Tag Archive for: drugs

$2.1 Million Worth Of Meth Seized At Texas Border Crossing

Texas border patrol agents seized $2.1 million worth of liquid methamphetamine from a vehicle attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico, according to authorities.

The seizure took place at the Rio Grande City Port of Entry, and the total weight of the liquid drug amounted to 110 pounds, CNN reported.

The bust allegedly occurred last Sunday after a 2012 Dodge was stopped by federal officials for further inspection while attempting to cross the border.

Federal agents at the entrance point unveiled the hidden stash via “non-intrusive inspection system” technology and brought in K-9 units as well, according to New York Daily News.

The alleged driver of the vehicle was an unidentified 41-year-old American citizen, the outlet added.

Both the drugs and the driver were handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for additional investigation.

Earlier this month, San Diego County, California, experienced one of the biggest drug busts in U.S. history.

Officials followed a suspicious commercial-sized truck that crossed the border from Mexico, seized five thousand pounds of meth and arrested four men that hailed from Tijuana, Mexico.

AUTHOR

ALEXANDER PEASE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Clinic Funded By Biden Administration Distributes Crack Pipes To Addicts Outside A ‘School’

A “harm reduction” clinic that received grant funding from President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing crack pipes to addicts in New York City, the Daily Caller confirmed Wednesday.

New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), a part of OnPointNYC, was awarded nearly $400,000 in grant money from the Biden administration in May to further its services for drug addicts, government records show. Biden officials denied reports that the grant money could fund distribution of crack pipes, but a visit to NYHRE’s office revealed that the organization still offers the smoking paraphernalia to addicts.

OnPointNYC operates two drug use sites, one of which NYHRE runs in East Harlem. After spending about 10 minutes on paperwork with basic information Wednesday evening, staff at the facility provided a Daily Caller reporter a smoking kit containing a crack pipe, condoms and lubricant.

A second Caller reporter returned Thursday and yet again, within minutes, staff provided another crack pipe. A staffer directed the reporter to back rooms for addicts to use drugs under supervision, where the reporter witnessed individuals smoking and injecting various substances.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO OF: A condom and crack pipe acquired from New York Harm Reduction Educators. (Daily Caller)

A second Caller reporter returned Thursday and yet again, within minutes, staff provided another crack pipe. A staffer directed the reporter to back rooms for addicts to use drugs under supervision, where the reporter witnessed individuals smoking and injecting various substances.

The reporter, citing claustrophobia, asked if she could step outside to smoke. A staffer denied the request because the facility is located next to a “school.”

The facility is directly across the street from the Association To Benefit Children, a childcare facility for underprivileged kids in the New York area.

Prior to those visits, the Caller reached out to NYHRE and OnPointNYC on multiple occasions to ask if the organization was still distributing crack pipes, receiving no response. A PBS segment aired December 2021 highlighted that the organization was distributing crack pipes at the time, before the latest Biden grant.

NYHRE provides other services aside from harm reduction, including HIV and hepatitis testing, safe sex education and counseling services. It has received various government grants dating back to 2001 for some of these other services, a review of HHS grant documents shows. This year’s grant is the first “harm reduction” grant the group has received as part of a new administration initiative under Biden’s American Rescue Plan to support “harm reduction” efforts. The so called “safe smoking kits” are a key plank in “harm reduction” efforts across the country.

In addition to the drug and sex paraphernalia, a staffer at NYHRE gave the Caller an ID card after registering personal information. According to that staffer, an individual caught with drugs by police in the city could show that card to avoid punishment.

The Biden administration denied in February that it was giving grants to fund distribution of crack pipes, following a Washington Free Beacon report that HHS had closed applications for funding to do so.

“No federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“The goal of harm reduction is to save lives. The Administration is focused on a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of drugs and curb addiction, including prioritizing the use of proven harm reduction strategies like providing naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and clean syringes, as well as taking decisive actions to go after violent criminals who are trafficking illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders and into our communities.”

An HHS spokesperson told the Daily Caller the funds from this grant are still prohibited from being used for any federally illegal activity or equipment, including drug paraphernalia like crack pipes. NYHRE has not yet tapped into the grant money they were awarded, and once they do so, the organization must provide specific details on how the money will be spent so HHS can approve it.

“No federal funding is used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to purchase pipes in safer smoking kits. Grants include explicit prohibitions of federal funds to be used to purchase drug paraphernalia,” the spokesman said. “As the United States confronts record overdose numbers, the Biden-Harris Administration is focused on a comprehensive drug control policy focused on stopping the illicit flow of drugs like fentanyl and evidence-based policies that reduce overdoses and save lives.”

The administration has embraced “harm reduction” — which can include supplying drug paraphernalia and in some cases drugs themselves — as a strategy for treating addiction. The effort facilitates drug use in a safer setting for addicts than they might otherwise use, and offers clean equipment for drug use to prevent the spread of disease.

In total, the SAMHSA grant awarded almost $10 million to 25 different organizations. The grant recipients are disproportionately located in New York and California, not areas within the rust belt hardest hit by the overdose epidemic. Six of the 25 grants went to harm reduction groups in New York state. The Daily Caller has not confirmed which of the other 24 organizations have provided, or still provide, safe smoking kits or crack pipes to addicts.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which awarded the grants, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the Daily Caller, including questions about whether the agency knew NYHRE distributed crack pipes when it awarded them the grant or how it is ensuring that taxpayer funds don’t go to the distribution of smoking equipment.

AUTHOR

DYLAN HOUSMAN

Healthcare reporter. Follow Dylan on Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Studies Proving Generic Drugs Can Fight COVID Are Being Suppressed

Treatment is never discussed but these failed vaccines with Gd knows what in them are mandated.

Studies Proving Generic Drugs Can Fight COVID Are Being Suppressed

Why do repurposed drugs require numerous trials prior to an agency recommendation, while high-profit, novel, patented drugs get routinely approved after only a single trial?

By Pierre Kory, The Federalist, December 16, 2021:

Omicron emerging in the United States and news of the first reported death in the United Kingdom remind us how little we understand the novel coronavirus, and with vaccines less effective against the new variant, how much we are in need of additional ways to fight it. To broaden our knowledge of COVID-19 and identify the best ways to treat and prevent it, doctors should be able to use every possible safe means at their disposal to help patients. Unfortunately, that is impossible in our current political climate.

Since the summer of 2020, U.S. public health agencies have continually shut down the use or even discussion of generic treatments that are minimally profitable. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded 20 large research studies of patented pharmaceutical industry drugs before only recently (and slowly) agreeing to study repurposed generic medicines.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have recommended next to none. Instead, the Biden administration has thrown its political weight almost solely behind mass vaccinations, and hospitals and pharmacies have dogmatically followed suit. But this approach is proving insufficient to arrest COVID-19.

Repurposed Generic Medicines That Help Fight COVID

Just look at the evidence on, a widely used generic antidepressant. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in November 2020 showed that the drug led to far less clinical deterioration in treated patients. Another, larger, double-blind RCT, published in The Lancet in October of this year, found fluvoxamine reduced COVID-19 mortality rates by up to 91 percent and hospitalizations by two-thirds. This is an FDA-approved drug. Dosed correctly and for such short periods, it is safe. And it costs about a dollar a pill.

These findings have since been further reinforced by another study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in November, which showed a strong “class effect” of benefits from anti-depressants very similar to fluvoxamine against COVID-19. Yet, despite the large double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, neither the NIH nor the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has arrived at a recommendation for routine use of these drugs to treat COVID-19.

The NIH to date has ignored the study. Its last update on fluvoxamine dates back to April, more than seven months ago. More disturbing is the fact that the IDSA recently reviewed this high-quality trial, yet still held fast to its recommendation of “do not use outside of a clinical trial.” Why do repurposed drugs require numerous trials prior to an agency recommendation, while high-profit, novel, patented drugs get routinely approved after only a single trial?

A recent and most brazen example is Merck’s expensive new anti-viral COVID-19 drug, molnupiravir. The FDA rapidly approved it based on a single study of modest benefits in mildly ill outpatients, and the Biden administration swiftly agreed to pay $700 per course of treatment. That was all despite the fact the medicine costs about $20 per course to manufacture, according to a World Health Organization consultant, and may prove less effective or even harmful in practice.

With our national debt registering at $2.77 trillion and inflation rampant, building the capacity in our federal government to study cheap, generic medicines would be a smart economic move. But there appears to be no appetite for fiscal prudence or scientific inquiry beyond the expensive, newly minted solutions churned out by our nation’s pharmaceutical industry.

Hospital Bans Proven Treatment

Doctors who don’t toe the line are subjected to censorship and threatened with the loss of their livelihood, regardless of their clinical experience. My colleague Dr. Paul Marik, a scientist-physician practicing in Norfolk, Virginia, is among them. He has treated patients throughout the COVID outbreak and was an early advocate for the use of steroids to treat COVID patients — a practice initially discouraged by federal health officials that has since proven effective.

When evidence first emerged about fluvoxamine, we began studying the medicine and sharing clinical data with physicians in the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), a non-profit physician group we run together. We added it to our FLCCC protocol seven months ago. Marik began treating his patients with the medicine in addition to steroids and a number of repurposed generic medicines, which contributed to halving deaths in his hospital.

That progress is now in jeopardy: Marik’s employer, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, has forbidden the use of fluvoxamine as well as several other FDA-approved generic drugs to treat COVID-19 — and mortality rates are already rising.

What is the hospital’s justification for denying patients a treatment that’s proving effective in clinical trials? It sounds a lot like the NIH’s website, and rings equally hollow: “Many [of these medicines] do not have published peer-reviewed, RCT [randomized controlled trial] available to assess both efficacy and safety in COVID-19.”

Over the last two years, our political and public health authorities have talked often of trusting science to guide an effective response to this terrible virus, but their actions have more often been dictated by tribalism and greed.

We will surely face new COVID-19 variants after Omicron, and other infectious disease outbreaks in the future. We can prepare by building the capacity in our government to study cost-effective treatments quickly and efficiently, and by empowering doctors to pursue every possible treatment that can help patients.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden to Introduce New COVID Measures, Issue ‘Stark Warning’ to Unvaccinated

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Who [Or What] Killed George Floyd?

If they get a fair trial, a questionable proposition at best, Minneapolis police officers charged with murdering George Floyd should be acquitted.

Let’s consider new, undisputed evidence, beyond the initial bystander’s video that we’ve all seen, to understand why.

On Memorial Day, around 8 PM, Minneapolis Police are called to a local convenience store.  Two suspects passed a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.  When police arrived, the shop manager pointed across the street, where three suspects sat in a parked vehicle. George Floyd sat behind the wheel.

When the officers crossed the street to investigate, two other suspects, another man, and a woman, both black, stepped from the car and politely cooperated.

But George argued and disobeyed ten separate commands from officers to keep his hands up. After the tenth order, he finally put his hands on the steering wheel as instructed.

As George protested, police walked him across the street to the police cruiser, the vehicle shown in the bystander’s video.

That bystander’s video, isolated alone, implies that the officer cruelly forced George onto the ground, then callously put his knee on George’s neck, causing George to cry out, pitifully, “I can’t breathe.”

But when a Minnesota judge authorized the release of police body cam footage, a completer and more different story emerged.  First, the police never wanted George on the ground at all, and frantically tried getting him into the back of their squad car.

But Floyd, a strong six-feet-eight-inches tall, fought police every second, and tried pushing his way out. Police video shows George repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe” long before he was on the ground, and before Officer Chauvin employed the infamous knee-restraint tactic.

This is crucial.

Claiming to be “claustrophobic” as they ordered him into the back seat, George Floyd demanded to be placed on the ground. So, the officers did not thrust him down to the ground and then put their knee on George’s neck, as the bystander’s video suggests.

Let’s delve into the evidence.

From Officer Thomas Lane’s body camera, at 8:09 PM, officers approached George’s vehicle, tapped on the window, instructing him to either put his hands up or put his hands on the steering wheel. But George refuses.

Ten separate times, police either instructed George to let them see his hands, or to put his hands on the wheel. Finally, George puts his hands on the wheel, protesting he had “not done anything.”

At 8:17 PM, officers walk George across the street. He keeps arguing, as they order him into the back of the squad car.

“I’m claustrophobic,” he claims, twice, resisting as they again order him to sit in the back seat. He screams, fights and resists getting in the squad car.

At 8:18:08, still standing beside the car and fighting the officers, he says, for the first time, with no knee on his neck, “I can’t breathe, officer!”  At this point, police are still ordering him into the back seat.

A bystander urges George to stop fighting. “You can’t win,” the bystander says.

George fights anyway.

Police push him in the back seat. He keeps resisting.

Nine seconds later, fighting from the backseat of the police car, George says three times, in rapid succession, beginning at 8:18:19, “I want to lay on the ground!  I want to lay on the ground! I want to lay on the ground!”  He repeats it a fourth time, five seconds later, ““I want to lay on the ground!”

Then, as if he knows he is dying, says, “I’m going down.”

At 8:18:39, fighting in the backseat, he again says, three times in rapid succession, “I can’t breathe!” Then again,” I can’t breathe.” And then, again, at 8:18:50 repeats, “I can’t breathe!”

At this point, George had demanded to be laid on the ground four times and said “I can’t breathe” at least six times, while in the back seat of the squad car, with no knee on his neck.

At 8:19:06, he again says, “I can’t breathe,” for the seventh time.

Of course he can’t breathe. A fentanyl overdose stops a man from breathing.

George fought the officers non-stop for over ten minutes before officers finally removed him from the car and put him down on the ground, beside the squad car, as George himself demanded.

Bystanders then film George on the ground, declaring, “I can’t breathe,”  as if this was the first time George said, “I can’t breathe,” and as if Officer Chauvin’s knee (not the fentanyl) caused George’s breathing problems.

Fox 9 in Minneapolis reported that Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, in a memorandum filed May 26 concluded, “The autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.”

In other words, Dr. Baker initially ruled out Chauvin’s knee as causing George’s death.

In a second memorandum filed June 1, Baker described Floyd’s fentanyl level as “pretty high,” and a potentially “fatal level.”

Dr. Baker reported Floyd had 11 ng/mL of fentanyl in his blood, adding, “If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified with levels of 3.”

In other words, while levels of 3 ng/mL have caused fatal fentanyl overdoses. George ingested nearly four times that amount, or 11 ng/mL of fentanyl, in his bloodstream.  In another document, Dr. Baker said, “That is a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances.”

Granted, mounting political pressure led to subsequent private autopsy reports, paid for by the family, showing the cause of death as a combination of both fentanyl and asphyxiation from the officer’s knee.

Of course they do.

But the prosecution, to obtain a conviction, must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They must prove that the officer’s knee, and not the massive fentanyl dosage, killed George Floyd.

That’s a tall order.

Not only that, but the infamous, “knee-technique,” which should be banned, was authorized by the Minneapolis PD.  Officer Chauvin followed authorized procedure, a technique for keeping a suspect on the ground, after George Floyd had fought officers for over ten minutes, and after, only — and this is the kicker — George requested, repeatedly, to lay on the ground.

But Chauvin’s knee is a red herring. The issue here is fentanyl.

Here’s how the respected website, WebMD, describes the effects of fentanyl:

“[F]entanyl has rapid and potent effects on the brain and body, and even very small amounts can be extremely dangerous.

“It only takes a tiny amount of the drug to cause a deadly reaction,” … “Fentanyl can depress breathing and lead to death. The risk of overdose is high with fentanyl.”

Here’s what the CDC says about fentanyl, “It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.”

Of course George couldn’t breathe — because fentanyl, mixed with methamphetamines, kills breathing.  Despite the bad optics, “I can’t breathe” was not because of the officer’s knee.

The medical examiner’s statement on lethal fentanyl, and the previous protestations of “I can’t breathe,” even before he got into the back seat of the squad car, and long before Chauvin applied the notorious “knee” technique, shows that George was already dying from the lethal fentanyl overdose before officers put him in the back seat of the car. That fentanyl, with methamphetamine ingestion, and cannabinoids — that’s right, George popped some meth alongside the fentanyl, plus a little reefer too — raises more than a reasonable doubt in favor of these policemen.

Here’s the prosecution’s problem – proving beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the officer’s knee, and not the massive fentanyl overdose, that killed George.

No one can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, not in this case, that Chauvin killed Floyd, not with any intellectual honesty. George overdosed on fentanyl, and mixed it with meth, and reefer. That’s why he’s dead. Without the overdose, George Floyd would still be alive. The officers should be acquitted.

Which begs the question, who killed George Floyd?

Sadly, George Floyd killed himself.

VIDEO DOCUMENTARY: Seattle is Dying

KOMO News published the following comments and video on its YouTube channel:

KOMO Anchor Eric Johnson takes an in-depth look at the impact the drug and homelessness problem is having on our city and possible solutions in “Seattle is Dying,” a news documentary that aired on KOMO-TV in March, 2019.

You can read the full story and watch at KOMONews.com.

©All rights reserved.

Trump Administration countering Iran’s influence in Latin America and winning key support

“The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”

The work of Iranian jihadist proxies worldwide is underrated and under reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo captures the magnitude of the Iranian proxy problem well in this statement:

 When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime has done, you can’t forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They’ve conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon.

And the phenomenon of narcoterrorism is linked to Iranian proxy Hizballah, as indicated in this exposé by the Washington Times: “Hezbollah moving ‘tons of cocaine’ in Latin America, Europe to finance terror operation.”

“Trump administration homing in on Iran-backed operations in Latin America,” by Guy Taylor, Washington Times, January 23, 2020:

The Trump administration’s push to counter Iran’s influence in South America won key support from leaders in the region in recent days, with three Latin American nations officially declaring Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras have now officially joined with Paraguay and Argentina in recognizing the designation, with the new conservative government in Bogota joining with Washington in declaring Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization as well.

At a counterterrorism conference in Bogota this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials underscored the global reach of Lebanon-based Hezbollah — a Shia Muslim militant-political movement and a part of the Lebanese political establishment that Washington has listed as a terrorist organization since the late 1990s.

Hezbollah was a big winner in the political upheaval that has gripped Lebanon this month, with new government made up of appointees nominated by Hezbollah and its allies — a development that has worried both the U.S. and Israel, Lebanon’s neighbor. Counterterrorism analysts consider the well-armed Hezbollah one of Tehran’s most effective military proxies in the region.

Heading into this week’s conference in Bogota, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales told the Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald that U.S. officials “know that Hezbollah operatives and facilitators and finance leaders are active” in the loosely governed “Tri-Border Area” between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

U.S. and Israeli officials say Hezbollah orchestrated and executed a 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina that killed 29 people, as well as a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead…..

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Illegal Alien in Florida Drug Bust Deported 3 Times, Easily Reentered U.S.

A startling drug trafficking case out of south Florida is especially disturbing because the illegal immigrant caught with more than half a million dollars in crystal methamphetamine had been deported three times in three months shortly before the drug bust. A few months after the third deportation, the Mexican national returned to the United States with a partner and a vehicle stuffed with thousands of grams of pure crystal meth. The drugs have a street value of about $560,000, according to estimates issued by federal authorities.

The thrice deported illegal immigrant, Saul Bustos Bustos, and his partner in crime, fellow Mexican Irepan Juanchi Salgado, got arrested when they tried to sell five kilograms of crystal meth to undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Miami. The exchange occurred in November and this week both men pled guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute drugs. “During the transaction, the defendants, who possessed a total of 3,717 grams of 98% pure crystal methamphetamine, worked together to transfer the drugs from their vehicle to the undercover officer,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice. “Bustos Bustos also pled guilty to illegal reentry after removal, after reentering the United States subsequent to removal on April 13, 2017, July 6, 2017, and July 19, 2017.”

It’s not clear how or where Bustos Bustos entered the country after getting deported, but court documents reveal he drove from Atlanta with the drugs as part of an operation based in Georgia and New York. On November 28, the two Mexican men drove to a restaurant in the Miami Dade County city of Hialeah to make the sale. The customer, an undercover DEA agent, followed the drug dealers to a warehouse to complete the transfer and the Mexican men got arrested. Bustos Bustos is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29 and faces life in prison. Salgado’s sentencing date has not been set, but he also faces a lengthy jail sentence for the narcotics conviction. Authorities say his brother, Luciano Salgado, is a renowned meth dealer.

Previously deported illegal immigrants have reentered the U.S. to commit a multitude of atrocious crimes over the years, but this one sticks out because President Donald Trump vowed to tighten border security and the violations occurred after he took office. Under the famously lax Obama rules, this type of thing was par for the course. In fact, the former president’s own uncle, Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant from Kenya, reentered the U.S. and even got a driver’s license after getting deported. Uncle Onyango lost the license for driving drunk and was somehow able to obtain a special “hardship license” from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles even though he wasn’t even supposed to be in the United States and had been removed.

Just a few months ago a previously deported gang member was charged with attempted murder and kidnapping in the northern Colorado city of Ft. Collins. The illegal alien from El Salvador, Angel Ramos, was deported from Texas to El Salvador last year after getting arrested for domestic violence. Somehow, he reentered the U.S. and tried to kill a woman by stabbing her repeatedly with a screw driver then running her over with his car before trying to stuff her in the trunk. Ramos is a confirmed member of the violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and is wanted for homicide in his native El Salvador, according to information provided to the media by the U.S. Marshals Service. In November the 36-year-old was charged with attempted murder, assault, menacing with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, domestic violence and criminal impersonation.

Back in 2014 a Judicial Watch investigation uncovered that a twice deported illegal immigrant was a key figure in a sophisticated narco-terror ring. The Mexican national, Hector Pedroza Huerta, plotted a Chicago truck bombing with two of the FBI’s “most wanted” terrorists and was deeply involved in smuggling drugs and weapons. The narco-terror ring that Huerta helped operate after being deported two times from the U.S. runs from El Paso to Chicago to New York. Though he was an illegal alien with a substantial criminal record and deportation history, Huerta lived in El Paso and planned several bomb plots targeting oil refineries in Houston and the Fort Worth Stockyards. He is also alleged to have smuggled explosives and weapons from the Fort Bliss range and exercise areas in concert with corrupt US Army soldiers and government contractors with gate passes at the El Paso base.

RELATED ARTICLE: Florida: Ocala man arrested after mother reported finding ISIS material, Koran, in son’s room

VIDEO: Empowering Public Housing Residents to Defend Themselves

In this News Minute from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jennifer Zahrn reports that, in Maine, Governor Paul LePage is expected to sign an NRA-backed bill that would allow residents of public housing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

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Iran’s Justice Minister: U.S. world’s top terrorism supporter, drug trafficker

“Iran Calls U.S. World’s Top Terrorism Supporter, Drug Trafficker,” Washington Free Beacon, November 6, 2015:

The head of Iran’s Justice Minister [sic] on Friday called the United States the world’s top supporter of terrorism and drug trafficker, according to regional reports.

Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s Justice Minister, made the remarks while in Russia for a meeting with his counterparts.

“I want to say that we perceive the United States as country supporting terrorism and spread of narcotic substances,” Pour-Mohammadi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled press.

In Afghanistan, for instance, drug production has increased exponentially since U.S. forces invaded the country, Pour-Mohammadi claimed.

“Today, financial support and supply of weapons [to terror groups] are carried out either by the United States or by its allies,” the leader added….

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Drug Overdoses Killed More Americans Than Car Crashes or Guns

Susan Jones from CNS News reports:

“Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms (deaths),” the Drug Enforcement Agency announced on Wednesday.

In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, 46,471 people in the United States died from drug overdoses, and more than half of those deaths were caused by prescription painkillers and heroin.

That compares with the 35,369 who died in motor vehicle crashes and 33,636 who died from firearms, as tallied by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Sadly this report confirms what we’ve known for some time: drug abuse is ending too many lives while destroying families and communities,” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said as he released the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment.

“We must stop drug abuse before it begins by teaching young people at an even earlier age about its many dangers and horrors.”

Read more.

Video Game Developers Face the Final Boss: The FDA by Aaron Tao

As I drove to work the other day, I heard a very interesting segment on NPR that featured a startup designing video games to improve cognitive skills and relieve symptoms associated with a myriad of mental health conditions.

One game, Project Evo, has shown good preliminary results in training players to ignore distractions and stay focused on the task at hand:

“We’ve been through eight or nine completed clinical trials, in all cognitive disorders: ADHD, autism, depression,” says Matt Omernick, executive creative director at Akili, the Northern California startup that’s developing the game.

Omernick worked at Lucas Arts for years, making Star Wars games, where players attack their enemies with light sabers. Now, he’s working on Project Evo. It’s a total switch in mission, from dreaming up best-sellers for the commercial market to designing games to treat mental health conditions.

“The qualities of a good video game, things that hook you, what makes the brain — snap — engage and go, could be a perfect vessel for actually delivering medicine,” he says.

In fact, the creators believe their game will be so effective it might one day reduce or replace the drugs kids take for ADHD.

This all sounds very promising.

In recent years, many observers (myself included) have expressed deep concerns that we are living in the “medication generation,” as defined by the rapidly increasing numbers of young people (which seems to have extended to toddlers and infants!) taking psychotropic drugs.

As experts and laypersons continue to debate the long-term effects of these substances, the news of intrepid entrepreneurs creating non-pharmaceutical alternatives to treat mental health problems is definitely a welcome development.

But a formidable final boss stands in the way:

[B]efore they can deliver their game to players, they first have to go through the Food and Drug Administration — the FDA.

The NPR story goes on to detail on how navigating the FDA’s bureaucratic labyrinth is akin to the long-grinding campaign required to clear the final dungeon from any Legend of Zelda game. Pharmaceutical companies are intimately familiar with the FDA’s slow and expensive approval process for new drugs, and for this reason, it should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley companies do their best to avoid government regulation. One venture capitalist goes so far as to say, “If it says ‘FDA approval needed’ in the business plan, I myself scream in fear and run away.”

Dynamic, nimble startups are much more in tune with market conditions than the ever-growing regulatory behemoth that is defined by procedure, conformity, and irresponsibility. As a result, conflict between these two worlds is inevitable:

Most startups can bring a new video game to market in six months. Going through the FDA approval process for medical devices could take three or four years — and cost millions of dollars.

In the tech world, where app updates and software patches are part of every company’s daily routine just to keep up with consumer habits, technology can become outdated in the blink of an eye. Regulatory hold on a product can spell a death sentence for any startup seeking to stay ahead of its fierce market competition.

Akili is the latest victim to get caught in the tendrils of the administrative state, and worst of all, in the FDA, which distinguished political economist Robert Higgs has described as “one of the most powerful of federal regulatory agencies, if not the most powerful.” The agency’s awesome authority extends to over twenty-five percent of all consumer goods in the United States and thus “routinely makes decisions that seal the fates of millions.”

Despite its perceived image as the nation’s benevolent guardian of health and well-being, the FDA’s actual track record is anything but, and its failures have been extensively documented in a vast economic literature.

The “knowledge problem” has foiled the whims of central planners and social engineers in every setting, and the FDA is not immune. By taking a one-sized-fits-all approach in enacting regulatory policy, it fails to take into account the individual preferences, social circumstances, and physiological attributes of the people that compose a diverse society.

For example, people vary widely in their responses to drugs, depending on variables that range from dosage to genetic makeup. In a field as complex as human health, an institution forcing its way on a population is bound to cause problems (for a particularly egregious example, see what happened with the field of nutrition).

The thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s is usually cited as to why we need a centralized, regulatory agency staffed by altruistic public servants to keep the market from being flooded by toxins, snake oils, and other harmful substances. However, this needs to be weighed against the costs of keeping beneficial products withheld.

For example, the FDA’s delay of beta blockers, which were widely available in Europe to reduce heart attacks, was estimated to have cost tens of thousands of lives. Despite this infamous episode and other repeated failures, the agency cannot overcome the institutional incentives it faces as a government bureaucracy. These factors strongly skew its officials towards avoiding risk and getting blamed for visible harm. Here’s how the late Milton Friedman summarized the dilemma with his usual wit and eloquence:

Put yourself in the position of a FDA bureaucrat considering whether to approve a new, proposed drug. There are two kinds of mistakes you can make from the point of view of the public interest. You can make the mistake of approving a drug that turns out to have very harmful side effects. That’s one mistake. That will harm the public. Or you can make the mistake of not approving a drug that would have very beneficial effects. That’s also harmful to the public.

If you’re such a bureaucrat, what’s going to be the effect on you of those two mistakes? If you make a mistake and approve a product that has harmful side effects, you are a devil incarnate. Your misdeed will be spread on the front page of every newspaper. Your name will be mud. You will get the blame. If you fail to approve a drug that might save lives, the people who would object to that are mostly going to be dead. You’re not going to hear from them.

Critics of America’s dysfunctional healthcare system have pointed out the significant role of third-party spending in driving up prices, and how federal and state regulations have created perverse incentives and suppressed the functioning of normal market forces.

In regard to government restrictions on the supply of medical goods, the FDA deserves special blame for driving up the costs of drugsslowing innovation, and denying treatment to the terminally ill while demonstrating no competency in product safety.

Going back to the NPR story, a Pfizer representative was quoted in saying that “game designers should go through the same FDA tests and trials as drug manufacturers.”

Those familiar with the well-known phenomenon of regulatory capture and the basics of public choice theory should not be surprised by this attitude. Existing industries, with their legions of lobbyists, come to dominate the regulatory apparatus and learn to manipulate the system to their advantage, at the expense of new entrants.

Akili and other startups hoping to challenge the status quo would have to run past the gauntlet set up by the “complex leviathan of interdependent cartels” that makes up the American healthcare system. I can only wish them the best, and hope Schumpeterian creative destruction eventually sweeps the whole field of medicine.

Abolishing the FDA and eliminating its too-often abused power to withhold innovative medical treatments from patients and providers would be one step toward genuine healthcare reform.

A version of this post first appeared at The Beacon.

Aaron Tao
Aaron Tao

Aaron Tao is the Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Editor of The Beacon at the Independent Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Arming Children: The Islamic State and Mexico’s Gulf Cartel

There is much talk about disarming law abiding American citizens by the Obama administration but little done to stop the use of children as hit-men by Mexican drug cartels  and soldiers by the Islamic State.

This is the worst form of child abuse – using children to kill, slaughter, behead, assassinate.

child soldier of Islamic StatePamela Geller in her column “Generation Kill: The Child Soldiers of the Islamic State” writes:

Look at this child [right]. Remember him. This is your children’s future.

This is who your children will face in the future. These children are being trained to kill. These children are being schooled in the sharia and jihad. Our children are being disarmed and misled about the genocidal ideology behind this war. Sheeps to slaughter.

The below video, called “The Cubs of Dijla” in a reference to the young boys being indoctrinated and groomed to fight, shows children as the clip’s primary speakers. They deliver monologues and recite verses of the Quran, marking the first time the Islamic State has depicted boys—one as young as three—speaking at length directly into the camera.

gulf drug cartel child killerMia De Graff writing for the Daily Mail reports:

These are the baby-faced members of Mexico’s menacing Gulf Cartel [right].

In an unprecedented series of photos, scores of hitmen have unmasked themselves to apparently prove: ‘We aren’t afraid to show our faces, we want you to see nothing but the Gulf Cartel.’

Shockingly, some look as young as 12.

The Gulf Cartel is one of Mexico’s oldest, dating back to the Prohibition era.

With roots in the United States, Europe, West Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America, the organization wields significant power over the drug-trafficking trade – despite losing ground to rivals in recent years.

Read more.

Here is a video about Mexican drug cartels:

The use of children as killers is as bad as using children as sex slaves. Evil is evil. Not to call this evil is a travesty. Sadly the Gulf Cartel and Islamic State continue to recruit, train and use children to kill — these are the baby-faced hit men of the 21st Century.

Hollywood’s Drug Addicted Heroes

What passes for heroes in Hollywood is nothing but stupidity and criminality.

Hidden Camera: Veterans Administration ‘Turning Veterans into Drug Addicts’

Project Veritas caught on hidden camera, Deputy Veterans Administration Chief of Patient Services (for the entire VA) Maureen McCarthy, MD, said many of our military veterans “have drug problems, some of which are caused by us and our prescribing.”

In the undercover video, she admitted that the combination of “opiates, like morphine and benzodiazepine like Ativan and Klonopin” are like “candy” for a lot of veterans, “it’s like they want it, they want it, they want it.”

“He had a ten foot step ladder and a rope,” says Bob Cranmer, the father of a Marine Iraq veteran named David who recently took his own life. “And for some reason decided to hang himself.”

On average each day, twenty-two U.S. veterans take their own life. In David’s case, he waited over a year to be seen by the VA, and when they did eventually see him, they prescribed him a combination of opiates and psycho-pharmaceuticals very similar to the ones described by Dr. McCarthy in the undercover video. When you watch the video above/on the right, you will see one VA official after another saying what Nurse-Anesthetist Joe Salmon admitted: “The VA does push pills.”

“In my opinion, they are creating drug addicts,” opined a senior volunteer at a New York Veterans Administration facility.

A VA facility in Wisconsin is under heavy fire for patient deaths due to over medication. This video illustrates that the over-medication problem extends to facilities in Pittsburgh, Little Rock, Buffalo, Minneapolis and the DC area. As an institution, the VA is far too eager to simply write prescription after prescription and quickly move on to the next patient, instead of dealing with the actual problems veterans face on a daily basis.

Bob Cranmer blames his son’s suicide on the VA. So do a lot of VA staffers, when caught on undercover video. Watch it here to find out why.

Our veterans deserve better!

Surveys given to children in schools across America on sexuality, suicide, drug use, criminal activity…

Wait until you see the questions (below)!

Across Massachusetts – and across America – thousands of schoolchildren are given sexually graphic, psychologically intrusive surveys by the public schools without parents’ knowledge. These surveys also ask youth to reveal their criminal activity, personal family matters, and other intimate issues.

This is done in the public middle schools and high schools during school hours. At best, parents are told about the surveys in vague terms, but are rarely allowed read them beforehand.  The surveys are “officially” anonymous and voluntary.  But they are administered by the teacher in a classroom and (according to teachers we’ve talked to) there is often pressure for all kids to participate.

NOTE: Public hearing this WEDNESDAY, May 6, at the 10 am in the Massachusetts State House, Room A2. MassResistance has filed bill H382 in the Legislature to make all these surveys “opt-in” (not “opt out”) and force schools to let parents see them beforehand! Please join us and testify if you can!

The major survey given to kids across America is the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” put together every two years by the national Centers for Disease Control and handed off to state and local education departments (which they can modify). And there are many similar surveys administered in various districts.

Here are questions from the actual “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” surveysgiven to children in Massachusetts schools, grades 7-12.

How old are you?

A.  12 years old or younger
B.  13 years old
C.  14 years old
D.  15 years old
E.  16 years old
F.  17 years old
G.  18 years old or older

Sexual Behavior

Which of the following best describes you?
A.  Heterosexual (straight)
B.  Gay or lesbian
C.  Bisexual
D.  Not sure

A transgender person is someone whose biological sex at birth does not match the way they think or feel about themselves. Are you transgender?

A.  No, I am not transgender
B.  Yes, I am transgender and I think of myself as really a boy or man
C.  Yes, I am transgender and I think of myself as really a girl or woman
D.  Yes, I am transgender and I think of myself in some other way
E.  I do not know if I am transgender
F.  I do not know what this question is asking

Have you ever had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal)?

A.  Yes
B.  No

How old were you when you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal) for the first time?

A.  I have never had sexual intercourse
B.  11 years old or younger
C.  12 years old
D.  13 years old
E.  14 years old
F.  15 years old
G.  16 years old
H.  17 years old or older

During your life, with how many people have you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal)?

A.  I have never had sexual intercourse
B.  1 person
C.  2 people
D.  3 people
E.  4 people
F.  5 people
G.  6 or more people

During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal)?

A.  I have never had sexual intercourse
B.  I have had sexual intercourse, but not during the past 3 months
C.  1 person
D.  2 people
E.  3 people
F.  4 people
G.  5 people
H.  6 or more people

Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal) the last time?

A.  I have never had sexual intercourse
B.  Yes
C.  No

The last time you had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal), did you or your partner use a condom?

A.  I have never had sexual intercourse
B.  Yes
C.  No

During your life, with whom have you had sexual contact?

A.  I have never had sexual contact
B.  Females
C.  Males
D.  Females and males

How many times have you been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant?

A.  0 times
B.  1 time
C.  2 or more times
D.  Not sure

Have you ever been tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS? (Do not count tests done if you donated blood.)

A.  Yes
B.  No
C.  Not sure

Have you ever been tested for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as genital herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, or genital warts?

A.  Yes
B.  No
C.  Not sure

Family and personal life

How often does your parent/guardian(s) wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car?

A.  Never
B.  Rarely
C.  Sometimes
D.  Most of the time
E.  Always

Do your parents text, e-mail or use any other form of social media while driving a car or other vehicle?

A.  Yes
B.  No

Can you talk with at least one of your parents or other adult family members about things that are
important to you?

A.  Yes
B.  No

My parent/guardian(s) talk to me about the dangers of alcohol and drugs?

A.  Yes
B.  No

Is there at least one teacher or other adult in this school that you can talk to if you have a problem?

A.  Yes
B.  No

During the past 12 months, how  often did you talk with your parents  or other adults in your family about  sexuality or ways to prevent HIV  infection, other sexually transmitted  diseases (STDs), or pregnancy?

A.  Not at all during the past 12  months
B.  About once during the past  12 months
C.  About once every few  months
D.  About once a month
E.  More than once a month

How long have you lived in the United States?

A.  Less than 1 year
B.  1 to 3 years
C.  4 to 6 years
D.  More than 6 years but not my whole life
E.  I have always lived in the United States

Where do you typically sleep at night?

A.  At home with my parents or guardians
B.  At a friend’s or relative’s home with my parents or  guardians
C.  At a friend’s or relative’s home without my parents or  guardians
D.  In a supervised shelter with  my parents or guardians
E.  In a supervised shelter  without my parents or  guardians
F.  In a hotel or motel, car, park, campground, or other public  place with my parents or  guardians
G.  In a hotel or motel, car, park, campground, or other public  place without my parents or guardians
H.  Somewhere else

Weapons

During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club?

A.  0 days
B.  1 day
C.  2 or 3 days
D.  4 or 5 days
E.  6 or more days

During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a gun?

A.  0 days
B.  1 day
C.  2 or 3 days
D.  4 or 5 days
E.  6 or more days

Suicide

During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?

A.  Yes
B.  No

During the past 12 months, did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?

A.  Yes
B.  No

During the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide?

A.  0 times
B.  1 time
C.  2 or 3 times
D.  4 or 5 times
E.  6 or more times

Tobacco, alcohol, drugs

How old were you when you smoked a whole cigarette or other tobacco/nicotine product for the first
time?

A.  I have never smoked a whole cigarette
B.  8 years old or younger
C.  9 years old
D.  10 years old
E.  11 years old
F.  12 years old
G.  13 years old or older

During the past 30 days, how did you usually get your own cigarettes, or other tobacco/nicotine product?

(Select all that apply)
A.  I did not smoke cigarettes during the past 30 days
B.  I bought them in a store such as a convenience store, supermarket, discount store, or gas station
C.  I got them on the Internet
D.  I bought them at a public event such as a concert or sporting event
E.  I gave someone else money to buy them for me
F.  A person 18 years old or older gave them to me
G.  I took them from a store
H.  I took them from a family member
I.  I took them from someone else’s home
J.  I got them some other way

During the past 30 days, what is the largest number of alcoholic drinks you had in a 4 hour period?

A.  I did not drink alcohol during the past 30 days
B.  1 or 2 drinks
C.  3 drinks
D.  4 drinks
E.  5 drinks
F.  6 or 7 drinks
G.  8 or 9 drinks
H.  10 or more drinks

During the past 30 days, how many  times did you drive a car or other vehicle when you had been  drinking alcohol?

A.  I did not drive a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days
B.  0 times
C.  1 time
D.  2 or 3 times
E.  4 or 5 times
F.  6 or more times

During the past 30 days, how many times did you use marijuana?

A.  0 times
B.  1 or 2 times
C.  3 to 9 times
D.  10 to 19 times
E.  20 to 39 times
F.  40 or more times

During your life, how many times have you used any form of cocaine, including powder, crack, or freebase?

A.  0 times
B.  1 or 2 times
C.  3 to 9 times
D.  10 to 19 times
E.  20 to 39 times
F.  40 or more times

During your life, how many times have you used heroin (also called smack, junk, or China White)?

A.  0 times
B.  1 or 2 times
C.  3 to 9 times
D.  10 to 19 times
E.  20 to 39 times
F.  40 or more times

During your life, how many times have you taken a prescription drug (such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax) without a doctor’s prescription?

A.  0 times
B.  1 or 2 times
C.  3 to 9 times
D.  10 to 19 times
E.  20 to 39 times
F.  40 or more times

The above questions are from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey given to students in Canton, Mass, (which parents there were able to get for us) and from the statewide Massachusetts 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey posted on the Mass Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE) website.

Unscientific, destructive and deceitful

Parents and others who see these surveys are overwhelmingly shocked, upset, and angry. Here are just a few of the problems:

1. Psychological distortion of reality. Going through a battery of questions asking “how many times” a child has engaged in certain sex acts, drug use, illegal or unhealthy activity (or attempting suicide) will likely cause the child to believe he is abnormal if he is not doing it at all – especially since the survey comes from an authority figure.

2. Personal information. Having children to reveal personal issues about themselves and their family can have emotional consequences and from the parents’ point of view is extremely invasive.

3. Grossly unscientific.  Experts in surveys we’ve shown these to say they’re unscientific on several levels. The respondents are (officially) self-selected. The surveys include “leading questions” similar to push-polls. The questions are so outrageous that (we’ve been told by students) they provoke exaggeration and untruthful answers.

4. Results used for funding of radical groups. This is the main reason for the existence of these surveys: The surveys create misleading “statistics” that are used by radical groups from Planned Parenthood to LGBT groups to persuade politicians to give more taxpayer money these groups – and to let them into schools – to “help solve” these “huge” problems that these surveys reveal. It is a very emotional appeal, and millions of dollars are budgeted on the basis of these very questionable surveys.

How the Youth Risk surveys are done in Massachusetts

Every two years the Mass. DOE creates a new statewide version of the CDC national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and makes it available to each school district. The school districts can further modify the surveys if they wish and are given wide discretion as to how they notify parents, whether they allow the parents to see the surveys, how the surveys are administered to the students, etc.

In many districts, it’s a nightmare for parents, who rarely even know that their children were given the survey. That’s not an accident. School officials are well aware that if parents were to read these surveys beforehand, almost none of them would want their children to participate.

We telephoned the Mass. DOE to ask them questions about how schools administer the test and whether we can get a copy of the 2015 statewide survey.They were not eager to discuss it with us. We were told they were “too busy” to answer our questions over the phone and we must submit them via email. We did so, and are still waiting for a reply.

Many teachers uncomfortable with the surveys

We have spoken with teachers in Massachusetts who have told us that they are pressured by schools to present the surveys to kids as if it were a normal procedure, and to not to discourage them from taking it. But some teachers do rebel against that. A parent in Canton, Mass., told us that a two years ago a teacher in that town was disciplined for telling his students they had a constitutional right to decline the survey. In 2010 a teacher in Illinois was also reprimanded for that (which was reported in the Chicago Tribune).

Parents and others need to stop this!

It’s been our experience that the people who do this have no interest whatsoever in how this affects children or their families. From the politicians and the activists down to the school officials, it’s mostly about money, ideology, politics, and control. Even when the obvious and harmful flaws are pointed out, there is no effort to change. It will take angry parents and citizens to stop this. That’s why MassResistance filed Bill H382 in the Massachusetts Legislature which will completely empower parents. The fight begins!