All posts by Tom Jones



UPDATED: Six people were left dead after a gunman opened fire after 9 pm on Friday night in the college town located near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who is believed to be the suspect in an Isla Vista mass shooting on Friday night, is the son of Hunger Games second unit director Peter Rodger, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

via Santa Barbara Mass Shooting: Son of ‘Hunger Games’ Second Unit Director Suspected Gunman – The Hollywood Reporter.

Santa Barbara Shooting 2 - H - 2014.jpg.jpg



A gunman went on a drive-by shooting rampage in a Santa Barbara student enclave and at least seven people were killed, including the attacker, authorities said.

Investigators believe a 22-year-old named Elliot Rodger driving a black BMW acted alone in the shootings around 9:30pm Friday night near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed at a news conference early Saturday that that seven people were killed, including the gunman, and seven wounded.

via 7 dead in drive-by shooting near UC Santa Barbara | Mail Online.


Earlier this week First Lady Michelle Obama urged schoolchildren to monitor their parents for racially insensitive comments because Federal laws can only go so far in stopping racism.

Image: White Privilege Conference (YouTube).

While we don’t have any racially insensitive incidents against African Americans to report at this time, maybe Mrs. Obama can assist us with the insensitive and racist actions taken by organizers of the annual White Privilege Conference held in Madison, Wisconsin.

According to Progressives Today, when a white student reporter attempted to enter a workshop being held at the conference he was escorted out of the area because his race was too offensive to other participants, the majority of whom were black.

The reason? An organizer told our investigator: “It can feel, for some people of color, unsafe. Not universally – like in your group everybody was fine, but for some people it can feel like, oh, I don’t … ”

“Because I was white they would feel unsafe?” our reporter asked as he was led out of the workshop.

“Exactly. Exactly,” the organizer said. “And it’s not because you’ve done anything. You seem like a perfectly fine person, but it’s because of experiences they’ve had with others.”

A promotional video entitled Lessons on Neo-Segregation says that the White Privilege Conference is an annual gathering of thousands of private and public educators, students and administrators from across the country. Their stated goal is to examine and confront what they see as “systemic race-based privilege in America.”

The video depicts numerous Caucasian individuals referred to as “White Allies” who provide some insight into how the organization defines racism and bigotry and how they indoctrinate children in American schools to believe that, if they are white, they were born with an unfair privilege. Moreover, the entire conference, attended by many of America’s public school teachers, stresses that Christianity is not a system of faith:

“A recurring theme at the White Privilege conference is the negative effects of European Christian culture. Christianity is presented not as a system of spiritual faith, but as an institutionalized system of social oppression like racism or sexism.”

White Ally: “The longer you are in the Tea Party, the more racist you become.”

8-year old White Ally: “White privilege is something white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things.”

“Racism is central to America.”

White Ally: “In our nation… racism… White people do not experience racism. White people can experience discrimination, but not racism.”
If someone disagrees with the policies of the Obama administration, or points out the black-on-black crime is much higher than white-on-black crime, they are often branded racists.
If you’re not a left leaning democrat and prefer to identify with the ideas of the Tea Party movement, guess what? Yep, you’re a racist.
Apparently, even being a Christian in America is now taboo and an instrumental part of America’s systemic racist culture.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a sign at a private business or gathering that says “Whites Only.”
This would, of course, cause a public outrage.
But when the tables are turned, and the segregation sign says “Blacks Only,” it is perfectly acceptable.Merriam-Webster defines racism as poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race and racial prejudice or discrimination.
Though attendees of the White Privilege Conference claim that white people do not experience racism, the individual who was escorted out of the workshop because of the color of his skin was discriminated against solely because he is white.
What would we call that?
Is that racism?
Probably not. According to the WPC it is perfectly justified because other attendees would feel uncomfortable in his presence.
But this article is most definitely racist.
And, I’m probably a racist. Chances are that you are too.
The racism in America is so systemic and widespread that someone should contact our first black President and let him know.

via Prison » No Whites Allowed: Student Booted From Conference Because Of Skin Color.


A reenactment of satanic rituals known as a “black mass” that had been scheduled for Monday evening on the Harvard campus was abruptly canceled amid a chorus of condemnation from Catholic groups and university officials and students.

However, a scaled-down version of the event, without the original sponsorship of the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, was apparently held late Monday by members of the New York-based Satanic Temple off campus, at the Hong Kong lounge in Harvard Square.

Lucien Greaves, a temple spokesman, said in an e-mail at 10:35 p.m. that the mass was “happening now” at the Hong Kong. He did not say how many people were participating or provide specifics on what was happening.A lounge employee, who would only identify himself as Fred, said in a phone interview that temple members were drinking at the bar, but he did not believe they were performing any rituals.

“I haven’t heard any complaining,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, Greaves told the Globe that the mass was canceled because organizers no longer had a venue.

“Everyone involved, outside of the Satanic Temple, got really scared,” Greaves said. “And I don’t necessarily blame them, because I understand that they were getting a lot of vitriolic hate mail, and I don’t think they expected it.”

Earlier Monday, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club had decided to move the mass off campus.

“The Harvard Extension School is grateful the student group has recognized the strong concerns expressed by members of the Harvard community and beyond,” Robert Neugeboren, dean of students and alumni affairs at the extension school, said after the decision was ade to find a new location.

In a statement later Monday evening, the cultural studies club said it was no longer sponsoring the mass after plans to hold it at the Middle East club in Central Square in Cambridge fell through.

The cultural studies club did not respond to an inquiry asking why it had decided to move the mass.

“The Satanic Temple has informed us that they will stage their own black mass ceremony at an undisclosed private location to ‘reaffirm their respect for the Satanic faith and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is to shame those who marginalize others by letting their own words and actions speak for themselves,’ ” the studies club said.

The initial plan to hold a black mass on the Harvard campus prompted widespread outrage.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston held a eucharistic procession that began at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology chapel in Cambridge Monday evening, followed by a holy hour at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square.

Jon Swedberg, 64, of Taunton and a marcher in the procession, said he was strongly opposed to the black mass and that he wanted to “pray to the Blessed Father on behalf of what’s happening.”

“I find [the black mass] offensive as a Catholic,” he said. “I find it goes directly against the faith of my church, the faith of the church of my choice.”

Hundreds of marchers proceeded from MIT to St. Paul Church for the holy hour, clutching rosary beads, crosses, and pictures of Jesus.

More than 1,500 people packed the church for the holy hour, including Drew Faust, Harvard president.

“Tonight, my friends, we gather in this moment of prayer, as a parish, a university community, to celebrate the greatest gift that God has ever extended to us, His son Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Michael E. Drea, who led the holy hour prayers.

He said people of faith “all recognize the message of the Satanic black mass, they recognize it for what it is: an act of hatred . . . for the Catholic church.”

Dani Mellen, 25, of Jamaica Plain, sat across the street from the church and said that she had wanted to attend the black mass. She said that she is not a satanist, but was curious to see how the black mass worked.

“I understand it was supposed to be a reenactment of what a satanic mass would have been,” she said. “I’m not totally sure, because I’ve never attended one, but I was excited to because I have a thirst for knowledge.”

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley and Faust had been at odds over the university’s initial decision to allow the reenactment on campus.

O’Malley said the event was disturbing. The satanic ritual is believed by critics to mock the Roman Catholic religion.

“Why people would want to do something that is so offensive to so many people in the community, whether they’re Catholic or not, it’s very repugnant,” O’Malley said in an interview with the Globe.

In a statement released earlier Monday, Faust said the performance would be allowed on campus.

She called the student group’s sponsorship of the black mass “abhorrent,” but said she must protect the group’s right to free speech.

“Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy,” Faust said.

Nearly 60,000 students, alumni, and faculty members signed a petition against holding the services on campus, according to a statement released by Harvard Rhodes scholar Aurora Griffin.

“I am ashamed that my university is allowing such a hateful event to happen under the auspices of ‘education,’ ” said Griffin, a former president of the Harvard Catholic Student Association.

The Harvard Extension club has continuously urged critics to widen their understanding of satanic worship. In an interview via e-mail Friday, an unidentified spokesperson said the event was meant to be educational, not offensive.

The spokesperson asserted that many satanists are animal rights activists, vegetarians, and artists with a strong sense of community.

via Controversial ‘black mass’ slated for Harvard is called off – Metro – The Boston Globe.


Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

They’re playing Devil’s advocate.

The New York-based Satanic Temple will be staging a black mass on Harvard University’s main campus next Monday — and the thought of calling demons into being has the Church all riled up.

Perhaps that’s the point.

The black mass is an inversion of the traditional Catholic Mass that medieval people associated with witches. The witches were accused of stealing a consecrated piece of Communion bread for the mass and worshipping the Devil.

However, there’s little evidence that the specter of black masses was anything more than myth that was used by people in power to justify witch hunts and trials.

Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves says his group contacted the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club to organize a re-enactment of a black mass based on the imaginings of French writer Joris-Karl Huysman in the novel “La-bas.” Huysman wrote the novel during the French Occult Revival of the 1800s.

Greaves says next week’s black mass at Harvard’s Queen’s Head Pub is meant to be educational. Members of the Satanic Temple don’t have anything diabolical planned — the group is not planning to use a consecrated host or provoke the spirit world. In fact, Greaves says he is an atheist.
“This is not a supernatural ritual,” Greaves told the Daily News. “We don’t believe in the supernatural. And I don’t think belief in the supernatural should give you any privilege, since any deeply held belief should be protected.”
This makes The Satanic Temple’s activities more of a political statement than a cohesive religious ritual — in other words, closer in theology to the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster than the Church of Satan.
Still, the Devil is essential.
“There’s no stronger cultural symbol for the revolt against the general idea of arbitrary authority and revolt against ultimate tyranny,” Greaves said of Satan. “There’s no better a construct that can act as a narrative for our works and goals.”
All this talk about Satan has spooked the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston issued a statement blasting the Satanists’ scheduled demonstration and announced plans to conduct a “Holy Hour” during the same time at a nearby church.
“For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the Church provides clear teaching concerning Satanic worship,” the statement read. “This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”
But the show will go on. Harvard University emphasized that they do not endorse the view of the Cultural Studies Club. Still, the school said in a statement that they supported the rights of the students to assemble freely.
As part of a series exploring different cultures, the Cultural Studies Club is also hosting a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition and a Buddhist presentation on meditation.
The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, has been actively involved in the church-state debate in the past. Currently, the group is trying to plant a monument to Satan at the Oklahoma Capitol as an alternative to a Ten Commandments monument that has been there since 2012.

via Satanists slated to perform ‘black mass’ at Harvard University claim they don’t believe in the supernatural – NY Daily News.


DURHAM, NC — A drug trafficker who worked for Al Sharpton’s nonprofit in the 1980s said that despite the preacher’s denials, he was eager to get a slice of the lucrative drug deal captured on FBI surveillance video.

“It was greed. He just wanted money,” Robert Curington, 72, told The Post during a two-day interview at his North Carolina home, detailing for the first time how Sharpton stepped into the FBI’s trap — and was then forced to become a federal informant.

Sharpton has said he showed interest in the drug deal only because he feared the undercover agent was armed. He also claimed that he snitched for the feds — as first reported by The Smoking Gun this week — because the mob was threatening him.

Curington called all of that a tall tale.

He instead provided a detailed account of how Sharpton wined and dined a man he thought was a South American drug lord — and said Sharpton met him not just once, but three times.

Sharpton’s saga began in the Manhattan offices of boisterous boxing big shot Don King in 1983, Curington said.

An unnamed felon trying to duck a 30-year prison sentence promised the feds he could help them nail King on coke-dealing charges.

An undercover FBI agent, using the name Victor Quintana, set up a meeting with King to discuss a boxing match in the Bahamas — but King had a bad feeling about the potential business partner and pawned him off on Sharpton.

Modal Trigger

Don King in 2002.

Photo: Reuters

“King was sly — he knew something was off about this,” Curington said. “So he kept him downstairs and let his new best friend Al Sharpton talk to him.”

Sharpton was eager to help, and “would spend cash taking him to dinner and chauffeur him around in a limo, feeling him out,” Curington said.

Then, at a restaurant, “they are talking and cutting their steaks. The agent’s voice changes, midstream, and he says, ‘I know where 10 kilos of cocaine are and we can make some big money on this.’

“Sharpton didn’t roll alone — he had a friend or adviser with him who says, ‘Hold it! This meeting is over. You come in here talking about boxing and now you’re gonna talk about cocaine? Let’s go, Al. We’re not into that.’

“Sharpton was hesitant to leave,” Curington remembered. “I believe he wanted to hear him out, but he listened to his friend.”

Sharpton met with Quintana a second time, in a hotel. Again, ­cocaine came up, and Sharpton’s pals called off the meeting.

At the third meeting with Quintana, Sharpton made sure to go alone — wearing a cowboy hat and chomping on an unlit cigar, which was made famous in footage from the FBI surveillance leaked in 2002.

“The agent said you would get $3,500 per kilo,” said Curington, who was not at the meetings but was told about them by Sharpton.

“Sharpton moved on it, and they sprung the trap on him right away. They got him.

“Al told me himself. He bit and took the bait.”


And once he was caught, he had no choice but to wear a wire to save his ample hide from prison.

“Sharpton said they could do whatever they wanted with him after that,” Curington said. “Because they had him. Either he worked for them or they put that news out there that he was into coke.”

Curington, a former record producer and music promoter who served two years in prison in the late 1970s on drug charges, served as an executive at Sharpton’s National Youth Movement in the 1980s.

Sharpton said on Friday that it is “not true” that he was at three separate meetings with the ­undercover agent where cocaine was discussed.

“Bob Curington is blatantly wrong,” said Sharpton, adding that if the repeated meetings were true, he could have claimed entrapment by the government.

He also claimed again that he became a snitch not because of the drug sting, but because of threats by the mob.

Curington said the activist put on a good show with his bluster and conviction — but inside, Sharpton was terrified of his FBI role, recording murderous mobsters like Joseph “Joe Bana” Buonanno.

“He was absolutely frightened about the job he had to do for the FBI,” Curington said. The feds trained Sharpton immediately, and “he didn’t know how to handle it.”

“He was really tormented. I told him, ‘You should have just listened to your advisers. Because you’re in deep.’ I said, ‘Why are you talking to these types of people?’ He was just greedy. It was all for money.”

Even as he preached against the ravages of crack cocaine on the inner city, Sharpton loved the white powder, Curington said.

When asked about his cocaine use, Sharpton said, “Absolutely, unequivocally no.”

Curington also said Sharpton only had money on his mind.

“He was like two people,” he said. “He ran around trying to score money for his National Youth Movement. But you can’t be an activist and an opportunist.”

via Sharpton was ‘eager to get slice of 1980s coke deal’: pal | New York Post.


President Obama is lending his political support to fellow community organizer Al Sharpton by headlining the MSNBC host’s National Action Network (NAN) conference this week in New York. Obama’s choice to headline the conference underscores the close ties of the two leaders and provides an increased sense of political legitimacy to the controversial leader and his much-maligned organization.

Sharpton’s conference is held in April “not just to commemorate the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, but to honor his legacy by proactively engaging in dialogue that will spawn change.” The NY Daily News reports that along with President Obama, the conference will feature other high-profile liberal leaders, including US Attorney General Eric Holder, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Over the years Sharpton’s organization has been accused of engaging in questionable financial practices, including using the threat of boycotts to extort donations from corporations and land Sharpton consultant positions. As the New York Post reported in 2008, nearly 50 companies—including GM, Pepsi and Wal-Mart, and some labor unions—had donated to NAN. The NY Post attributes many of these donations to extortionist tactics:

Terrified of negative publicity, fearful of a consumer boycott or eager to make nice with the civil-rights activist, CEOs write checks, critics say, to NAN and Sharpton – who brandishes the buying power of African-American consumers.” In some cases, they hire him as a consultant.

(Incidentally, one of the panel discussions for this year’s conference is “How Can Corporations Collaborate to Affect Change in the Community.”)

As Breitbart News reports, Sharpton’s organization was charged in 2006 by the IRS for improperly reporting taxes. The organization still owes the federal government $1.9 million in back taxes and penalties.

The ties between President Obama and Al Sharpton are strong. The NY Daily News reports that Sharpton has visited the Oval Office several times during Obama’s tenure. In 2009, Sharpton and Michael Bloomberg met with Obama on education initiatives. In 2010, the president invited Sharpton back to discuss jobs and the state of the economy with other black leaders. Sharpton also took part in the First Lady’s 50th birthday celebration and supported the president’s young black and Hispanic men initiative.

This is the second time Obama has appeared at the NAN convention, also speaking at the event in 2011.

via Obama to Headline Al Sharpton’s NAN Conference | Truth Revolt.


Black people are the fathers and mothers of civilization, white men are the devil, the Christian god is nothing more than a ghost and only a small percentage of people understand the world.

These are just some of the ­beliefs behind the bling — the gaudy Five Percent Nation ­medallions worn by Jay Z and Carmelo Anthony.

Last week, all eyes at the Barclays Center weren’t on Jay Z’s better half, Beyoncé — but on the coaster-size golden pendant swinging from the rapper’s neck as the couple sat courtside. Asked once if the group’s symbol — an eight-pointed star with the number 7 in the middle — held any meaning for him, the rapper shrugged, “A little bit.”

So what exactly do Five Percenters believe?

“The rationale is that the black man is God and created the universe, and is physically stronger and intellectually stronger and more righteous naturally,” says Michael Muhammad Knight, an author of two books on the radical group.

“Whiteness is weak and wicked and inferior — basically just an errant child who needs to be corrected.”

The group was founded in 1964 in Harlem by Clarence Smith, who later changed his name to Allah, a former student of Malcolm X who disagreed with the Nation of Islam over the nature of God.

Smith rejected the notion of a supernatural deity and instead believed that all black men had God in them and that black women were “earths” who took on a complementary yet subordinate role to their gods.

The idea is empowering, Knight says.

“Anytime someone is saying you have to accept your conditions of oppression and slavery and pray to an unseen god — that kind of god is just being used to keep people down and to keep people from looking to themselves as a solution to their problems,” he notes. “If there is a problem, no one will fix it for you, except yourself.”

Five Percenters don’t consider themselves Muslim, but their name comes from the Nation of Islam’s belief that 5 percent of humanity are “poor righteous teachers” who exist to enlighten the masses about the truth of existence.

Members will sometimes refer to themselves as “scientists” to drive home the search for truth. And they face a tall task, because under their belief system, 10 percent of the world’s population controls the other 85 percent by spreading the belief in a “mystery God.”

To show followers the way, members must learn the Supreme Mathematics and Supreme Alphabet — powerful tools to decipher the meaning of the universe. In both, each letter and number represents a concept: for example, 1 is knowledge, 2 is wisdom, while A is Allah and B is be, or born. The number 7 on Jay Z’s pendant stands for God.

Caucasians, meanwhile, don’t enjoy an exalted status in the narrative of the Five Percenters.

“The first lesson I learned from the Five Percent was simple: F–k white people. Seriously. White people are devils,” Knight, 36, who is white and converted to ­Islam as a teenager, once wrote.

He insisted the movement has been welcoming and that he views the controversial sentiment as a statement about power rather than biology.

“For me, it is about who is marked as privileged in the power relations of this society,” he says.

Some followers take exception to those who transform their flag into a fashion accessory.

“Jay Z is not an active member — no one has vouched for him” Saladin Allah, a representative of the group’s upstate region, told The Post. “It was always understood that you don’t wear the ­regalia if you don’t totally subscribe to the life.”

via Jay-Z’s bling from ‘whites are devils’ group | New York Post.


Al Sharpton was a secret FBI snitch whose recorded conversations with top mobsters helped take down members of the Genovese crime family, a bombshell report claims.

While it was known that Sharpton worked with the FBI in the early 1980s, — citing new documents and extensive interviews with investigators — spelled out new details that for the first time exposed his interactions with four of the five New York City crime families.

The report released Monday said investigators from the FBI and NYPD equipped Sharpton — known as “CI (confidential informant) 7″ — with a bugged Hartmann briefcase into which unsuspecting mobsters spilled their secrets.

Dirt provided by Sharpton helped the feds secure court orders to wire two Genovese family social clubs, including former boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante’s headquarters, three cars used by the mob and more than three dozen phone lines, including Gigante’s, the report said.

Sharpton worked directly with the FBI/NYPD Organized Crime Task Force, according to the report.

The feds worked hard to shield Sharpton’s identity because the undercover work put his life at risk, the report said.

Sharpton was known to have crossed paths with underworld figures through his work in the music industry and boxing world, including with his mentor James Brown. He also had an association with boxing promoter Don King.

Sharpton, in a Post interview, did not deny that he cooperated with the FBI. But he said the report greatly exaggerated his role.

“It’s crazy. If I provided all the information they claimed I provided, I should be given a ticker-tape parade,” Sharpton said.

He insisted he did not own a briefcase with a listening device.

There’s a dispute about how Sharpton became an FBI informant.

The report said Sharpton was recorded in a meeting that involved an undercover FBI drug sting. While Sharpton did not explicitly offer to arrange a drug deal, the feds had enough to frighten the fiery activist into becoming an informant, the report said.

But Sharpton offered a different account.

He said it was he who contacted the feds after a mobster threatened him while he was acting as a concert promoter.

Later this week, Sharpton will be hosting a meeting of his National Action Network in New York at which President Obama is the featured speaker.

via Sharpton secretly worked as FBI mob informant: report | New York Post.

Google Executive Resigns from World Vision Board over Decision to Affirm Traditional Marriage

The director of corporate giving for Google Inc. has resigned in protest from the board of a Christian aid organization after the charity reversed its decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages.

As the Associated Press reported Thursday, Jacquelline Fuller said in an email Wednesday to AP that while she remains a “huge fan” of the group’s work on behalf of the poor, she resigned Friday “as I disagreed with the decision to exclude gay employees who marry.”

AP reported that Fuller would not comment further.

Last week, World Vision U.S., a Christian international relief organization, had announced that it would hire employees in same-sex marriages. In response to this decision, the charity received severe criticism from some prominent evangelical leaders and, in addition, several thousand donors cancelled their child sponsorships.

Within two days, World Vision reversed its decision, but it began to hear complaints from evangelicals and others who supported recognition for same-sex married employees.

As the Washington Times reports, the charity said in a statement, “The board acknowledged it made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between one man and one woman.”

via Google Executive Resigns from World Vision Board over Decision to Affirm Traditional Marriage.

Mozilla CEO Resigns After Furor over Same-Sex Marriage

(AP) Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO after protests of his support of a gay marriage ban in California.

The Mountain View-based nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser had promoted him last week.

At issue was Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. The ban was overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court last year left in place a lower-court ruling striking down the ballot measure.

Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker apologized for the company’s actions in an open letter online Thursday. She says Eich is stepping down for the company’s sake.

She says Mozilla believes in equality and freedom of speech. It is still discussing what is next for its leadership.

via Mozilla CEO Resigns After Furor over Same-Sex Marriage.


Billionaire philanthropist George Soros hopes the U.S. goes to pot, and he is using his money to drive it there.

With a cadre of like-minded, wealthy donors, Mr. Soros is dominating the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate by funding grass-roots initiatives that begin in New York City and end up affecting local politics elsewhere.

PHOTOS: Celebrity meltdowns

Through a network of nonprofit groups, Mr. Soros has spent at least $80 million on the legalization effort since 1994, when he diverted a portion of his foundation’s funds to organizations exploring alternative drug policies, according to tax filings.

His spending has been supplemented by Peter B. Lewis, the late chairman of Progressive Insurance Co. and an unabashed pot smoker who channeled more than $40 million to influence local debates, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The two billionaires’ funding has been unmatched by anyone on the other side of the debate.

Mr. Soros makes his donations through the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit he funds with roughly $4 million in annual contributions from his Foundation to Promote an Open Society.

Enlarge Photo

Mr. Soros also donates annually to the American Civil Liberties Union, which in turn funds marijuana legalization efforts, and he has given periodically to the Marijuana Policy Project, which funds state ballot measures.

Lewis, who died in November, donated to legalization efforts in his name and through the ACLU and the Marijuana Policy Project, on which he served as the chairman of the board. Lewis‘ estate declined to comment for this article.

“The pro-legalization movement hasn’t come from a groundswell of the people. A great deal of its funding and fraud has been perpetrated by George Soros and then promoted by celebrities,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush. “The truth is under attack, and it’s an absolutely dangerous direction for this country to be going in.”

PHOTOS: Highest-earning celebrity couples

Mr. Soros‘ Open Society Foundations have annual assets of more than $3.5 billion, a pool from which he can dole out grants to pet projects, according to 2011 tax returns, the most recent on file for his charitable organizations.

David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who often are cited for their conservative influence, had $308 million tied up in their foundation and institute in 2011.

Mr. Soros did not respond to a request to be interviewed.

via Billionaire George Soros turns cash into legalized marijuana – Washington Times.


Michelle Obama, her daughters and her mother plan a week-long solo visit to China this month that includes meetings with China’s first lady and high school and university students – and that will likely cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.
President Obama and his family have come under heavy scrutiny for the unprecedented high travel costs during his time in office – and a week-long trip to China for four members of the First Family, members of the Secret Service and other members of the White House staff will likely cost several millions of dollars.
The president’s pricey travels have become so controversial that Judicial Watch was forced to sue the Secret Service and Defense Department to get them to turn over records on the amount of taxpayer money used to fly the First Family all over the world – in many cases for vacations or fundraisers – over the last two years of his administration.

What the records show was startling.
According to Judicial Watch, it cost more than $11 million for the president and his wife to travel to Africa to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December of last year. According to the New York Daily News, the Obamas were only in Africa for ‘less than 13 hours.’
But that trip was nothing compared to a 2013 visit the Obamas made to the Dark Continent, which reportedly cost tax payer more than $100 million.
On the 2013 trip, some of the reported expenditures include the stationing of a Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Africa equipped with a fully staffed medical trauma center, military cargo planes to fly a fleet of 56 support vehicles to transport the Obamas – complete with 14 limousines and three trucks carrying bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas were to stay – and fighter jets that flew in shifts to provide coverage over the president’s airspace for the entire trip.
In June, the first lady went to Ireland for a two-day trip. The cost to taxpayers: $5 million.
Michelle Obama reportedly stayed at a $3,300-per-night hotel in Dublin, and needed to book 30 rooms at the posh Shelbourne Hotel for her staff and security detail.
Expensive: Travel expenses for the First Family have cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the last two years alone
Expensive: Travel expenses for the First Family have cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the last two years alone
For two vacations the Obamas took in 2013 – one to Hawaii and one to Martha’s Vineyard – records show that it cost taxpayers a whopping $7,396,531 in flight expenses alone. That figure also includes travel expenses for the president’s trip to California to file the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
During an August trip to California, during which Obama attended a party held by Democratic fundraiser Jeffrey Katzenberg and again appeared on the Tonight Show, taxpayers paid more than $2 million in travel expenses for the president and his security detail.
The president will not be joining his family on what will be the first lady’s first visit to the Asian economic powerhouse.
In an announcement Monday on the White House blog, the first lady says a China visit is important because it is the most populous country in the world, with more than 1.3 billion people, and is an important world actor.
Mrs. Obama will travel from March 19-26, spending several days in the capital of Beijing before stops in the central city of Xian and the southwestern city of Chengdu, the White House said. Her schedule includes a meeting with Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Taxpayers footed the more than $2 million bill so Obama could appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Mrs. Obama missed meeting China’s first lady last June when the newly installed Xi, accompanied by his wife, traveled to Southern California for a summit with President Barack Obama. The presidential-level meetings were around the time of Sasha Obama’s 12th birthday, and the White House said Mrs. Obama stayed in Washington with family.
She wrote a letter to Peng Liyuan welcoming her to the U.S. and expressing hope that they would meet soon in China, the White House said.
In China, Mrs. Obama will focus on the power and importance of education, including in her own life, during visits to a high school and a university in Beijing, and a high school in Chengdu.
She recently began an effort to encourage America’s young people, including some of the most economically disadvantaged, to pursue a college education. On past trips outside the U.S., she also has made the same point to students from the host country. Mrs. Obama grew up in a poor Chicago family, but earned degrees from two of America’s best universities.
Africa: It cost taxpayers $11 million when the Obamas went to Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral. They were there for 13 hours
Africa: It cost taxpayers $11 million when the Obamas went to Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral. They were there for 13 hours
In China, she will be accompanied by daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Marian Robinson, who lives at the White House. President Obama will not be on the trip; he is scheduled to depart the U.S. later that week for stops in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
Mrs. Obama is encouraging American students to follow her trip on social media and the White House website, where she will post a daily travel blog. In preparation for the trip, she scheduled a visit Tuesday to a Washington charter elementary school with a Chinese-immersion, international baccalaureate program.
In her blog post, the first lady said countries today are no longer isolated and face many of the same challenges, whether it is to provide students with a good education, combat hunger, poverty and disease or address threats like climate change.
‘These issues affect every last one of us, so it’s critically important that young people like you learn about what’s going on not just here in America, but around the world,’ Mrs. Obama said. ‘Because when it comes to the challenges we face, soon, all of you will be leading the way.’
‘That’s why everywhere I go, whether it’s here in the U.S. or abroad, I meet with young people to hear about your challenges, hopes and dreams — and that’s what I’ll be doing in China as well,’ she said. ‘I’ll be focusing on the power and importance of education, both in my own life and in the lives of young people in both of our countries.’
History: First families going back to Richard Nixon have visited China on diplomatic trips, including the family of Bill Clinton, seen here
History: First families going back to Richard Nixon have visited China on diplomatic trips, including the family of Bill Clinton, seen here
Among recent first ladies, Laura Bush traveled to China with President George W. Bush, and Beijing was the place where Hillary Rodham Clinton made her now famous declaration at a United Nations women’s conference in 1995 that ‘women’s rights are human rights.’
Mrs. Obama’s trip will be a highly visible endeavor, but the fact that she’s taking the rest of her family suggests ‘she’s not going in search of a crusade of one sort or another,’ said Jonathan D. Pollack, a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. ‘The clear intent here is not to touch any particular hot buttons.’
Mrs. Obama’s previous solo travels outside the U.S. as first lady were to Mexico in 2010, and Botswana and South Africa in 2011.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Michelle Obama plans pricey trip to China on the taxpayer’s dime | Mail Online.


WASHINGTON — President Obama dissed Russia as a “regional power” on Tuesday and said his bigger worry is a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.

Obama’s comment came at a press conference in the Netherlands, where he was asked if 2012 challenger Mitt Romney was right that Russia is the United States’ No. 1 political foe, in light of its absorption of Crimea.

“Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the No. 1 national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan,” the president said.

Obama called Russia a “regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness,” while speaking with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after a nuclear security summit in The Hague.

The president claimed the Russian seizure of Crimea is “not a done deal” — but then added he had “no expectation that they will be dislodged by force.”

Obama called for the international community to require Russia to pay costs for its action, both to deter any further incursions and to punish its behavior, indicating the policy could be effective.

“History has a funny way in moving in twists and turns and not just in a straight line,” he said.

He said there would always be “bad things” going on in the world, and noted that the US hadn’t gone to war with Russia. He said Russia had a legal right to build up forces on its own territory, although he has discouraged escalation and called for talks with Ukraine.

“We’re not recognizing what has happened in Crimea,” he said.

via Obama’s top fear is Manhattan getting nuked | New York Post.