DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado man was charged on Tuesday in federal court with threatening to kill U.S. President Barack Obama during an October campaign visit, and court documents showed that he told investigators that he has had daily homicidal fantasies for years.
Mitchell Kusick, 20, was ordered held on a charge of making threats against the president pending a bond hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver on Friday.
A U.S. Secret Service affidavit unsealed on Tuesday also showed that Kusick, who was arrested on Friday, “made credible threats and took steps” toward shooting and killing children at a trick-or-treat Halloween event sponsored by a Denver-area high school.
“Kusick made statements about a desire to kill people on Halloween and that he had been tracking President Obama’s schedule so he can assassinate the President,” said the affidavit by Secret Service Agent Melissa Blake.
Kusick apparently detailed his plans to his mental-health therapist, who admitted him to a hospital and reported the threats to police. Secret Service agents and police then interviewed Kusick in the hospital, and he admitted to having daily “homicidal fantasies” for five or six years.
Kusick told agents he was obsessed with high-profile Colorado crimes, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the July suburban Denver movie theater rampage, and the murder and dismemberment of a 10-year-old local schoolgirl.
Kusick, who said he was a student at Colorado Mesa University, told authorities he wanted to go down in history as the “guy who killed Obama,” although he thought the president was doing a good job, the affidavit said.
He said nothing in court except, “Yes, sir,” and “Yes, your honor,” when a magistrate judge asked him if he understood the charge against him and his rights.
Authorities said that Kusick told them he stole a gun from his aunt and uncle, but was unable to buy ammunition for the weapon at a Walmart.
Kusick has not yet been charged in state court for the Halloween threats, but he faces a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the federal charge.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado said Kusick had been in custody since his arrest on Friday. The case was under seal until after he appeared in court on Tuesday.
The Jefferson County School District said in a statement that police had acted quickly, and that the children who attended the Halloween event were not in any danger because the man was in custody at the time – on a 72-hour mental health hold at a local hospital after disclosing these plans to his mental health therapist, according to the affidavit.
President Barack Obama’s lead in battleground states Colorado and Virginia have vanished in the past month, according to new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist and Fox News polls of the states.
Obama is now tied with Republican Mitt Romney in Colorado among likely voters in the new NBC-WSJ-Marist poll, down from a 5-point lead in mid-September. In Virginia, a 7-point advantage in a September Fox News poll has crumbled, and Romney now leads by 2 points.
In Colorado, Obama has gotten slammed in the past month with Independents. An 11-point lead last month has slimmed to a virtual tie. Romney has also expanded his lead to 13 points among men and closed the gap to just a 3-point disadvantage among women. Obama and Romney met for the first debate in Denver, where Romney won handily.
Independents have also moved toward Romney in Virginia. They now prefer him by an astounding 22 points, compared with an even split last month. Obama’s lead with women in the state has been cut in half to just 6 points.
Significantly, though, the NBC-WSJ polls also show that Obama has maintained a 50-47 lead in battleground state Nevada, which mirrors a result from Public Policy Polling released yesterday. If Obama is able to hold onto Nevada along with Wisconsin and Ohio (two places where he is currently leading polling), he would be on track to 270 electoral votes.
Why is there so little trust in the mainstream media these days? CNN ratings have been hovering close to record lows over the past few months. A recent Gallup survey found that 60 percent of all Americans “have little or no trust” in the mainstream media. That was a record high according to Gallup. So why is this happening? Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media quit telling the truth a long time ago. The mainstream media has an agenda, and more Americans than ever are beginning to recognize this. Once upon a time, control of the news in the United States was at least somewhat decentralized. But now there are just six giant media corporations that control almost everything that we see, hear and watch. The version of “the news” that they give us is designed to serve the interests of those corporate giants and the other corporate giants that spend billions of dollars to advertise their products through those outlets. Watching the news on television can be an extremely frustrating experience these days. Yes, there are little bits and pieces of the truth in there, but you have to wade through an awful lot of “infotainment” to get to those bits and pieces. That is one of the reasons why the “alternative media” has absolutely exploded in recent years. The American people are hungry for the truth, and they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of news on the Internet in an attempt to find it.
We live at a time when the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. Just about everything that can be shaken is being shaken, and anyone with half a brain realizes that we are heading for challenges that previous generations never even could have imagined.
There certainly is no shortage of news, but instead of focusing on the terribly important issues that we are facing, the mainstream media feeds us an endless stream of fluff, scandals and celebrities.
Just check out some of the headlines that I found on the front pages of major mainstream news websites today….
“Man Dies After Roach-Eating Contest”
“Ex-NFL Cheerleader Admits To Sex With Minor”
“Facebook Rolls Out Pinterest-Like Tool For Buying Stuff”
“Grumpy Cat Becomes Internet Sensation”
So what should the mainstream media really be talking about today?
The following are 28 good questions that the mainstream media should be asking….
1. Why is the IMF warning that there is an “alarmingly high” risk of a deeper global economic slowdown?
2. Why is Switzerland preparing for “major civil unrest” throughout Europe?
3. If the Spanish financial system completely collapses, what is that going to mean for the rest of Europe and the rest of the globe?
4. Is Turkey about to drag the rest of NATO (including the United States) into a war with Syria?
5. Why aren’t people screaming in outrage about the fact that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year in 2012?
6. Should we be concerned that the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt on the first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined?
7. If temporary refinery problems can cause some gas stations to shut down and cause gas prices in California to skyrocket to all-time highs, what would a real crisis do?
8. Why are some analysts predicting that a “rapid collapse” is coming for the U.S. dollar?
9. Will the U.S. dollar soon lose its status as the primary reserve currency of the world?
10. Why is Marc Faber warning that the wealthy “may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth“?
11. By keeping interest rates near zero, is the Federal Reserve crushing the retirement dreams of millions of elderly Americans?
12. Why do Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and most members of Congress continue to stand behind the TSA when nearly 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from travelers since 2003?
13. Why are nearly half a million employees of the federal government making over $100,000 a year?
14. How in the world can you have a debate about the economy that lasts for an hour and a half and never even mention Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve or quantitative easing?
15. Why are Romney campaign signs being smeared with excrement?
16. British taxpayers spent 57.8 million dollars on the royal family in 2011. U.S. taxpayers spent 1.4 billion dollars on the Obamas that same year. How in the world can this be justified?
17. Why does the U.S. government treat our military veterans like garbage? Many of them have given everything for their country. Shouldn’t we treat them with more respect?
18. Why is the mainstream media ignoring a warning that an international gang of cybercriminals plans “to steal money from the online accounts of thousands of consumers at 30 or more major U.S. banks“?
19. The New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts is warning that rapidly rising global food prices could soon lead to massive food riots all over the planet. Is this something that we should be concerned about?
20. Why is the United Nations pushing to have the authority to impose “global taxes” on all of us?
21. How did we get to the point where sex trafficking is now at epidemic levels all over the United States?
22. Why are so many young people being arrested? Should we be concerned that 41 percent of all Americans have been arrested by the time they reach the age of 23?
23. Why are most Americans either overweight or obese or severely obese?
24. How was one Baltimore woman able to accumulate 30 free cell phones all paid for by the federal government?
25. Why are nearly 30 percent of all young adults in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket living at home with their parents?
26. Why has the birth rate in the United States fallen to an all-time low?
28. Is the U.S. Supreme Court about to make it illegal to resell our own stuff at yard sales, in thrift stores and on eBay?
Do you have any questions to add to this list?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
It’s hard not to read this as anything but an election year move. The White House, though, is painting it as taking action on national security interests.
According to Bloomberg, President Obama has barred a Chinese company — Ralls Corporation — from building a wind farm near a Navy base in Oregon.
Bloomberg reports that it’s the first time in 22 years a transaction like this has been blocked.
“The president’s action demonstrates the administration’s commitment to protecting national security while maintaining the United States’ longstanding policy on open investment,” the U.S. Treasury said in a statement. “The President’s decision is specific to this transaction and is not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China or any other country.”
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. — which is headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — ordered the company in July to keep away from wind-development sites due to vague “national security risks.” The matter was referred to Obama after Ralls filed suit against the CFIUS earlier this month.
CNBC’s Eamon Javers tweeted that the company will have to remove even early developments like concrete foundations:
Here’s the full statement from the US Treasury:
WASHINGTON – As chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the U.S. Department of the Treasury today issued the following statement about the President’s decision regarding Ralls Corporation:
The President issued an order prohibiting the acquisition and ownership of four wind farm project companies by Ralls Corporation, its owners, its subsidiaries, and its affiliates. The order directs Ralls Corporation to divest its interest in the wind farm project companies that it acquired earlier this year, and to take other actions related to the divestment. Ralls Corporation is owned by Chinese nationals, and is affiliated with a Chinese construction equipment company that manufactures wind turbines. The wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.
The President took this action pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended by the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (“section 721”). Section 721 authorizes the President to suspend or prohibit certain acquisitions of U.S. businesses by foreign persons where he finds that there is credible evidence that the foreign interest exercising control might take action that threatens to impair national security, and where provisions of law other than section 721 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act do not provide adequate and appropriate authority to protect national security in the matter under review.
The President’s action demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to protecting national security while maintaining the United States’ longstanding policy on open investment. The President exercises his authority under section 721 with a focus on national security concerns and is committed to ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of all foreign investors. The Administration will continue to ensure that the United States remains the most attractive place for businesses to locate, invest, grow, and create jobs. The President’s decision is specific to this transaction and is not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China or any other country.
The President’s decision took into consideration the factors described in subsection 721(f), as appropriate, and the recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) that he issue an order prohibiting this transaction. CFIUS is an interagency committee whose purpose is to review transactions that could result in the control of a U.S. business by a foreign person in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States. In assessing the transaction’s impact on national security, CFIUS conducted both a 30-day, first-stage review, and an additional 45-day, second-stage investigation. CFIUS’s detailed analysis took into account all relevant national security factors, including those elements enumerated in section 721. CFIUS also received a thorough analysis of the threat posed by this transaction from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as required by section 721.
CFIUS is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and includes as members the Secretaries of State, Defense, Commerce, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Trade Representative. The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor participate as non-voting, ex-officio members.
via Washington Post:
Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.
Many experts attribute the continued decline to record numbers of students taking the test, including about one-quarter from low-income backgrounds. There are many factors that can affect how well a student scores on the SAT, but few are as strongly correlated as family income.
Scores among every racial group except for those of Asian descent declined from 2006 levels. A majority of test takers — 57 percent — did not score high enough to indicate likely success in college, according to the College Board, the organization that administers the test.
In the Washington region, average statewide reading scores in Maryland, Virginia and the District all slipped slightly from 2011. But in Montgomery, Fairfax and Arlington counties, students outperformed their peers across their states and the country. And Montgomery County set a record for total average scores.
But the national trend lines are alarming and should serve as “a call to action,” College Board President Gaston Caperton said. “When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing.”
The nearly four-hour SAT covers critical reading, writing and math. Each subject is worth a maximum of 800 points, for a potential total of 2400 points. For generations, SAT scores have been used, in conjunction with grade-point averages, by college admission officers to judge whether an applicant is likely to succeed at their school.
But questions about whether the SAT is biased in favor of middle-class and wealthy students have led many colleges and universities to use other gauges or to accept an alternative exam, the ACT, which edged out the SAT in 2012 for the first time as the nation’s most popular college entrance exam.
There is a significant correlation between family income and test scores on the SAT, with average scores increasing with every $20,000 in additional family income.
Educational experts are divided over the causes. Some assert that privileged students do better on the SAT because they are exposed to activities, from summer camp to private violin lessons, that give them an advantage in that particular test. Others point to the fact that affluent parents can provide private tutoring and privileged students can afford to take the test multiple times.
Still, many school districts — and parents — traditionally have seen SAT scores as an important measure of the quality of a K-12 education.
Across the country, 1.66 million seniors who graduated last June took the SAT, the highest number since the exam was first administered in 1926 to a few thousand overwhelmingly white and privileged students headed for Ivy League schools. In many places around the country, school administrators have been nudging more students to take the exam, saying that all students should consider college. In Prince George’s County, officials plan to offer the exam during the regular school day this year, making it more convenient for students.
The average reading score for the 2012 graduating class was 496, down one point from the previous year and 34 points since 1972. The average score on the writing portion of the exam was 488, down nine points since that subject was first tested in 2006. Math scores were flat, compared with 2011.
More than a quarter of students in public schools who took the test — 27 percent — came from families with income low enough to qualify for a waiver of the $50 test fee. More than a third of all test takers reported that their parents had not attended college.
The 2012 SAT scores come after a decade of efforts to raise test scores under the No Child Left Behind law, the federal education initiative crafted by President George W. Bush. Critics say the law failed to address the barriers faced by many test takers.
“Some kids are coming to school hungry, some without the health care they need, without the vocabulary that middle-class kids come to school with, even in kindergarten,” said Helen F. Ladd, a professor of public policy and economics at Duke University.
“If we really want to do something to close achievement gaps and raise test scores, we have to stop putting our heads in the sand and start addressing this issue,” she said.
As a way to better prepare high schoolgraduates for college or careers, 45 states and the District of Columbia are planning to implement common academic standards over the next two years. Among other things, the new standards are designed to better teach reading comprehension and critical thinking.
In the Washington region, Montgomery County students posted an average combined score of 1651, or 14 points higher than graduates the year before. That was 184 points higher than the statewide average and 153 points higher than the national average.
In Fairfax County, students made modest gains, posting an average total score of 1659, up five points from a year earlier.
In the District, students in public schools scored an average of 1184, nearly 300 points below the national average.
In Prince George’s County, the average SAT score dropped eight points, to 1274. Reading scores fell two points; math dipped two points; and writing dropped four points.
In Arlington County, the average score rose 14 points from 2011, to 1641. There were significant gains among black and Hispanic students, although their average scores continued to lag those of white and Asian students.
Scores in Prince William County public schools stayed flat at 1490, with reading up a point but math down a point and writing staying the same.
Alexandria City Schools scores increased from the year before but remained below state and national averages. In a district that is about 40 percent black, 30 percent Latino and 28 percent white, “when I hear that 65 percent of our seniors took the SATs last year, that’s great news,” Superintendent Morton Sherman said.
In Loudoun County, test takers averaged 1590, down two points from 2011.
Montgomery County School Superintendent Joshua Starr said his district was able to set a record through a combination of practices, such as early childhood education and analyzing data to make specific systemwide improvements.
“I don’t want people to think there is simply one program or initiative or a silver bullet,” said Starr, who is a vocal critic of No Child Left Behind and other recent education policies such as the Obama administration’s Race to the Top. “It’s really a holistic approach.”
African American and Hispanic students from Montgomery County made gains on the SAT this year, outperforming their peers nationwide. African American graduates earned a combined score of 1389 on the SAT, up seven points from the prior year, while scores for Hispanic students rose six points, for a combined score of 1483.
Still, Starr said there were stubborn differences in participation and performance along racial and ethnic lines. “There are some persistent gaps and we have to make sure we have to address those,” he said.
The Washington area had some of the higher test-taking rates in the nation.
Only five states had a higher percentage of test takers than the District, where 83 percent of public- and private-school seniors took the SAT. Meanwhile, 74 percent of Maryland seniors and 72 percent of Virginia seniors sat for the exam.
via Business Insider:
Barack Obama touched on the issue of the federal deficit last night, telling late night talk show host David Letterman that the U.S. doesn’t have to worry about the debt “in the short term.”
Responding to Letterman’s concern about the growing deficit, Obama first deflected blame on to his predecessor, George W. Bush.
“We had a surplus when Bill Clinton was president,” Obama said. “When I walked into office, we had a trillion dollar deficit, debt had mounted, and then we had to take a bunch of emergency measures: Saving the auto industry, making sure that the financial system got back on track.”
“So now what we’ve got to do is pare down that deficit, get that debt under control,” he went on. “The only way we’ve ever been able to do that effectively is in a balanced way.”
Letterman then followed up by asking how much the national debt was when Obama took office.
“I don’t remember what the number was precisely,” Obama said, adding later, “We don’t have to worry about it short term. But it is a problem long-term and even medium-term.”
According to the Treasury Department website, the national debt was $10.6 trillion on the day Barack Obama took office. Today, the national debt is $16 trillion.
(CBS/AP) Kenny G is playing the final note on his marriage after 20 years.
Court records show the musician filed for divorce Thursday in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences.
The 56-year-old musician married Balynda Helene Benson-Gorelick in April 1992 and the former couple has a 14-year-old son. He is seeking joint custody but does not want to pay his estranged wife spousal support.
Benson-Gorelick filed for separation in January, but the case has not proceeded.
The divorce was first reported Monday by celebrity website TMZ.
Kenny G won a Grammy Award for 1993’s “Forever in Love.” He has a series of tour dates lined up starting next month. In June, he released a new album called “Namaste India.”
via the American Dream:
There are more Americans dependent on the federal government than ever before in U.S. history. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Many are enrolled in more than one. That is about a third of the entire population of the country. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare. Today the federal government runsalmost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years. Yes, we will always need a “safety net” for those that cannot take care of themselves, but it is absolutely ridiculous that the federal government is financially supporting one-third of all Americans. How much farther do things really need to go before we finally admit that we have become a socialist nation? At the rate we are going, it will not be too long before half the nation is on welfare. Unfortunately, we will likely never get to that point because the gigantic debt that we are currently running up will probably destroy our financial system before that ever happens.
It is really hard to believe how rapidly some of these federal welfare programs have grown.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in 2000 to 31.9 million when Barack Obama took office to 46.4 million today.
The federal government spent a staggering 71.8 billion dollars on the food stamp program in 2011.
That sure is a lot of money to spend on food.
And I thought that my grocery bills were high.
Medicaid is also growing like crazy.
The number of Americans on Medicaid grew from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011.
Once upon a time, Medicaid was supposed to help the poorest of the poor get medical care. In fact, back in 1965 only about one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.
But now about one-sixth of the entire country is on Medicaid.
Will we all eventually be on Medicaid?
And we all know that projections like that are usually way too low.
Other federal welfare programs are exploding in size as well.
For example, federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.
The chart posted below was produced by Senate Budget Committee Republican staff. As you can see, the number of Americans on welfare just continues to grow and grow and grow….
Keep in mind that the chart posted above does not even take into account the huge numbers of Americans that are on Social Security and Medicare.
In the United States today, more than 61 million Americans receive some form of Social Security benefits.
Just think about that.
That means that nearly one out of every five Americans is drawing on Social Security.
That is just crazy.
And in the years ahead we are going to see wave after wave of Baby Boomers retire and so the number of Americans drawing on Social Security is just going to keep going up.
The same kind of thing is happening with Medicare.
That sure does sound expensive.
If you can believe it, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.
That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
Will you be able to pay your share?
And that is just for Medicare.
The federal government just keeps becoming a bigger and bigger part of the health care industry.
Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America.
This year, it is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States.
Americans have become completely and totally addicted to government money, and word has gotten out to other nations that the U.S. is a place where you can live the high life at the expense of the government.
According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.
Keep in mind that the study only looked at immigrants that have been in the country for at least two decades.
Nearly half of them are still on welfare.
Needless to say, the system is fundamentally broken.
And there is no way in the world that we can afford all of this. We have rolled up the biggest pile of debt in the history of the world and our children and our grandchildren are facing a lifetime of endless debt slavery.
Once again this year we are facing a federal budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars, and very few of our politicians even seem to care.
We just continue to spend money as if it was going out of style.
At this point, spending by the federal government accounts for more than 25 percent of U.S. GDP.
The last time that happened was during World War II when we were trying to rescue the world from the tyranny of the Germans and the Japanese.
If you divided up the U.S. national debt equally, it would come to more than $134,000 for every single household in the United States.
Overall, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 37 times larger than it was when Nixon took us off the gold standard.
We are a nation of debt addicts, and both political parties have been responsible for getting us into this mess.
We simply cannot afford to continue to go down this road. We need to significantly reduce all categories of government spending.
And yes, we will always need a safety net.
But we simply cannot afford to financially support more than 100 million Americans.
That is absolute madness and it must stop.
So what do you think about all of this?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
via Buffalo News:
The City of Buffalo has a chance to be the first in the country to ban Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as drones.
A group of activists and community leaders came to City Hall on Tuesday to have their say in front of the Common Council Legislation Committee.
“You guys have an opportunity to make Buffalo the first drone-free city in the United States, and I hope you take that seriously,” John Washington of Occupy Buffalo told lawmakers.
While the city has not been approached by the federal government or any other entity about purchasing drones, about 20 people showed up for Tuesday’s public hearing to encourage lawmakers to support a proactive ban.
“Drone manufacturers will push this hard on you and other elected officials, They will say that one of the reasons [for drones] is fighting crime,” said Charles Bowman of the Western New York Peace Center.
“We don’t need drones in the City of Buffalo. We don’t need further militarization of our police department,” he added.
Earlier this month, Occupy Buffalo and the WNY Peace Center proposed legislation to the Council prohibiting the use and purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles in Buffalo, arguing that they violate constitutional rights and pose imminent danger to the public.
Excerpts from the proposal state that “drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground … due to limitations in drone vision, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control.”
Another part of the proposed legislation reads “armed drones and surveillance drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process …”
Victoria Ross of the Peace Education Project noted that the drones in Buffalo most likely would be used primarily for surveillance, “which means warrants won’t be needed.”
The proposed legislation submitted to the Common Council asks that drones not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or used by any agency of the City of Buffalo.
The hearing was a chance for concerned citizens to voice their opinions on the matter, and the committee took no action.
“I will be thrilled if Buffalo will be the first in the nation to go down on record we are against drones,” said Lesley Haynes, a social activist and retired social worker, during the hearing.
“I think it would be a really nice thing for Buffalo,” Haynes said. “I would be proud to know Buffalo was leading this.”