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RARE EARTH AND SCORCHED EARTH: SELF-DESCRIBED OPTIMIST LESLEY STAHL BARES HARD TRUTHS

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RARE EARTH AND SCORCHED EARTH: SELF-DESCRIBED OPTIMIST LESLEY STAHL BARES HARD TRUTHS

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Acclaimed CBS journalist Lesley Stahl has spent her career in journalism unearthing stories that are frequently difficult for her audience to read or to hear.

On a recent edition of The Costa Report, the veteran co-editor of “60 Minutes”  admitted that she often comes away from a story asking herself the same questions she wants her audience to consider: “Why aren’t we doing something about this?”

‘The Motor City Madman:’ Mad or Marginalized?

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‘The Motor City Madman:’ Mad or Marginalized?

‘The Motor City Madman:’ Mad or Marginalized?
by American sociobiologist Rebecca Costa

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According to rock legend Ted Nugent, if a good samaritan with a gun had been present in “gun-free zones” where rogue assailants have struck — such as Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Northwestern University and Sandy Hook Elementary School — the tragedies would instantly have been quashed, or averted altogether. “The reason those gunmen were able to get away with their slaughter is because there were no Ted Nugents in the area,” Nugent recently said on The Costa Report.  “I don’t want to get facetious or put a spotlight on me — I’m just a guitar player — but if I’m there, it’s no longer a gun-free zone. I have a duty to defend myself, and as a free American there is not a man alive who can force me into unarmed helplessness.”

Nugent may have a point.  Recent FBI data regarding who is responsible for gun violence in America appears to support “The Motor City Madman’s” claim that a lack of preparation by victims opens the door to mass assaults.

But first, the FBI numbers: Of the approximately 30,000 gun related assaults reported in the United States, 17,000 were self-inclicted suicide. Even experts admit that gun control will do little, or nothing, to stop suicides. Take away those 17,000 and statistics reveal the remaining 13,000 assaults are overwhelmingly connected to individuals who have a criminal record.  And often an extensive one.

Arming their potential victims is only part of the solution, Nugent said. If bad guys were kept in prison, where they belong, the world would be a safer place, he declared. Nugent worries that society is “making excuses” for criminals.

“At some point, America has to go back to real accountability and quit worrying about why a person is violent,” he said.  Nugent urges the criminal justice system to keep “violent, recidivist, repeat offenders” — those whom society currently has no means to rehabilitate — off the streets. If the FBI statistics are correct, this will do more to curb gun violence than legislation.

When asked whether putting limitations on  firepower, or size of ammunition clips, would be a good step toward curtailing mass violence, Nugent, an active board member of  the National Rifle Association (NRA), insists that incidents such as those at Columbine and Virginia Tech have nothing to do with the firepower of the shooter’s weapon. “In every instance, anyone could have done the same damage with a single-shot firearm . . it had nothing to do with magazine capacity,” he said.

The root of the problem? According to Nugent, the more society focuses on the 300 million guns (100 million handguns) Americans currently own, the farther we get from the denominator the perpetrators share: an epidemic of fatherless homes and the breakdown of the nuclear family. “No feel-good gun law is going to change that,” Nugent has said.

Nugent said this factor produces the disengagement and disillusionment, which ultimately spawns violence. “I am a father and a grandfather. I am a wild man.  (But) not a day goes by when I don’t call my children across the country, not a day goes by when I don’t send an email telling them I love them and I’m proud of them.”

To hear the interview with Ted Nugent visit ‘The Costa Report‘ on VoiceAmerica Business or www.rebeccacosta.com

Ex HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros says urgan investment critical to robust economy

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Ex HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros says urgan investment critical to robust economy

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EX-HUD SECRETARY HENRY CISNEROS SAYS URBAN INVESTMENT CRITICAL TO ROBUST ECONOMY

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

The largest migration of humans in history is currently underway. According to the Census Bureau, the population living in U.S. metro areas grew by 2.3 between 2012 and 2013, with approximately 270 million residing in or around American cities. A similar phenomena can be observed in the rest of the world, as humans are on the march from rural to urban areas in greater numbers than previously seen.

“People are coming for the jobs,” said Henry Cisneros, former Secretary or Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, on The Costa Report. “The question is: Will this be better for mankind? Is it possible to imagine an urban future where people can work, live, trade, worship, gather, and recreate in places that are conducive to good, quality human lives? That’s the challenge before us. We have to make this moment of
urban opportunity and demographic change into a positive thing all around the world.”

Cisneros the engine behind the urban migration includes jobs in hospitality, international trade, new media, bioscience, and technology. He points out that currently 65
percent of the U.S. population lives in the 100 largest cities – cities that are responsible for 75 percent of the GNP and also where 78 percent of all research, patents, and
technological breakthroughs originate. These figures indicate the vital connection between urban investment and the overall economic prosperity of the U.S. economy.

Cisneros cites struggling cities like Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans and Youngstown, Ohio, as strong opportunities for growth and progress.
“What is Detroit’s principal argument for economic activity today? Land, space,
buildings, low rents … those are reasons to come locate your business in Detroit. And lo and behold, it’s actually happening: Quicken Loans, and other companies, recently bought 50 buildings in downtown. There are incubators sprouting up in old factory space. Young people who can’t afford rent in New York or Silicon Valley are gravitating to Detroit.”

Cisneros concluded, “Whether they’re on the East Coast, West Coast, or in the heartland, all of our major cities are going to have better days ahead.”

To hear the full interview with Henry Cisneros listen to The Costa Report

PUBLISHER LARRY FLYNT TAKES ON THE DEATH PENALTY

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PUBLISHER LARRY FLYNT TAKES ON THE DEATH PENALTY

PUBLISHER LARRY FLYNT TAKES ON THE DEATH PENALTY
by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

16th Annual Rainbow PUSH Entertainment Project And Citizenship Education Fund Awards Gala
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler Magazine – a magazine that set the stage for a historic showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court over the First Amendment (freedom of speech) is preparing for his second act – this time he’s testing the limits of the Eighth Amendment.

Last month, a federal court of appeals cleared the way for Flynt to join a lawsuit filed death row inmates in Missouri who demanded access to the drug protocols the state uses to conduct lethal injections.  The drug and procedural protocols will determine whether the executions rise to the standard of “cruel and unusual punishment” which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.

In an ironic twist of fate, among the inmates filing the suit was Joseph Paul Franklin, who was responsible for the 1978 shooting that left Flynt partially paralyzed.  His attacker later received the Death Penalty for eight murders (unrelated to Flynt’s shooting) and was executed before he had the opportunity to see Flynt join the same suit.
Appearing on The Costa Report, Flynt made it clear that his opposition to the death penalty did not exclude his assailant. “I’ve always been opposed to the death penalty because I’ve felt that it isn’t a deterrent.”  He continued, “In the 18th-century England, where pickpocketing was a capital offense, the local square would be filled every Saturday to watch them hang the pickpockets. While they were doing that, people would be going through the crowd picking pockets. So I think the English learned very early that the death penalty was not a deterrent.”

In April 2012, The National Research Council concluded that studies claiming that the death penalty affects murder rates were “fundamentally flawed” because they did not consider the effects of non-capital punishments and used “incomplete or implausible models.” A 2009 survey of criminologists revealed that over 88 percent believed the death penalty was not a deterrent to murder.

Though Flynt empathizes with people who want to see perpetrators like Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev receive the ultimate punishment, Flynt believes many people would change their minds if given enough more time to grieve and gain perspective.”When you want someone punished, are you looking for justice, or are you actually seeking vengeance,” he asked. “If you’re saying, ‘Off with their heads,’ maybe that’s vengeance. If you say, ‘Spend the rest of your life in a 4-by-6-foot cell and think about what you’ve done’ … that, to me, is justice.”

Another problem Flynt sees with the death penalty is that a disproportionate percentage of criminal on death row today are people of color, inmates who are too poor to afford a good legal representation. “You’ve got to understand why more people of color are committing these crimes: The unemployment rate among black youth is three times what it is among whites. And black kids are dropping out of school at a rate of 64 percent,” he said. “There’s no real hope, no incentive, no motivation for kids in the ghetto, and it boils down to education. I believe a book can stop a bullet.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, people of color have accounted for a disproportionate 43 percent of total executions since 1976, and 55 percent of those currently awaiting execution.

But Flynt remains hopeful.  He claims that America’s appetite for capital punishment is waning. “Ten years ago, 75 percent of our people were in favor of the death penalty. Today, it’s about even, so there’s been a big change, just like with same-sex marriage. The public’s attitude does change, and that’s about the only thing our politicians listen to.”

To hear the full interview with Larry Flynt, visit rebeccacosta.com or Listen On Demand to The Costa Report

AeroMobil could be lifting off commercially in 2017, says CEO Juraj Vaculik

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AeroMobil could be lifting off commercially in 2017, says CEO Juraj Vaculik

A DREAM TAKES FLIGHT

AeroMobil could be lifting off commercially in 2017, says CEO Juraj Vaculik

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa
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It’s closer than you think.  By 2017 drivers may be pulling off the freeway, accelerating for 100 yards, lifting off, and flying above the traffic below.

Though the idea of a flying car has been around since 1903, when the first patent was filed, it wasn’t until two men who lived under communist-ruled Slovakia joined forces that it became a commercial reality.  According to Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil, “All of us were dreaming of a way to escape to the free world, to be able to travel without limits – without borders.”  He continued, ” … these things were, of course, prohibited by the government, so the possibility of becoming a private entrepreneur, and the possibility to travel free, was created by the ‘Velvet Revolution.'”

The 1989 “Velvet Revolution” was a peaceful protest that brought an end to 41 years of communist rule in Slovakia – an event which opened door for Vaculik and co-founder and chief designer, Stefan Klein, to pursue their vision of a flying car.  Their first prototype, AeroMobil 1.0, was born a year later, bringing 25 years of secretly tinkering in a garage to fruition.

The newest prototype, AeroMobil 3.0 lifted off in October 2014 at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, Austria. The two-seat “roadster” is under 20 feet in length, with wings that fold in for driving, and open and extend to a wingspan of approximately 27 feet for flight. To get airborne, the AeroMobil requires a space the size of an American football field.  Its top flight speed is 124 mph and it has a maximum range of 435 miles.

Though the AeroMobil engine uses regular gasoline — the kind sold at any gas station –- it can hardly be called fuel-efficient: 31 miles per gallon on the road and 4 gallons per hour in the air. Future versions are expected to do much better. A hybrid AeroMobil — electric on the ground, internal combustion in the air — is already in development. “It’s very important to us that it will be very environmentally friendly in every possible way,” Vaculik said.

According to Klein and Vaculik, the reason a flying car has been over a hundred years in the making is because the two modes of transportation operate on opposite principles: airplanes rely on “lift,” and automobiles require downward energy to perform. “It was difficult to combine different specifications and needs for the plane and the car,” Vaculik admitted. AeroMobil’s solution?  Rather than a compromised driving and flying experience, the vehicle switches “modes” between driving and flying. Likewise, the driver behind the controls of an AeroMobil must have both a driver’s license and a private pilot’s license.

Commercial units of the AeroMobil are targeted to hit the market in 2017, and are expected to be priced similar to a high-end luxury automobile or light planes. As production ramps up, future versions are expected to be more affordable.  “This technology will revolutionize future transportation,” concluded Vaculik.

To hear the full interview with AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik, visit rebeccacosta.com

Former House Intelligence Chair, Mike Rogers, says greatest threat to U.S. is cyber warfare – government not acting quickly enough.

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Former House Intelligence Chair, Mike Rogers, says greatest threat to U.S. is cyber warfare – government not acting quickly enough.

Former House Intelligence Chair, Mike Rogers, says greatest threat to U.S. is cyber warfare – government not acting quickly enough.

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

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Among the plethora of threats facing the United States – from ISIS and the resurgence of Al Qaeda in the Middle East, saber rattling by Putin, and Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, to border security and energy dependence – the one that keeps former Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, Mike Rogers, awake at night is cyber terrorism.

Appearing on The Costa Report, the former Chair said cyber attacks on Sony Pictures and the Sands Casino were opening shots. “We’re really in a cyber war and most Americans just don’t know it,” said Rogers. “The Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians – and now we also have a whole host of international organized-crime players in on the game – all of them cost us economic prosperity, and some of them, through the most-destructive cyber attacks, really risk our national security.”

The former 7-term Congressman from Michigan noted that the perpetrators of the assault on Sony came from North Korea — a country ranked among the least capable cyber actors in the world.  Rogers said the North Korean hackers had to leave North Korea to launch their attack because the necessary infrastructure was not available in their own country. “They took over the server of the hotel where they were located, and used that hotel server to attack the company (Sony) to expose embarrassing emails, steal intellectual property, and conduct destructive attacks using something called a wiper virus, which they used to erase data,” Rogers said.  Rogers further explained that once the data had been erased, it “could never be recovered again.”

The attacks on Sony and the Sands marked the first time foreign nations had use cyber terrorism to make a political point. Iran targeted the computer systems at the Sands Casino to punish the company’s CEO for publically stating that that Iran should not be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon. The attack is estimated to have cost the Sands an estimated $40-$60 million.

“The sad part, I think, is that this is only going to get worse,” Rogers warned.

“Nations with much-greater cyber capabilities, such as Russia and China, are a far more-dangerous threat … China has already gotten code into our electric grid,” he said. “If they ever decided to invade Taiwan, or become more aggressive in the South China Sea, they would have the ability to flip a switch and turn out our lights. So we know that nation states are already capable of really serious consequences, and this destructive-data part is what worries me most.”

Exacerbating Roger’s worries is a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC which indicates that national security does not rank among the top three concerns of Democratic primary voters. The survey revealed that Democrats consider jobs creation, health care and climate change a greater priority than security, whereas Republican primary voters consider national security, debt and job creation to be the top priorities (in that order).

“It’s concerning that most Americans can’t get on the same page about what our threats are,” said Rogers, who many suggest is a likely 2016 Vice Presidential candidate. “None of the other programs work if we can’t get the national security part right. When our next president gets sworn in — and I don’t care who it is — that person is going to get slapped in the face with the rest of the world’s problems, and if we don’t deal with those issues in a timely way, they just get more complex and more difficult to solve.”

Tune into VoiceAmerica Business every Tuesday @ 6am PST for The Costa Report

To hear the full interview with former Congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers, visit rebeccacosta.com

Tom Coburn explains why he left Senate early . . . encourges others to follow his lead.

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Tom Coburn explains why he left Senate early . . . encourges others to follow his lead.

Official Portrait

Former U.S. Senator, Tom Coburn, who also served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, believes so strongly in term limits he imposed a limit on himself.

The 67-year-old Republican from Oklahoma upheld his campaign pledge to serve no more than three consecutive terms in the House, and publicly announced that he would not pursue a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2016. “I term-limited myself,” Coburn said. “My goal never was to rise in the power structure, it was to recognize problems and fix them. If you self-impose term limits — or impose term limits — you minimize the natural human tendency to benefit yourself at the expense of everybody else.”   He added, “If your goal is to get re-elected, you’re going to do things that help you get re-elected . . . If, on the other hand, your goal is to represent your constituency, you have the freedom to do what our founders wanted you to do.”

Though the media reported Coburn stepped down from the Senate in January owing to medical reasons, the former Congressman took the opportunity to set the record straight on The Costa Report. “The reason I left the Senate early,” he explained, “is because I’m convinced that we cannot fix Washington in Washington. We have to fix Washington the way our founders told us to fix it.”

A practicing physician who has treated more than 15,000 patients and delivered 4,000 babies in private practice, Coburn compares the behavior of elected officials to drug addiction. “Power is like morphine: It dulls the senses and leads politicians to make choices that damage their own character in the machinery of democracy,” he observed.

Coburn was quick to remind the public that the addiction to power is bipartisan: He calls the craving “Potomac Fever.” Referring to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who has also announced his retirement) Coburn said, “The former leader of our Senate just admitted that everything he said about Mitt Romney was a lie, and he didn’t apologize for it. What does that tell you about career politicians? It’s not because he’s a Democrat. It’s because he played the partisan game to the ultimate. What mattered to him was power.”

As a physician, Coburn claims he has been trained to identify and “solve the disease.” According to Coburn, “Eighty percent of the character actors in Washington are treating the symptoms, much to the demise of our future, and certainly to the demise of the financial future of our children.”  He worries that Congress is focused almost exclusively on catering to the individuals, organizations, and corporations who fill their electoral war chests, and, as a result, fail to take the measures necessary to address the nation’s most pressing problems – including the current $18 trillion debt. Coburn predicts the U.S. will likely turn to hyperinflation to reduce the size of the debt and warns that this would have dangerous ramifications including losing the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world.

To hear the full interview with Senator Tom Coburn visit www.rebeccacosta.com

CRISIS-MANAGEMENT EXPERT LANNY DAVIS: ‘HISTORY PROVED CLINTON RIGHT — RAISING TAXES WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO’

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CRISIS-MANAGEMENT EXPERT LANNY DAVIS: ‘HISTORY PROVED CLINTON RIGHT — RAISING TAXES WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO’

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Former special counsel to President Clinton and acclaimed expert in the field of crisis management, Lanny Davis joined The Costa Report to discuss the effect a $20 trillion deficit will have on future generations of Americans and offer advice to the next president. According to Davis, in spite of inheriting a $300 billion deficit and nationwide recession, President Clinton left office with a budget surplus.

Despite receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle at the time, Clinton pressured Congress to reduce spending while raising taxes. It was a one-two punch.

“Bill Clinton turned out to be right about the effect of raising taxes in 1992,” Davis said. “It helped the country, and I look at that history as verifying that premise.”

Davis believes Clinton’s approach will work again, but this will require the next president to raise taxes. When asked whether higher taxes will discourage investment, Davis stated that even if this is shown to be the case, taxes must still be raised “because in the long term, if we go bankrupt, the incentives or disincentives to investment don’t matter — it’s bad for the country.”

When the host of The Costa Report asked Davis whether raising the capital gains tax is the equivalent of punishing success, Davis didn’t disagree.

“Oh, it certainly feels that way to people who are successful, but this is one of those arguments that sounds right until you think it through,” he responded. “In 1935, when Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘I want young people to pay taxes to support old people,’ the young people said, ‘Why should I do that? I’m not going to pay for somebody else to be able to retire and not work.'”

Davis noted that Social Security was passed despite the opposition of most conservative Republicans, and said it’s a discussion Americans have had many times before — whenever they’ve been subjected to a tax increase.

“When the progressive income tax was introduced into our vocabulary, it meant that people earning more money would pay more taxes than people earning less. That debate meant taxing success vs. taxing lack of success,” he said. “Yes, to some degree you’re penalizing people who are successful, but that’s our social contract. That’s what’s made America great. I happen to be in the upper tier of people whose taxes will be raised, and I agree to pay more if part of that is going to be dedicated to reducing our debt.”

The blame for a national debt that continues to soar shouldn’t land on our current president, Davis said, but on the shoulders of Democrats who continue to spend as if using credit cards isn’t a moral issue.

“I have two older children and six grandchildren, and then I started all over again and have a 17-year-old and a 10-year-old,” he said. “That makes me wonder if it’s fair for me to go around the world using my credit card, using first-class airfare, first-class dinners and hotels, having a great time, then coming home and dumping all of my receipts on my son’s bed.”

To hear the full interview with Lanny Davis visit www.rebeccacosta.com

Decorated DEA Agent, Steven Peterson, Says Black Tar Heroin Aided by U.S. Media

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Decorated DEA Agent, Steven Peterson, Says Black Tar Heroin Aided by U.S. Media

Steven Peterson pic3

In 2014, Attorney General, Eric Holder, declared heroin use “an urgent and growing public health crisis.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal heroin overdoses nationwide jumped almost 55 percent between 1999 and 2010.

Steven Peterson, agent for the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for three decades, and one of the country’s foremost Mexican cartel experts, joined The Costa Report to explain the growing abundance of cheap, black tar heroin in the United States.

According to Peterson, “Mexican traffickers have been smuggling drugs into the U.S. since back in the 1960’s, but it was just Marijuana and heroin wasn’t a big problem. The Mexican drug cartel played the middleman.” Within a short period of time Mexican drug cartels learned that opium could be grown on Mexican soil where they would “have control of the supply.” Today, the primary source for black tar heroin is Mexico. Peterson claims the way to stop black tar heroin is to attack the source. He draws a parallel between a similar drug problem the U.S. faced in the 1980’s with the explosion of cocaine use. South American governments cooperated with U.S. law enforcement who “sent in the DEA and Special Forces, blew up processing facilities and were involved in the task force that killed major cocaine trafficker, Pablo Escobar.” Peterson continued, “Because we were active and aggressive we put fear into the Colombian drug cartels … If we took the same aggressive stance against Mexican traffickers that we did back in the 1980’s against Colombia, it would work.”

Peterson states that one issue which has contributed greatly to the growing supply of black tar heroin is a lack of awareness of how widespread the problem is. Peterson blames a lack of coverage by the mainstream media. “The media conspires with this drug problem because they don’t cover these stories.” He worries that the American people do not realize there are “gun fights on a daily basis” along the U.S. – Mexican border and “cartels are using military tactics, and can afford the best weapons and protection, which our own law enforcement cannot.” Peterson feels that if the mainstream media provided an accurate picture of the violence, there would be public support for utilizing more aggressive methods to track drug lords, including the use of surveillance and accessing information from private records. He concluded, “The American people don’t support these tactics, because they aren’t shown the big picture.”

To hear the full interview with Steven Peterson, visit The Costa Report

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