the truth about slavery and why we are all suffering because of it. Slavery does not have its origins in white power supremacy or the so-called idea of manifest destiny attributed to European colonialism.
the truth about slavery and why we are all suffering because of it. Slavery does not have its origins in white power supremacy or the so-called idea of manifest destiny attributed to European colonialism.
Renegade Editor’s Note: Hasn’t this been common knowledge for many years now?
As more of the blame for the world’s exacerbating opiate overdose crisis is now being rightly put on the pharmaceutical industry, the dark side of this epidemic in the fact that the production of opium containing poppies has exploded since the military occupation of Afghanistan beginning in 2001.
According to Russian diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, there are signs of collusion between NATO and drug producers and traffickers working to flood the world with opium. Remarking on how the mission to rid Afghanistan of terrorists quickly became distorted after the invasion, ultimately creating a never-ending supply of drugs to the West:
During their operation in Afghanistan, the terrorist threat has not been rooted out, while the drug threat has increased many times over. The drug industry prospered. There is factual evidence that some of the NATO contingents in Afghanistan turned a blind eye to the illegal drug trafficking, even if they were not directly involved in these criminal schemes. ~Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
So, what exactly is the evidence? In a 2014 report, the UN notes that poppy production had reached an all-time global high, with shocking increases in heroin users worldwide.
The amount of land used for cultivating opium poppies around the world is at an all-time high, says a UN report. Afghanistan is largely behind the increase, with its crop growing by 36 percent over a year, producing 80 percent of the world’s opium.
A World Drug Report released by the UN’s Vienna-based Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has charted the global use of drugs. Although it says that global drug use is “stable,” it notes that the cultivation of opium has grown drastically. [Source]
As noted by TDC:
When the Untied Nations produces a report that reads like a corporate stock prospectus you know something is fishy. The UN report was very detailed about the number of new addicts, the flow of drugs out of Afghanistan and the final destination. [Source]
In short, if a NATO country is overseeing the security and military occupation of Afghanistan, and suddenly poppy production explodes, then at the very least NATO is permissive of the cultivation and exportation of the world’s deadliest and most addictive street drug.
Furthermore, as noted by Lavrov, there is a strategy of managed chaos in play at present in the Middle East and northern Africa, disrupting and ruining the lives of millions of people, for the benefit of America and those in positions to temporarily profit from unfettered access to the natural resources of targeted nations.
The concept of managed chaos appeared long ago as a method of strengthening US influence. Its basic premise is that managed chaos projects should be launched away from the United States in regions that are crucial for global economic and financial development. ~Sergey Lavrov
Lavrov’s comments on the opium crisis and managed chaos are included in the following video.
The eurosceptic, anti-mass immigration Sweden Democrats have surged to first place in the polls, as the Swedish voting public apparently become increasingly concerned by the growth of ethnic ghettoisation, rising crime rates and Islamic radicalisation.
According to the latest YouGov poll to come out of the Scandinavian country, the party could expect to secure almost a quarter of the vote if elections were held tomorrow – almost double its level of support in 2014 – making it the single largest political force in the country.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Workers’ Party, which drives Sweden’s current minority coalition government, is down by nine points.
Other polls reported by the Express suggest a somewhat less dramatic but still significant rise in support for the populists, which would appear to suggest a trend. The country’s next elections will be held on September 9th 2018, unless a change in the political situation prompts a snap election.
In February 2017, party leaders Jimmie Åkesson and Mattias Karlsson wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal defending U.S. president Donald Trump’s recent comments on the deterioration of social cohesion and public order in Sweden.
“Mr Trump did not exaggerate Sweden’s current problems”, they wrote. “If anything, he understated them.”
The pair highlighted the fact that “An estimated 300 Swedish citizens with immigrant backgrounds have travelled to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State” – despite Sweden having avoided any involvement in Western-led interventions in the Islamic world.
“Many are now returning to Sweden and are being welcomed back with open arms by our socialist government [and in] December 2010 we had our first suicide attack on Swedish soil, when an Islamic terrorist tried to blow up hundreds of civilians in central Stockholm while they were shopping for Christmas presents”, they continued.
“Riots and social unrest have become a part of everyday life. Police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel are regularly attacked. Serious riots in 2013, involving many suburbs with large immigrant populations, lasted for almost a week. Gang violence is booming.”
Instead of being in the majority in large Dutch cities, the native Dutch have become a minority, according to Maurice Crul of Amsterdam’s VU university.
Crul has been investigating migration and integration for 25 years and has just begun a major new study this year, not of migrant groups but of the ‘white ethnic Dutch’ ‘It’s already happening in Amsterdam.
Only one in three youngsters under the age of 15 is of Dutch parentage,’ Crul told Trouw. With a team of eight researchers, Crul is starting a unique €2.5m 5-year study of six large European cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Frankfurt, Antwerp, Malmö and Vienna will also come under the spotlight.
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If you want to look at integration, you need to look at the ethnic white Dutch, he said. ‘Who adapts to who if there is no majority?,’ he said. ‘The ethnic Dutch are the most unstable factor in Amsterdam. They move in while they are at university, and then leave or move with their young families to the suburbs. Migrant groups sometimes live in the same spot for generations,’ he said.
Protracted violence, civil wars and poverty may force up to 30 million Africans to come to Europe within the next 10 years, posing new security challenges to the continent, says the newly-appointed president of the European Parliament.
Europe must now tackle two greatest challenges, namely, terrorism and migration, with both phenomena being interconnected, Antonio Tajani, an Italian politician appointed president of the European Parliament in January, told Die Welt.
“The so-called Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] seeks to embed terrorists with refugees,” he said. “They explain them that it’s now quite easy to carry out an attack in a European state using a knife or a car.”
Unless defeated militarily, IS “will do everything to confront Europe as their number one enemy,” Tajani argued, adding, terrorists “are coming to the European Union via all routes,” particularly through the Balkans.
However, even more significant challenges lie ahead, Tajani continued, listing increasing calamity in Africa as the primary cause for concern.
“Africa finds itself in a dire situation – agriculture shrinks because of desertification, Nigeria and Niger are suffering from poverty, and Somalia is marred by chaos and civil war,” Tajani stated.
“If we fail to resolve the central problems of African nations, 10, 20 or even 30 million migrants will come to the European Union in the next 10 years.”
To prevent this scenario from happening, Europe must pour billions worth of investments and “develop a long-term strategy,” Tajani said. Otherwise, “Africa risks becoming a Chinese colony, but the Chinese need only natural resources, they’re not interested in stability.”
The comprehensive interview comes on the heels of the so-called ‘migration summit’ held between European and North African interior ministers in Rome last week. One year after a controversial refugee deal with Turkey to stem influx of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece, the EU is now seeking to reach a similar pact with war-ravaged Libya, despite intense criticism from human rights groups.
During the Rome meeting, ministers discussed a proposal to intercept migrants before they reach international waters and deliver them to camps in Libya.
“The aim is to govern migratory movements” rather than be governed by them, said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, according to AFP.
Commenting on the issue, Tajani championed an idea of establishing “collecting camps protected by the UN and European military,” which he discussed with Filippo Grandi, the incumbent UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
He claimed that such “makeshift towns with hospitals and facilities for children” would meet basic human rights standards and ensure that migrants “do not fall in the hands of human traffickers or die in the desert or at sea.”
Meanwhile, Germany, the principal destination for most asylum seekers, is stepping up diplomatic efforts to stem migrant flows to the continent as part of what Berlin calls a ‘Marshall Plan for Africa’. Responding to domestic criticism of her migration policy ahead of the looming elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel recently visited Egypt and Tunisia in search for more cooperation in accepting failed asylum seekers returning from the EU.
According to Merkel, Berlin wants to curb migration by fostering economic development in North Africa and beyond.
“Only when there is overall development can the pressure for flight and for expulsions be overcome,” she Merkel told the Munich Security Conference in February.
“At its core was a question: do we want to be as connected to our foreign policy as we are to our smartphones? My hypothesis was no. Americans don’t care about the drone war because it is largely hidden from view.”
That’s how Josh Begley, writing for The Intercept on Tuesday, described the concept behind an app he created five years ago. The app, he says, was a simple one. It merely sent users an alert every time a U.S. drone strike was reported in the news.
Apple rejected the app three times on the grounds that it was “excessively objectionable or crude content,” but Begley didn’t give up on the project.
“Over the years, I would occasionally resubmit the app, changing its name from Drones+ to Metadata+,” he wrote. “I was curious to see if Apple might change its mind. The app didn’t include graphic images or video of any kind — it simply aggregated news about covert war.”
He went on to tell how, after five rejections, Apple finally accepted the app in 2014. It remained in the App Store for a year and was downloaded by over 50,000 people. But then, the following September, Apple removed the app, once again citing “excessively objectionable or crude content.”
Begley persisted. The reason he was writing the post this week, in fact, was because that day — March 28, 2017 — Apple had once again accepted the app. He wasn’t writing to talk about his ordeal with Apple, though. He was writing about the issue that motivated him to create the app in the first place:
“As an artist who works with data, I think the story of this app is about more than a petty conflict with Apple. It is about what can be seen — or obscured — about the geography of our covert wars.”
He pointed out that over the past 15 years, people have worked tirelessly to document what’s happening on the ground where these drone campaigns are being waged. And that work is certainly praiseworthy. But Begley went further, pointing out what he calls the “difficult truth” of drone warfare — that at the end of the day, we don’t really know who these missiles are killing.
Again, rather than focusing on his spat with Apple, Begley stayed with the issue that inspired him and talked about the end product of that inspiration:
“Because the particulars of drone wars are scant, we only have ‘metadata’ about most of these strikes—perhaps a date, the name of a province, maybe a body count. Absent documentary evidence or first-person testimony, there isn’t much narrative to speak of.
“The name ‘Metadata’ has a double meaning: the app both contains metadata about English-language news reports, and it refers to the basis on which most drone strikes are carried out.”
The only time Begley questioned Apple’s earlier decisions to refuse his app was in his summation.
“Smartphones have connected us more intimately to all sorts of data,” he wrote. “Yet information about drone strikes — in Apple’s universe — had somehow been deemed beyond the pale.”
He used the past tense, of course, because Apple had, that very day, re-accepted Metadata. But as it turned out, the party was short-lived. Hours after Begley’s post ran at The Intercept, Apple pulled his app once more.
Highlighting the suddenness of Apple’s move, here’s how Reason opened its coverage of the news on Tuesday:
“This was supposed to be a post about how anybody who wants to easily keep track of U.S. drone strikes overseas can do so through an app on their iPhone. But never mind. They can’t anymore.”
Josh Begley chose not to go after Apple in his article when he easily could have. He took the high road and stuck to the far greater issues — the nature of drone warfare itself and how we, as a society, are responding to it in an age of instant communication.
This writer will follow Begley’s lead and not speculate on the myriad possibilities of why Apple seems afraid of his app. That’s the far less important aspect of what’s happening here. It all goes back to the core of the Metadata project and the question that drove Begley to get started: Given the option, would we really want to be as connected to U.S. foreign policy as we are to our smartphones?
Or, in other words, would we really want constant updates on all the killing?
This article originally appeared on The Anti-Media.
For nearly two decades, Bill O’Reilly has been Fox News’s top asset, building the No. 1 program in cable news for a network that has pulled in billions of dollars in revenues for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.
Two settlements came after the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, was dismissed last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
The women who made allegations against Mr. O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show. They have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.
The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.
Of the five settlements, two were previously known — one for about $9 million in 2004 with a producer, and another struck last year with a former on-air personality, which The Times reported on in January. The Times has learned new details related to those cases.
CreditChristina Gandolfo for The New York Times
The three other settlements were uncovered by The Times. Two involved sexual harassment claims against Mr. O’Reilly, and the other was for verbal abuse related to an episode in which he berated a young producer in front of newsroom colleagues.
Besides the women who reached settlements, two other women have spoken of inappropriate behavior by the host. A former regular guest on his show, Wendy Walsh, told The Times that after she rebuffed an advance from him he didn’t follow through on a verbal offer to secure her a lucrative position at the network. And a former Fox News host named Andrea Tantaros said Mr. O’Reilly sexually harassed her in a lawsuit she filed last summer against the network and Mr. Ailes.
Representatives for 21st Century Fox would not discuss specific accusations against Mr. O’Reilly, but in a written statement to The Times the company acknowledged it had addressed the issue with him.
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
According to legal experts, companies occasionally settle disputes that they believe have little merit because it is less risky than taking the matters to trial, which can be costly and create a string of embarrassing headlines.
The revelations about Mr. O’Reilly, 67, come after sexual harassment accusations against Mr. Ailes led to an internal investigation that found women at Fox News faced harassment. Current and former Fox News employees told The Times that they feared making complaints to network executives or the human resources department.
Mr. Ailes, who has denied the allegations against him, received $40 million as part of his exit package. The company has reached settlements with at least six women who accused Mr. Ailes of sexual harassment, according to a person briefed on the agreements.
At the time of Mr. Ailes’s departure, 21st Century Fox’s top executives, James and Lachlan Murdoch, the sons of the executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch, said the company was committed to “maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect.”
Since then, the company has struck two settlements involving Mr. O’Reilly, and learned of one Mr. O’Reilly reached secretly in 2011.
The company declined to answer questions about whether Mr. O’Reilly had ever been disciplined.
Mr. O’Reilly has thrived since joining Fox News in 1996. He earns an annual salary of about $18 million as the host of “The O’Reilly Factor.” Every weeknight at 8 p.m., he presents a pugnacious, anti-political-correctness viewpoint and a fervent strain of patriotism that appeals to conservative viewers.
His value to the company is enormous. From 2014 through 2016, the show generated more than $446 million in advertising revenues, according to the research firm Kantar Media.
This is a sensitive time for Fox News as it continues to deal with the fallout of the Ailes scandal. The network is facing an investigation by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is looking into how the company structured settlements. Fox News has said that neither it nor 21st Century Fox has received a subpoena but that they have “been in communication with the U.S. attorney’s office for months.”
Details on the allegations against Mr. O’Reilly and the company’s handling of them are based on more than five dozen interviews with current and former employees of Fox News and its former and current parent companies, News Corporation and 21st Century Fox; representatives for the network; and people close to Mr. O’Reilly and the women. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements and fear of retaliation. The Times also examined more than 100 pages of documents and court filings related to the complaints.
Ms. Walsh, the former guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show, said his offer to make her a contributor never materialized after she declined an invitation to go to his hotel suite after a dinner in 2013. “I feel bad that some of these old guys are using mating strategies that were acceptable in the 1950s and are not acceptable now,” she said. “I hope young men can learn from this.”
She said romantic relationships at the workplace “should never happen when there is an imbalance of power and colleagues shouldn’t unwittingly be manipulated into obtaining sex for somebody.”
Just over a week ago, Mr. O’Reilly hired the crisis communications expert Mark Fabiani — who worked in the Clinton White House — to respond to The Times. In a statement, Mr. O’Reilly suggested that his prominence made him a target.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people,” the statement read, “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.
“The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
Fredric S. Newman, a lawyer for Mr. O’Reilly, said in a statement Friday evening, “We are now seriously considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation.”
Fox News has been aware of complaints about inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly since at least 2002, when Mr. O’Reilly stormed into the newsroom and screamed at a young producer, according to current and former employees, some of whom witnessed the incident.
Shortly thereafter, the woman, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, left the network with a payout and bound by a confidentiality agreement, people familiar with the deal said. The exact amount she was paid is not known, but it was far less than the other settlements. The case did not involve sexual harassment.
Two years later, allegations about Mr. O’Reilly entered the public arena in lurid fashion when a producer on his show, Andrea Mackris, then 33, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. In the suit, she said he had told her to buy a vibrator, called her at times when it sounded as if he was masturbating and described sexual fantasies involving her. Ms. Mackris had recorded some of the conversations, people familiar with the case said.
Ms. Mackris also said in the suit that Mr. O’Reilly, who was married at the time (he and his wife divorced in 2011), threatened her, saying he would make any woman who complained about his behavior “pay so dearly that she’ll wish she’d never been born.”
Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly adopted an aggressive strategy that served as a stark warning of what could happen to women if they came forward with complaints, current and former employees told The Times.
Before Ms. Mackris even filed suit, Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly surprised her with a pre-emptive suit of their own, asserting she was seeking to extort $60 million in return for not going public with “scandalous and scurrilous” claims about him.
“This is the single most evil thing I have ever experienced, and I have seen a lot,” he said on his show the day both suits were filed. “But these people picked the wrong guy.”
CreditChristopher Gregory for The New York Times
A public relations firm was hired to help shape the narrative in Mr. O’Reilly’s favor, and the private investigator Bo Dietl was retained to dig up information on Ms. Mackris. The goal was to depict her as a promiscuous woman, deeply in debt, who was trying to shake down Mr. O’Reilly, according to people briefed on the strategy. Several unflattering stories about her appeared in the tabloids.
After two weeks of sensational headlines, the two sides settled, and Mr. O’Reilly agreed to pay Ms. Mackris about $9 million, according to people briefed on the agreement. The parties agreed to issue a public statement that “no wrongdoing whatsoever” had occurred.
In the years that followed, Mr. O’Reilly and Fox News dealt with sexual harassment allegations in private, striking agreements with three more women.
In 2011, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, who had hosted a show on the Fox Business Network — also supervised by Mr. Ailes — was told the network was not renewing her contract. Similar to Ms. Mackris, she had recorded conversations with Mr. O’Reilly, according to people familiar with the case. Armed with the recordings, her lawyers went to the company and outlined her complaints against him.
Ms. Diamond left the network, bound by a confidentiality agreement, and Mr. O’Reilly paid the settlement, two of the people said. The exact amount of the payout is not known.
Although that deal was made nearly six years ago, Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, learned of it only in late 2016 when it conducted an investigation into Fox News under Mr. Ailes’s tenure, according to another person familiar with the matter.
In the aftermath of Mr. Ailes’s ouster last summer, as 21st Century Fox was completing settlements and trying to put the scandal behind it, it reached deals with two women who had complained about sexual harassment by Mr. O’Reilly.
One was Laurie Dhue, a Fox News anchor from 2000 to 2008. Though Ms. Dhue had not raised sexual harassment issues during her tenure or upon her departure, her lawyers went to the company to outline her harassment claims against Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Ailes, according to people briefed on the complaints. In response, 21st Century Fox reached a settlement with her for over $1 million, according to a person briefed on the agreement.
In September, 21st Century Fox reached a settlement worth $1.6 million with Juliet Huddy, who had made regular appearances on Mr. O’Reilly’s show, according to people familiar with the matter. Ms. Huddy’s lawyers had told the company that Mr. O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship in 2011, at a time he exerted significant influence over her airtime.
Among Ms. Huddy’s complaints was that he made inappropriate phone calls, the lawyers said in correspondence obtained by The Times. The letter said that when he tried to kiss her, she pulled away and fell to the ground and he didn’t help her up.
When she rebuffed him, he tried to blunt her career prospects, the letter said.
Ms. Huddy was eventually moved to an early morning show on WNYW, an affiliate station, where she worked until she left the company in September.
Before Ms. Huddy reached an agreement with 21st Century Fox, Mr. Newman, Mr. O’Reilly’s lawyer, sent a letter to her lawyer outlining some embarrassing personal issues he said Ms. Huddy had. He stated that she would “face significant credibility concerns if she tries to pursue a claim against Mr. O’Reilly.” The letter, which was obtained by The Times, said that if she were to follow through with a claim against Mr. O’Reilly, he would pursue legal action “to hold Ms. Huddy, and all who have assisted her, personally liable for any damage suffered by him or his family.”
In January, when The Times and others reported on Ms. Huddy’s settlement, representatives for Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly dismissed the allegations.
Fox News is now in a legal battle with Ms. Tantaros, the former on-air personality who is suing the network and Mr. Ailes after turning down a settlement offer of nearly $1 million. Mr. O’Reilly is not a defendant, but in the suit Ms. Tantaros said that in early 2016 Mr. O’Reilly had asked “her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be ‘very private,’” and told her “on more than one occasion that he could ‘see [her] as a wild girl,’” according to court documents.
In an affidavit filed under oath, Ms. Tantaros’s psychologist, Michele Berdy, who treated her from 2013 to 2016, said she recalled “a number of occasions when Andrea complained to me about recurring unwanted advances from Bill O’Reilly.”
Fox News said it investigated Ms. Tantaros’s claims and found them baseless. The company explained her departure by saying she published a book that violated company policy. In court papers, the network said that she “is not a victim; she is an opportunist” and that her allegations bore “all the hallmarks of the wannabe.”
Ms. Walsh, the former guest on “The O’Reilly Factor,” told The Times she was propositioned by Mr. O’Reilly in 2013 but did not lodge a complaint because she did not want to harm her career prospects.
Ms. Walsh said that she met Mr. O’Reilly for a dinner, arranged by his secretary, at the restaurant in the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. During the dinner, she said, he told her he was friends with Mr. Ailes, and promised to make her a network contributor — a job that can pay several hundred thousand dollars a year.
After dinner, she said, Mr. O’Reilly invited her to his hotel suite. Ms. Walsh said she declined. Trying to remain cordial, she suggested that they go to the hotel bar instead. Once there, she said, he became hostile, telling her that she could forget any career advice he had given her and that she was on her own. He also told her that her black leather purse was ugly.
Ms. Walsh continued to appear on his show for about four months, but she said she sensed that he had become cold toward her on camera. Then, a producer for “The O’Reilly Factor” told Ms. Walsh that she would no longer appear on the show. She was never made a contributor.
“I knew my hopes of a career at Fox News were in jeopardy after that evening,” said Ms. Walsh, now an adjunct professor of psychology at California State University, Channel Islands, and a radio host at KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.
A person briefed on the network’s decision said that Ms. Walsh was removed from the broadcast because the program’s ratings declined during her segments.
Ms. Mackris, the producer who sued Mr. O’Reilly in 2004, never worked in television news again.
In the years after the dispute, she suffered from post-traumatic stress and spent years seeing a therapist, struggling to figure out how to create a new life, according to interviews with people close to her at the time.
Ms. Mackris’s settlement prevents her from talking about Fox News and her dispute with Mr. O’Reilly, according to people briefed on the deal. But she is allowed to talk about her life now.
Today, Ms. Mackris lives with her cats in an art-filled condo in her hometown, St. Louis, where she keeps bowls of colorful gumballs on tabletops. Her family is close by. She has traveled the world, volunteered, returned to school, discovered prayer and meditation, and started writing.
She is working on a book she researched and wrote over the past four years about a woman who fled Romania during World War II.
“A few years ago, I heard about a pair of natural pearl earrings forgotten in a drawer for 35 years that had just sold for millions at auction,” Ms. Mackris said. “They’d been given to a woman named Elena Lupescu by the king of Romania who ruled up until World War II, and I was immediately and completely taken by her story.”
“She lived in exile,” Ms. Mackris continued. “She lived in silence. And I got really curious about three things: How did she live with it all? Did she forgive them? And was she free?”
At Fox News, Mr. O’Reilly has continued his dominance. In the months since the presidential election, as the network has pulled in record ratings, his show has averaged 3.9 million viewers a night, according to Nielsen. Since September, he has released three books, including one for children, adding to his growing publishing empire. And in February, Mr. O’Reilly landed a coveted interview with President Trump before the Super Bowl.
Mr. O’Reilly was an early defender of Mr. Ailes and Fox News during that sexual harassment scandal last summer. His support remained resolute into the fall, after the company had reached agreements to settle the harassment claims from Ms. Huddy and Ms. Dhue. In November, he chided Megyn Kelly, his colleague at the time, after she described being sexually harassed by Mr. Ailes in her memoir.
“If somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance,” he said on his nightly show, without mentioning Ms. Kelly by name. “You don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave.”
Like many seekers of happiness, I once aspired to feel good as much as possible. There’s probably a part of everyone that would prefer to avoid life’s more difficult, or even mundane, feelings—and self-help books assure us that we can, if only we adopt the right attitude.
Yet most of us know that perpetual joy is not a practical goal—and recent research is starting to suggest that it may actually be a harmful one. Scientists are discovering that feel-good states can be detrimental to our problem-solving, judgment, morality, and empathy in the moment.
The upshot? Context matters.
On the whole, it’s absolutely beneficial to be someone for whom feeling good comes easy, who can appreciate a good meal, connect warmly with others, and dream up sunny possibilities for the future. But our whole spectrum of different feelings, from anger to elation, evolved for a reason: to help us confront and handle challenges to survival. There are times in life when feeling positive won’t help—and could even hurt.
1. When you’re working on critical reasoning tasks
Research suggests that positive feelings can help us be more productive at work overall and more adept at creative tasks, particularly those that involve brainstorming responses and ideas. But a positive mood isn’t conducive to the best performance on certain analytical tasks.
In a 1989 study, researchers induced a positive mood in half the participants by either giving each of them $2 or showing them a funny video. Then, everyone read an editorial they disagreed with—except some editorials contained strong, thoughtful arguments, and others contained weak arguments.
Under time pressure, the amused participants were equally persuaded by the strong and weak arguments, couldn’t remember as many of the points made, and relied on shortcuts more in their evaluations (whether the author was a scholar or not) compared to the control, non-amused group. (When amused participants had more time, these patterns disappeared: They read for longer, and then they were more likely to be persuaded by strong arguments, remembered more details, and didn’t tend to rely on shortcuts.)
In a 1995 study, a group of around 60 undergrads solved syllogisms—logic problems that ask you to deduce conclusions from statements like “All A are B” and “Some B are C.” Again, a group that had been induced to feel amused performed worse. They spent less time working on the syllogisms and drew fewer diagrams to help solve them. They also gave riskier “all” or “none” answers (rather than “some”), perhaps indicating that they were overoptimistic about their problem-solving abilities.
The authors of a different study from 1994 offered this interpretation:
“Happiness is a kind of safety signal, indicating that there is no current need for problem solving. … Unhappy people will think more deeply about their social environment (in an effort to solve their problems), whereas happy people can contentedly coast on cruise control, not bothering to think very deeply about surrounding events unless they impinge directly on their well-being.”
A 2000 study complicates the picture a bit, though. Here, students read moral dilemmas and had to pick the best arguments to solve them; their performance was rated more highly if they chose arguments that were more principled and abstract, rather than concrete and simple. In this situation, amused people took longer and performed worse. But this wasn’t always the case: When students imagined themselves in the moral dilemma, or when the moral dilemma was serious and disturbing, involving war or racism, the amused students performed just as well as those in a neutral mood.
In the end, the type and even the content of the task we’re working on matter. For some parts of the work we do, particularly tasks that involve logical reasoning and critical thinking, positive emotions may not be the best helper. In other words, don’t expect yourself to feel joyful proofreading a document or formatting a spreadsheet; serious focus may not be pleasant, but it may be the optimal mood for certain tasks.
2. When you want to judge people fairly and accurately
Cognitive psychologists classify stereotyping as a form of “heuristic processing”: using general knowledge about a group to efficiently make predictions about individual members. In this sense, stereotyping is a kind of superficial thinking—and people in a good mood may be prone to it.
In a 1994 study, participants were asked to make judgments about student misconduct; some had been induced to feel good by remembering and writing about a happy event from their past. The researchers were trying to find out if participants feeling good would make more stereotyped judgments: judging the Latino student guilty of assault or the track-and-field athlete guilty of cheating.
And so they did. (Notably, researchers were able to overcome this bias by telling happy participants that they would be held accountable for their judgments and should be able to justify them—effectively increasing their motivation to make good judgments with external accountability, and eliminating stereotypical reasoning in the process.)
People feeling amused also made more stereotypical judgments in a 2000 study: Here, they were more likely to (incorrectly) identify African-American-sounding names as belonging to criminals or basketball players. They didn’t make the same mistakes with European-sounding names. Participants in a neutral mood weren’t as likely to fall back on stereotypes.
However, other research has shown that white people in a happy mood show less implicit bias toward African American faces—so, again, the effects may be complex. Perhaps it matters whether we come face to face with the people we’re judging, where a happy mood may help dampen our fear response to unfamiliar faces.
In any case, it’s still true that people who are in a good mood are sometimes more likely to jump to conclusions about others—and less likely to consciously correct for any stereotypical notions they harbor.
3. When you might get taken advantage of
The 2000 study also found that feel-good participants were prone to applying European American names to politicians—a (theoretically) positive bias.
If feeling good inclines us to see certain people in a positive light, does that mean it might make us more likely to be manipulated? Maybe.
In a 2008 study, nearly 120 students were induced to feel amused, neutral, or sad (by watching a comedy video, a nature documentary, or a film clip about cancer). Then, they watched interrogation videos where other students lied or told the truth about stealing a movie ticket. Overall, the negative-mood group was better at detecting deception than the neutral or positive groups, correctly identifying the liars more often.
Researchers believe this is because a negative mood makes us process information in more detailed, systematic ways, and also makes us more likely to recall other negative information (like when our roommate lied about stealing our Pringles).
People intuitively seem to realize this: When we express high levels of happiness, research suggests, we are perceived as more naive and are more likely to be targets of exploitation than when we express moderate happiness. This explains why we wait for people to be in a good mood before we ask for favors, hoping that they won’t be as critical and careful in considering our request.
4. When there’s temptation to cheat
In some cases, feeling good may also compromise our morality.
In a 2013 study, 90 students were induced to feel either positive or neutral by watching clips from a cartoon or something resembling a screensaver. Then, they were instructed to complete a crossword-puzzle-type task, grade their own work with an answer sheet, and compensate themselves 50 cents for each correct answer. Although the worksheets appeared to be anonymous, invisible ink let the researchers figure out who was honest and who wasn’t—and the amused group stole more money than the neutral one.
In surveys, the amused group reported being more morally disengaged—more apt to come up with justifications for immoral actions without judging themselves harshly. In this case, for example, they might think, “I’m not getting paid enough for this boring experiment, and I could have found more words if I tried harder.”
Interestingly, these effects disappeared when the researchers put mirrors in their workspace, making them more self-aware.
“Although conventional wisdom would suggest that happy people are less likely than unhappy people to be dishonest, our work suggests that anyone who buys into this simplistic cliché might be blindsided by the stealth behind the smile,” the researchers write.
5. When you’re empathizing with suffering
Research suggests that being happier in general makes us kinder and more generous. But people who try to feel good all the time, at all costs, can miss some opportunities to connect with others.
A 2014 study, for example, found that positive people less accurately empathize with certain negative emotions. Over 120 young adults watched four videos where people described good or bad events in their own lives (e.g., winning a scholarship or having a dispute with a landlord). During the videos, the participants continuously rated how they believed the storyteller was feeling on a scale of one to nine, changing their rating any moment they sensed an emotional shift. Those ratings were compared to the storytellers’ ratings of their own feelings over the course of the video.
In general, positive participants—those who reported experiencing positive emotions more in general—were more confident in their empathic skills but weren’t actually any better at identifying the storytellers’ emotions than other participants.
In fact, when the storyteller was describing a high-intensity negative event, like the death of a parent, positive people were less accurate than their peers. For whatever reason, they seemed unable or unwilling to engage with such difficult emotions.
“It perhaps takes more sacrifice to ‘drop down’ and focus on another person’s high-intensity negative emotions, and this may be particularly difficult to do” for positive people, the researchers explain.
If there’s anyone in your life with inveterate positivity, you’ve probably experienced something similar. When I share my anxiety or sadness with a hyper-positive friend of mine, he usually insists that the situation doesn’t merit despair, or reassures me that everything will turn out okay—neither of which make me feel better (or understood).
Should we give up on feeling good?
Clearly, while feeling good does feel good, it doesn’t always bring us the success and connection we desire. It doesn’t seem ideal in all situations for all outcomes, meaning—as evolutionary psychologists could have already told us—that other, less-blissful feelings serve a purpose.
Indeed, according to a survey of more than 35,000 people, those who reported high levels of positive emotion weren’t as protected against depression as those with high emodiversity—those who experienced many positive and negative emotions, from awe and amusement to anger and sadness.
And that’s another point worth making: “Feeling good” doesn’t always refer to the same feeling. Much of the research focused on amusement, induced by watching a cartoon or a standup comedian. And none of the studies looked at warmer, more interpersonal feelings like love and compassion.
In a quest for more happiness, I once tracked my mood every hour for a month, hoping to identify the downers in my life and try to eliminate them. But instead, I came away from that experiment a little less concerned about my negative moods—because they never lasted! Each hour brought a new feeling with a different cause, and I realized I didn’t have to stress so much.
Similarly, this research might help you relax about yesterday’s bad mood—and give you a greater appreciation for all sorts of feelings.
The number of premature deaths due to drug overdoses has skyrocketed in large suburban counties in the United States, which went from having the lowest to the highest rate over the past 10 years, according to a new study.
Released Wednesday morning by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health, the report draws the conclusion that premature deaths—caused by far more factors than just drug overdoses—are on the rise across urban and rural communities, as well as racial and ethnic groups.
The researchers note that “Premature death has consistently been highest in rural counties and among American Indian/Alaskan Native and black populations.” Young people aged 15 to 44 have seen the greatest spike in premature deaths in recent years.
“Drug overdose was by far the single leading cause of premature death by injury in 2015 and contributed to the accelerated rise in premature death from 2014 to 2015,” the study determines. “Large suburban metro counties went from having the lowest to the highest rate of premature death due to drug overdose within the past decade.”
Titled the “2017 Health County Rankings,” the report concludes that, in addition to large suburbs, “smaller metro and rural counties” also suffer the highest rates of lethal drug overdoses.
The annual study states that a key driver of premature death is “youth disconnection,” defined as young people “not working or in school” who are “disconnected from opportunities to live long and healthy lives.” This category correlates with profound disparities across race and class lines.
“Rates of youth disconnection are higher in rural counties (21.6 percent) than in urban counties (13.7 percent), particularly rural counties in the South and West,” the study notes. “Places with high levels of youth disconnection have higher rates of unemployment, child poverty, children in single-parent households, teen births, and lower educational attainment.”
“The main storyline here is that it’s happening across the country,” Jan O’Neill, an associate researcher and community coach at County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, told AlterNet. “It’s an equal opportunity crisis, but the accelerated rate is in suburban and smaller metro counties.”
“The contributors have to do with different community types,” she continued. “Drug overdoses are highest among certain demographics: white and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations. This is also rising because of an increase among 15- to 44-year-olds. For this younger generation, we’re also seeing an increase in car crashes, suicides and homicides, not just drugs. We can treat this as a public health crisis and not something that we need to punish.”
The findings are consistent with a rise in what some researchers refer to as “deaths of despair.” A separate paper recently released by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton determined that premature deaths due to drug overdoses, suicides, alcoholism and other factors are on the rise for middle-aged white people with a high-school education or less. By contrast, mortality rates are falling for white Americans with college degrees. The scholars identify a number of socioeconomic factors behind this trend, including an overall decline in the working class.
An experimental Zika vaccine has moved successfully into broader testing, with the first volunteer receiving a test dose in Houston earlier this week. Testing will also begin in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and by June, researchers hope to enroll more than 2,000 volunteers in those cities and other regions in the Americas to determine whether the vaccine is effective in preventing infection, a top U.S. researcher said Friday.
The experimental vaccine, developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is one of the first to progress to expanded testing of at least a half-dozen candidates in the development pipeline in the United States. Initial results could be available by the end of this year. If this next phase shows good results, and another outbreak of Zika flares in South America or elsewhere, it’s possible that the Food and Drug Administration could make the vaccine available on an emergency basis, said NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in a conference call with reporters.
“If there is a good vaccine efficacy signal and there is an outbreak in South America, the FDA could make that vaccine available by different mechanisms,” he said. “But it depends on the emergent need of the vaccine and the quality of the data.”
Public health experts and scientists have warned that urgent measures are needed to prevent infections because of the devastating birth defects that can result from Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Severe microcephaly, characterized by abnormally small head size and often an underdeveloped brain, is only one of the many defects. There is a range of problems that affect vision, hearing and joints, and often don’t become apparent until many months after birth.
Although Zika has faded from the headlines, officials are warning people to take preventive measures with the return of warm weather and mosquito season in the coming months. The virus can also be transmitted through sex. Florida has already reported two cases of Zika this year that were acquired locally. In the continental United States, of 1,228 Zika-infected pregnancies, 54 babies have been born with birth defects and seven resulted in miscarriages, stillbirths or abortions, according to federal data.
“Evidence also is accumulating that Zika can cause a variety of health problems in adults as well, including Guillain-Barré syndrome and heart-related issues,” Fauci said, underscoring the urgent need for effective medical countermeasures.
The costs of the trial, $100 million, have been funded and will not be affected by the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health, Fauci said.
“That money has been allocated to this trial, and it’s not going to be unallocated,” he said.
Researchers began testing the safety of the experimental vaccine in the summer. Results have been encouraging, Fauci said, and scientists have moved to the next phase of testing, which will take place in two stages.
First, researchers want to further evaluate the vaccine’s safety and its ability to stimulate an immune response in communities where Zika has been confirmed. They also want to determine the optimal dose. They are seeking to enroll 90 healthy men and nonpregnant women at three sites in Houston, Miami and San Juan. The Houston site at Baylor College of Medicine began testing the vaccine on its first volunteer Wednesday, he said. All the participants will either receive a standard dose or a high dose of the investigational vaccine. The testing will take place over the course of 12 weeks, although participants will be followed for much longer.
Starting in June, researchers hope to enroll at least 2,400 men and nonpregnant women, ages 15 to 35, in many more locations to determine whether the vaccine can protect them in places where they are naturally exposed to the virus. In addition to Houston, Miami and San Juan, researchers plan to enroll volunteers in Brazil, where the Zika outbreak began, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Peru. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either the experimental vaccine or a placebo. They will receive three doses, each four weeks apart. The volunteers will be followed for nearly two years and be assessed for any adverse symptoms or signs of Zika infection.
The experimental vaccine does not have any infectious material, so researchers say it can’t cause a person to become infected with Zika. NIAID researchers engineered a small circular piece of DNA called a plasmid so it contains genes coded for proteins of the Zika virus. When injected, a person’s cells read the genes and make those Zika proteins, which in turn trick the body into mounting a defense with antibodies and T cells.
Behind the scenes of the Zika vaccine trials: