the drug has been legal for a couple of years now, is reportedly pulling in nearly $100 million in pot sales per month and the marijuana industry is slated to balloon to a $24 billion dollar business by 2025.

    Eaze is making the bet on high growth now to cash in on a good piece of those profits later, telling TechCrunch this was the reason for the Series B raise.

    We should note that its conceivable other larger tech companies in the delivery logistics space like Amazon could just as easily decide to get into the space, crushing little startups like Meadow and Eaze in the process.

    Patterson admits that’s not a far-fetched scenario but doesn’t think it will happen. “If you’re doing anything in retail and not thinking about Amazon at this point you’re crazy,” he said. “But the reality is [weed delivery] is still complicated at the federal level.”

    Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Laws recently passed for Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota have yet to become effective. Recreational use is legal in eight states, though, as mentioned above, certain licensing provisions don’t take effect in California until the new year.

    It may not be so complicated as more states adopt marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational use in the years ahead and Patterson doesn’t count out future competition from the Everything Store.

    “But I do think we have a couple of years and hopefully Eaze will be a lot bigger by then and by then maybe it will be less scary than it would be now with only 80 employees,” he told TechCrunch.

    Bailey Capital led the round, with participation from DCM Ventures, Kaya Ventures and FJ Labs.

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    The 6 Most Insane Things Happening Right Now (11/14/17)

    Look, we get it. There’s way too much important news to keep track of, but if you look away, you might miss something. So we’re here to save your sanity by combing through the current headlines and quickly summing up the most ridiculous and/or important stories. Please note that we’re not responsible for any insanity caused by the stories themselves.


    Source: CNN



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    The NFL can’t ignore its players’ activism any more

    Image: Getty Images

    With the NFL a day away from the kickoff of its 2017 season, a definite question has emerged: Is this the year that the NFL finally embraces athletic activism the way the NBA does?

    The examples are adding up on a nearly daily basis. A week of preseason football couldn’t go by without players making statements. Members of the Cleveland Browns knelt during the anthem. Michael Bennett sat out the anthem while his white teammate, Justin Britt, placed his hand on Bennett’s shoulder in a show of solidarity. Bennett’s brother, Martellus, made a political cartoon mocking the “stick to sports” mantra and posted it on Instagram. Following the neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville, Malcolm Jenkins stood for the national anthem with one fist raised, while his white teammate Chris Long put his arm around his shoulder, in a plea for racial unity. In a similar gesture, Derek Carr placed his hand on Khalil Mack’s back during the national anthem.

    These can be considered small gestures, but in the NFL, they speak loudly. 

    Just ask Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback kneeled during the national anthem before games last year as an act of protest against institutional racism in the United States in regards to police brutality and mass incarceration. Kaepernick’s actions become a national flashpoint, as athletes in multiple sports, former and current presidents, actors and artists alike chimed in. 

    Not everyone was on board. Some fans even started a campaign to boycott the NFL. After opting out of his contract with the 49ers this offseason, Kaepernick has not been able to find work in the NFL. He has been passed over in favor of a retiree, fringe college prospects, even a real estate agent. The situation has led to rumors that Kaepernick is being blackballed in a concerted effort to keep him off the field. At the least, there are allegations that certain owners and general managers would like to make an example out of him.

    Kaepernick’s struggle speaks to just how little the NFL has tolerated activism. But if his tribulations have been an effort to keep Kaepernick’s message from spreading within the NFL, they should be considered a failure. Despite the precarious situation Kaepernick finds himself in, activism is now far from the exception.

    And with Week 1 of the NFL season about to start, the expectation for more is palpable. For every fan that turns the TV off at the sight of an athlete kneeling before the flag, there is a concerned citizen marching to the NFL’s headquarters in New York and demanding an explanation. Another one buys a Kaepernick jersey, which remain popular even though he’s not in the league. The NFL, it appears, does not wish to cater to this particular demographic but they, like the athletes the NFL employs, have made this much clear: The more the NFL tries to pretend the people who support Kaepernick are irrelevant or simply don’t exist, the louder they’ll get—all the while assuaging concerns that Kaepernick would be a financial liability for ticket sales. 

    For two years in a row, despite the league’s best efforts, social activism and racism are going to be the off-field story of the NFL season. And it’s starting to follow what’s happened in the NBA.

    In profession basketball, activism isn’t the exception among its starts—it’s now the expectation. Examples are almost too numerous list, but here’s a sampling: Last year, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul donned all black on at the ESPYs aware show to discuss gun violence and racial profiling, and implored other athletes to get educated and involved. Anthony even marched with protesters in Baltimore, where he grew up, following the death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray, in the back of a police van. Just this offseason, Kevin Durant said he would not go to the White House if the Golden State Warriors were invited, a long-standing tradition for NBA champions. He also voiced disrespect for the current administration. 

    Durant could speak out against Trump and trust that he could have the support of the majority of his fans, the NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, and his locker room, headed by coach Steve Kerr, who publicly made his opinions on this administration clear. There is a great deal of organizational unity and progressive political thinking in the NBA, which makes it easier for players to speak up. They’re also more financially secure, with guaranteed contracts and higher salaries. And the NBA’s fanbase skews younger, more diverse, and more progressive. Social activism, for NBA players, might even be more profitable than silence. 

    All which is to say that NFL players will likely always face impediments that NBA players won’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from exerting their power like never before. 

    2016 was the year that everything converged. Social media collided with the specter of the presidency of Donald Trump, and all the while videos of violent, racist police brutality sprung up alongside protests, alongside an ugly, once-quieter call for white supremacy. There wasn’t a single social media platform in which racists didn’t congregate publicly, espousing retrograde views on their perception of inherent superiority. As a result, race and politics have leaked into every aspect of our culture. Today, to be a modern content consumer is to have an acute understanding of the phrase, “everything is political.” 

    For a professional black athlete, with a platform that—at the click of a button—can morph into a formidable pulpit, heeding the old mantra “stick to sports” has become an impossible proposition. This NFL season will be a battle for the life and death of that mantra, for the insistence that black athletes should no longer have to serve as an on-field distraction from the very issues that are vital to their survival off the field—a battle over personal dignity and self-expression, for the right of an athlete to never have to choose between his life and his livelihood, like Kaepernick did, ever again.

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    Men are calling this gynecologist to try to get medical marijuana

    Weed, dude.
    Image: Shutterstock / Atomazul

    Getting medical cannabis in some states is harder than others. Apparently it’s so difficult in Pennsylvania that dudes are calling up an OB-GYN in an attempt at getting their hands on the stick icky. 

    After some local press revealed that Dr. Liang Bartkowiak of Altoona, Pennsylvania was licensed to prescribe medical marijuana, her office became inundated with phone calls from potential patients looking to book an appointment. The problem? Bartkowiak works at a gynecologist’s office, which treats women exclusively, and most of the phone calls were from men, the Alatoona Mirror reports

    “I was shocked,” Bartkowiak, told the Mirror. “We’re fielding phone calls from male patients who want to schedule appointments.”

    While states like California operate relatively relaxed medical marijuana laws, allowing patients to access the plant with symptoms such as migraines, anxiety, and insomnia, the state of Pennsylvania has much stricter laws, and patients must have a “serious medical condition,” such as Epilepsy, cancer, and severe chronic or intractable pain.

    Because of this, and due to the fact that the program is still quite new, only a number of doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis as a treatment. Bartkowiak told the Mirror that she sought certification because she treats women with endometriosis and severe pain from surgeries. 

    With the opiate epidemic in full force, doctors like Bartkowiak are seeking alternative medicines in order to help treat pain.

    While providing access to medical marijuana is a big step for Pennsylvania, the state is playing it quite safe by banning the use of smokable flower, following in the footsteps of states like New York. So it’s likely those dudes looking for medical cannabis wouldn’t be able to get access to the pot they were expecting, even if they did qualify.

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