Drug importation is always presented as a way to reduce costs, but the truth is it is the wrong solution and will have the costly impact of endangering drug safety and creating a huge counterfeit medication problem.
“Safe” importation of medications is an oxymoron. It may sound good and it may sound like a cost saver, but it’s actually very risky. For example, the reality is that many drugs labeled as “Canadian” and thus assumed to be safe, are usually counterfeit or tainted medications that come from third world countries. In some cases, the medications are simply ineffective and have no value as medication. But if you need medication and think you’re getting the needed medication at a lower cost, but you’re actually getting what amounts to a placebo, your health is at risk and you’re not saving any money at all. In fact, you’re wasting money. You might as well eat chalk and burn cash. It would provide the same benefit.
And in other cases, the medications are not merely ineffective, they are actually tainted and do great harm. For years, healthcare policy analysts and health safety experts have produced a cacophony of powerful objections to importation based on worries about safety and pricing. Even many government reports make it clear that drug importation is a risky business and that there are better ways to keep costs in check. The health, legal and economic dangers posed by drug importation makes it dangerous public policy.
This isn’t just our opinion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office carefully reviewed Senator Bernie Sander’s proposal for drug importation in 2017 and determined that it would have minimal to no impact on federal expenditures.
Additionally, drug “importation” would actually import Canada’s price-controlled, government-run healthcare system and kill off the incentives to develop new medicines. If we hope to find the next generation of cures and treatments to many of the terrible diseases that have plagued mankind for millennia, then we need to encourage innovation, investment and research — not stifle it.
Simply stated, drug importation may have a certain rhetorical appeal, but when the shiny stylistic glitter is wiped away, it becomes clear that the proposal is dangerous and potentially deadly for American patients. Paying a lower cost for so-called medications that aren’t medications or in some cases are poisonous, is not a cost savings.
Plus it will stifle and hamstring future innovation and development of new medications. None of that is a good idea, and none of that will help American’s stay healthy or end up reducing healthcare costs.
Drug importation is a bad and risky idea. It keeps getting recycled and some pretend that it isn’t a completely discredited idea. It is time to stop recycling failed ideas that pose real risks to Americans. It is time to look to encourage innovation and research.
King Solomon was quoted in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” As in King Solomon’s time, these days truth does not matter. As a result of hate-driven and ideologically distorted narratives, politicians like President Putin and his like-minded fellow despots do not allow themselves to be bothered or confused by facts. Accordingly, in the dark jungle of fake realities Russia the aggressor has been turned counterintuitively into the victim of Ukrainian belligerence. The old rules of fabricated evidence are back in play again.
Historically, wars have always been ruthlessly destructive affairs. Since their outcomes always having been either winning or losing, monarchs and political leaders more frequently than not have ended up as vulnerable, even lamentable players, in the murderous calculus of local, regional as well as global politics. In the main, such warrior politicians have not been subject to checks and balances. As self-appointed narcissistic guardians of the presumed national interests, they could have invoked emergency powers, and thus free themselves from man-made laws as well as moral constraints. Existing in this God-like penumbra of despotic powers they have unfailingly led their nations and the world into historic catastrophes.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of the Russian Federation by the grace of his subjects’ lack of political culture and common sense, has accomplished the time tested Russian feat of gradually downgrading his reign from a benevolent autocrat to a despotic bungler. While celebrating his “Special Military Operation” cum illegal military invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine, his over two decades old antediluvian despotism has been writhing in its death pangs. Now, almost a hundred days after his failed war on Ukraine and counting, President Putin has already made himself a laughingstock across the globe. His abysmal performance during the May 9th celebrations displayed a slightly deranged person, who has gotten buried up to his neck in his self-generated mis-and-disinformation lies. Indeed, no politician worth his pound of integrity has any confidence in and respect for him. The events following February 24, 2022, have proven that President Putin is neither a smart political and military strategist, nor even a good tactician and soldier, but simply a below average gambler, an individual with no persona who oscillates from one vile extreme to the other without any reason, a man no sane person could fear as an enemy, and who deserves no serious consideration.
Putin’s Russia presents a far greater threat to the peace and stability of Europe and the rest of the world than even China or Iran. With his childish propaganda of Denazification, for which he cited among other fake evidences the Jewish and originally only Russian speaking President Volodymir Zelenskyy, President Putin’s dezinformacija campaign has been nothing but the ephemeral creation of his KGB-ideology poisoned sick mind. Thus, contrary to his intentions, his military offensive and his accompanying official Russian Nationality ideology have collapsed, preserving only a political abyss, which has begun swallowing up the Russian nation.
A fix point in this Putin-generated madness is the President of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelenskyy. His narrative has been straightforward and uncompromising. A “Putinic” peace would preserve the evolving status quo in its most dangerous form. Therefore, it is unacceptable. Russia must withdraw from all the territories it has occupied since 2014, including the Crimea. Thus, the dismemberment of Ukraine is out of the question. For the sake of its present and future security, Ukraine, like Finland and Sweden, must join the European Union and NATO. The burdens of reconstruction must be borne to the fullest by Russia that has illegally invaded his country. The heinous war crimes committed by the Russian military must be investigated by the international community and the guilty must be punished. In the ultimate reckoning with Russia’s crimes, all governments and all international organizations must work along the well-established principles of international law and all the relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements. Among those principles, two are the most important. The principle that occupying territory does not create sovereignty will help to restore order and stability throughout the European continent. The other major principle is that political opposition must always be peaceful and not aggressive.
Thus, in the present situation, the Ukrainian President is one of the few politicians who understands that Russia, with its ephemeral victories and paradoxical wars which will never end will only accomplish the complete destruction of itself. By chasing the mirage of a superpower and by threatening the entire European system, Putin’s Russia is signing its own death sentence into its unattainable ambitions. Prevented from realizing that the unrealistic expansion of Russia will definitely end in a strategic cul-de-sac and the continuation of each war will only mean the beginning of new preparations for a greater one, President Putin’s dream of a restoration of the Empire will perish because he cannot comprehend that civilized states must renounce in their relations with other states the exclusive use of violence. Otherwise, Russia’s cruel games of political insanity will isolate it from the rest of the world forever.
Sen Paul’s plan will balance the budget & reduce inflationary pressures while allowing government to focus on top priorities — like national security our our nation’s defense.
. . .
Washington, DC – June 2, 2022 — George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, released the following statement on U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s “Six Penny Plan”:
Senator Rand Paul has long been a champion of balancing the federal budget and protecting the American taxpayer. Senator Paul has a plan that will balance the budget in five years.
Interestingly, if Congress had voted for Senator Paul’s plan five year ago, we would not be suffering runaway inflation, economic downturns and slowdowns, or severe shortages and empty shelves at the store. And we’d be celebrating a balanced budget too!
If Senator Paul’s original plan had been accepted, no cuts would have been required. The budget could have been balanced simply by holding spending steady for five years. After lost time through inaction, small cuts of 1 penny for every dollars spent were required. Now because of even more inaction and more out of control spending, the plan would require spending cuts of 6 pennies for every dollars spent.
If we wait even longer to take action, we will suffer more inflation, larger and larger deficits and more economic instability. And then it will take much larger cuts to get things back on track. So now is the time to act before the problem becomes so large that it cannot practically be fixed.
Senator Paul’s proposal doesn’t touch Social Security, but it reduces federal spending by $16 trillion over 10 years compared to the baseline. That means Social Security will be more secure. It also means that the the federal government will be able focus on its top priorities — which must always include national security and defense.
One of the risks we have seen from runaway spending is that properly funding our defense and national security needs is increasingly difficult. To be blunt, when our budget is spiraling out of control, our ability to provide a robust defense is hampered. And our adversaries can use our financial troubles to weaken us. So Senator Paul’s proposal to get us back to a balanced budget will ultimately make America stronger and safer and better able to defend itself.
Let’s hope that enough Senators see the merits of getting our federal budget under control so that in future years, the economy can grow, and taxpayers are not saddled with a staggering and stifling debt load and the federal government can focus on its most fundamental and important priorities.
. . .
More details about Sen. Rand Paul’s Six Penny Plan can be found <HERE>.
By Peter Roff • American Liberty
What do we think about America in these troubling times? One of my political mentors taught me to look at her as “a great country, filled with good people who sometimes do amazing things.”
It’s an apt description, even now. It’s one of the first things I thought of when I heard how an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent grabbed a borrowed shotgun and rushed to Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas to help rescue people in need as soon as he heard there was trouble.
“With (the) assistance of two officers, who provided cover, and another two who escorted the terrified students from the school,” wrote Jessica Schladebeck for the New York Daily News, Jacob Albarado “helped evacuate dozens of kids, including his daughter, Jayda. The pair shared a quick hug upon their reunion” before going on to help others get to safety.
That’s what I want to think about. Not the 19 dead children and the two teachers and the other casualties that occurred that day. For, as much as America’s greatness still resides within us, manifesting itself when it is most needed, we must likewise acknowledge there are bad people among us who sometimes do evil things.
Mankind, for lack of a better word, is imperfect. It’s not clear why that’s so difficult for people to accept. Everyone knows what James Madison wrote in The Federalist papers about there being no need for government “If men were angels.” What many people don’t recall is what followed.
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
As Madison would no doubt agree, one of those “auxiliary precautions” is the constitutional guarantee that “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” which, even though the United States Supreme Court recently affirmed that right applies to individuals, is once again under attack in the aftermath of the tragedy in Uvalde.
The liberal response is predictable. Without knowing much, they are calling for tougher gun control laws including the prohibition on the sale and possession of certain types of firearms. They’re not interested in knowing why the security protocols press reports have said were in place failed or even what they were and why the police waited so long after the shooter was in the school before they moved in. Instead, they started playing politics, even before the families of the victims had time to bury their dead. Democrat Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, Texas’s pseudo-Latinx wannabe governor, used the shooting as an opportunity to engage in a face-to-face confrontation with the state’s actual governor, Republican Greg Abbott as he and members of law enforcement were busy explaining what had happened.
O’Rourke may have thought he was “speaking truth to power.” What he really did was show just how little class he has. He’ll probably lose in November by a large margin and all I can say to that is “Good riddance.” But he wasn’t the only liberal to go after guns once again.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blocked a GOP effort Wednesday to codify the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse, a database of information available at SchoolSafety.gov started during the Trump administration, into law. “Hardening schools would’ve done nothing to prevent this shooting. In fact, there were guards and police officers already at the school yesterday when the shooter showed up,” Schumer said. “More guns won’t protect our children.”
Schumer’s lack of knowledge about school safety and firearms only compounds his ignorance regarding human nature. The United States has spent billions since 9/11 to harden airports and federal buildings and other facilities to protect against the threat of terrorism. If that works, and the amount of money spent doing it suggests people believe it will then logically, additional efforts to harden schools will protect children.
If the issue is finding the root cause, then why aren’t the people demanding “something, anything be done” concerned with why no one stopped the bullying the shooter underwent as a child because he lisped and stuttered? Or how government policies toward the poor and underclass may have exacerbated the difficulties he faced at home growing up? Or how the educational system failed to respond in a meaningful, effective way to what appears to have been the shooter’s obvious mental deterioration? Or how the lockdowns imposed because of COVID that closed the schools may have contributed to it all.
There are lots of questions that should be asked in addition to “How did he get a gun?” It’s too bad there aren’t more people interested in asking them. What we’re getting instead is a long-winded, fruitless crusade against firearms once again launched by people who don’t understand guns and gun culture that won’t change anything.
Instead of looking to the prohibitions for the answers, we should look to the people who own guns and understand their legitimate place in society for the answers. As unsettling as the incident in Uvalde is, the city of Chicago – which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country – is an open-air shooting gallery and home to an ongoing mass shooting that differs from what happened in Texas primarily because the victims are spread out over time and the police, who can’t count on the backing of the politicians who run the city don’t seem to have the resolve to do anything about it.
More than anything else, we need to take a look at how local and state first responders are trained to handle situations like the one at Robb Elementary. Officials in Texas admitted Friday they waited too long before storming the school, a delay that may have made the tragedy worse.
According to The New York Times’ Eileen Sullivan and J. David Goodman, “When specially equipped federal immigration agents arrived at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, the local police at the scene would not allow them to go after the gunman who had opened fire on students inside the school, according to two officials briefed on the situation.” That, in a word, is inexcusable.
America is not, as even some defenders of the gun culture argue, a sick nation. It is a great nation, as my mentor said, full of people who have the courage to face the problem of gun violence head-on rationally, showing appropriate respect for due process, the Second Amendment, and other things that matter. They should be given the chance to do so.
By John Dempsey • Townhall
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Justice in a free country is an important concept. Around the globe, there are countries that still carry-on atrocities to this day – China being one of them with Uyghur concentration camps – and there is no punishment brought down on the ones responsible. In America, when we think about justice, we think about an individual who commits a crime and is later arrested by the authorities. Eventually, they go to court and face punishment from a judge. However, those times are vanishing in front of our eyes.
Over the last four to five years, we have increasingly heard the word “justice” bounced around ad nauseum. Those looking to implement progressive policies and change our government system must find oppression, injustice, brutality, and other forms of maltreatment that do not exist and then create outrage about them.
Implementing change requires radical progressives in positions to enforce leftist policies down to the local school board. After decades of positioning, we are starting to see the fruits of the left’s labor.
Progressives are running schools, universities, media, and government agencies. The left is now remaking the criminal enforcement system. We are starting to see less true justice for victims in the criminal realm and more for political/cultural change. As this begins to happen, there will be limited law and order.
Left-wing activists, lawyers, and judges are redefining the word justice. We hear more about environmental, reproductive, racial, economic, procedural, retributive, distributive, and general social justice. As more far-left district attorneys are elected, less justice is handed down to criminals on behalf of the victim via case dismissals. One of the most glaring examples is in Los Angeles, California.
Current Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is a prime example of someone who is rewriting traditional justice for progressive policies. Gascon served as the district attorney for the city of San Francisco from 2011 – 2019 before unseating Los Angeles incumbent Jackie Lacey in 2020. Gascon is known for liberal, progressive policies that wrecked the city of San Francisco. Now, we see Gascon’s same policies implemented in the City of Angels, providing more justice to the criminals than victims in a true progressive fashion.
Gascon is not worried about victims in his mission to “modernize” the criminal justice system as the murder rate has increased 20%. The media is covering for him while murders have significantly increased by reporting that crime has declined overall – this is media covering for a fellow leftist. It seems odd that while the news is reporting “an overall decrease in crime,” citizens are attempting to recall Gascon for his inept, out-of-touch idea of criminal justice.
Murder does not rise, while all other crimes decrease. The cause for a drop in crimes is easy to understand. Police officers are responding to fewer crimes because fewer victims are calling, and there is less proactive policing, which is justice for progressives.
Progressive policies do not bring justice- they bring chaos. The word justice is being abused and intended to make others believe that those wrecking the oil industry, burning down cities, blocking highways, redistributing your hard-earned money, and changing the system to a progressive wasteland are in a fight for noble causes. There is nothing virtuous that comes from leftist policies.
As conservatives, we must be aware of the word games and doublespeak of the left. Leftists have been influential with their messaging for decades, and conservatives have been caught flatfooted. Remember, there is no justice in leftism – only policies that promote a progressive agenda.
America is a land where there should be justice for all. However, it is also a place of opportunity. The idea that people are oppressed is false. Everyone has a choice in this country. They can choose to find their path and be successful, or they can choose to blame others for their plights in life and do nothing.
Justice should be for the victims of a crime, not made-up progressive issues.
Free Beacon Investigates: Five cities, five free crack pipes
By Patrick Hauf • The Washington Free Beacon
Crack pipes are distributed in safe-smoking kits up and down the East Coast, raising questions about the Biden administration’s assertion that its multimillion-dollar harm reduction grant program wouldn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to drug paraphernalia.
The findings are the result of Washington Free Beacon visits to five harm-reduction organizations and calls to over two dozen more. In fact, every organization we visited—facilities in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, Va.—included crack pipes in the kits.
The kits became the subject of national attention in the wake of a Free Beacon report in February indicating that a $30 million harm-reduction program was set to fund the distribution of free crack pipes in “safe-smoking kits.” Pressed on the matter in a Feb. 9 press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a full-throated denial.
“They were never a part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting,” Psaki said of the pipes. “A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases.”
While the contents of safe-smoking kits vary from one organization to another—and while those from some organizations may not contain crack pipes—all of the organizations we visited made crack pipes as well as paraphernalia for the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine readily available without requiring or offering rehabilitation services, suggesting that pipes are included in many if not most of the kits distributed across the country. All of the centers we visited are run by health-focused nonprofits and government agencies—the types of groups eligible to receive funding, starting this month, from the Biden administration’s $30 million grant program.
None of the organizations responded to inquiries about whether they applied for government grants. It is not clear which organizations will receive those grants, nor has the administration said how it will ensure the kits will not contain crack pipes. The Department of Health and Human Services, which will oversee the Biden grant program, declined to provide a list of groups that have applied for funding, citing “confidentiality.” The Biden administration is set to announce grant recipients on May 15.
The Free Beacon‘s findings contradict claims from a raft of fact-checkers who, based on the White House’s ex-post-facto denial, deemed the Free Beacon‘s reporting false.
A USA Today headline asking, “What’s inside a safe smoking kit?” answered: “No, it’s not a crack pipe.” The outlet based its fact-check solely on the administration’s denial and does not appear to have done any additional research on safe smoking kits. The author, Michelle Shen, did not respond to a request for comment.
A survey of more than two dozen harm reduction organizations found that not all harm reduction organizations distribute safe smoking kits, but those that do almost always provide crack pipes. The few that don’t include crack pipes in their kits say they are willing to, but unable to.
At Washington, D.C.’s Family and Medical Counseling Service, Inc., for example, a member of the group’s needle exchange team told the Free Beacon that the organization would love to offer crack pipes as part of its safe smoking kit but hasn’t been able to purchase them.
“I would if I knew how,” said Tyrone Pinkney, who distributes clean needles from a recreational vehicle and said he did not know where to buy crack pipes to include in the kits.
Pinkney, however, appears to be an exception. Here is what the Free Beacon found in each city.
At Charm City Care Connection, a nonprofit that provides harm reduction services to combat “oppression,” an employee said that identification is not required to receive a smoking kit, but did ask for initials, a date of birth, and zip code before handing over two smoking kits containing glass crack pipes as well as Chore Boy copper mesh, a cleaning product used to hold the crack rock at the end of the pipe.
The bag included directions for how to use the pipe, heat-resistant mouthpieces, wooden sticks for packing the mesh into the pipe, and alcohol wipes. Most importantly, the organization provides all drug paraphernalia recipients an “Authorized Harm Reduction Program Participant Card” that serves as a get-out-of-jail-free card to show to law enforcement, because the paraphernalia is otherwise illegal in the state of Maryland.
Charm City Care Connection receives funding from both the Baltimore city and Maryland state governments, as well as at least $200,000 from left-wing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations as part of the organization’s “Addiction and Health Equity Program.” According to the group’s disclosures, it received $200,000 in government grants in 2019. It has a partnership with Johns Hopkins University and half of its board of directors work for the university.
Women in Baltimore can have crack pipes delivered to their door. Katie Evans, the outreach director of the SPARC Women’s Center, says the organization will deliver smoking kits with crack pipes to anyone with “non-men identities.” The center, which is run through Johns Hopkins University, will also deliver syringes, snorting kits, and “sex supplies,” Evans said.
Evans would not say whether SPARC Women’s Center applied for a Health and Human Services grant. Charm City Care Connection also did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a Health and Human Services grant.
In Boston’s South End neighborhood, a man was seen injecting a needle into his calf about 30 feet away from a police car outside the Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education facility, which is run by the Boston Public Health Commission.
Inside the facility, an employee recorded our initials, date of birth, housing situation, and HIV status before offering an array of drug equipment. The bin of crack pipes was visible just above a bin of syringes labeled “biggie smalls” and “ultra fine,” different options for injecting drugs into different parts of the body.
“One pipe per person, once a day,” a worker, who emerged with a crack pipe, meth pipe, and additional drug accessories such as Chore Boy copper, told the Free Beacon.
An employee said the facility no longer offers get-out-of-jail-free cards because the police don’t arrest people for drug possession any longer.
“We’re way past that,” the employee said, though possession of drug paraphernalia is still a crime in the city. The Boston Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
The Boston Public Health Commission did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a Health and Human Services grant.
At the Alliance’s Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, a young staffer offers up a long menu of drug paraphernalia available free of charge. Included on the menu was a “booty bump” kit for rectal ingestion of narcotics, which is recommended by many harm reduction centers as a safer way to use meth.
After providing initials, date of birth, and zip code, the Free Beacon was given two drug pipes, one for crack and one for meth, as well as an authorized program card similar to what was given out in Baltimore. The smoking kits include literature with “safer smoking tips,” including a warning that “crack and meth use can lead to unprotected sex by increasing your sex drive or making you more sexually passive.” Other tips advise addicts obtain crack from a “source you trust,” and to “smoke only a little bit first if unsure about its purity.”
In addition to the Chore Boy copper mesh, the center gave out pipe screens, which work as an alternative to hold crack rocks in the pipe. The center advertises that its pipes are made of Pyrex, a stronger tempered glass designed for high heat.
The Alliance for Positive Change, also known as AIDS Service Center NYC, has received $20 million from Health and Human Services since 2004—mostly for AIDS and HIV-related programs—with the majority of grants distributed during the Obama administration. The organization has received $74 million in government grants since 2009.
The Alliance for Positive Change did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a Health and Human Services grant.
Just about a mile from the U.S. Capitol and within blocks of two elementary schools, a harm reduction center in Washington, D.C., had readily available pipes for crack and meth, as well as Chore Boy mesh, copper screens, and the same mouthpieces offered in Baltimore.
“Which kind do you want?” a volunteer asked after this reporter inquired about smoking kits. No information was recorded, and the center declined to look at identification that was offered. Program cards are no longer distributed by the center because possession of drug paraphernalia is decriminalized in the nation’s capital.
The harm reduction center goes by HIPS, which formerly stood for Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive but has been altered to stand for Honoring Individual Power and Strength.
HIPS since 2018 has received $3.1 million from Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which oversees the Biden administration’s harm reduction program. The funds are provided through two separate programs: one for LGBTQ housing and another for medication-assisted treatment.
HIPS did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a Health and Human Services grant.
Employees of the River City Harm Redux organization were found at a table set up outside a hotel on the outskirts of Richmond, Va. This reporter asked for two crack smoking kits, but was told only one remained in the day’s offerings. To make up for the shortcoming, the employees added a meth pipe along with two “snorting kits,” which include straws, a plastic razor blade to break up drugs, short plastic straws, a small spoon, and a bedazzled playing card to snort drugs off of.
The organization is not an authorized harm reduction site recognized by the Virginia Department of Health. Possession of drug paraphernalia in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia can result in up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
“If they are not authorized they are not protected by the law that allows sites to furnish paraphernalia,” Bruce Taylor, the drug use coordinator for the department, told the Free Beacon. Taylor said Virginia does not allow harm reduction facilities to include crack pipes in their smoking kits, and that his department is not aware of River City Harm Redux.
River City Harm Redux did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had applied for a Health and Human Services grant.
By The Washington Free Beacon Editors • The Washington Free Beacon
As the rest of the world reeled from the COVID pandemic in 2020, it looked like China had things under control. Americans and Europeans sheltered in place, while the Chinese enjoyed pool parties and weddings. The World Health Organization concluded in a February 2020 report: “China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic. This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.”
Turns out, China’s “bold approach” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. For weeks now, the country’s Communist leaders have imposed lockdowns on some of its largest cities to grapple with a spike in hospitalizations. China’s COVID vaccines are far less effective than those developed and produced in America and Europe. Despite state censorship, cell phone videos of average citizens yelling at the authorities have gone viral (so to speak). People don’t have enough to eat. They are imprisoned in their own apartments. Meanwhile, even the bluest cities in America are lifting mask mandates.
None of this should surprise anyone. On the one hand, China invests a great deal in trying to convince the rest of the world that it should be feared, and its leader, Xi Jinping, has accumulated increasing power.
But the regime has also blundered. Xi this year signed a sweeping pact with Vladimir Putin on the eve of Russia’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine. And China is gaining little from picking a fight with India in the Himalayan Mountains.
What Xi and his apparats do not understand is that every time they bully a neighbor or con an international organization, they are making a strong argument to weaker states that it is better to align with America than to accept Chinese hegemony. When the rest of the world sees that Beijing cannot control a virus that likely originated from one of the regime’s biological laboratories, that case gains strength.
None of this is to say that America should not prepare to confront China in the coming years. The Chinese have surpassed us in hypersonic weapons technology. China’s military buildup is real. But just as the world is now learning through Russia’s blunders in Ukraine just how incompetent and corrupt the Russian Army is, we should not assume a military untested in battle will be as menacing as Chinese propaganda would have us believe.
Totalitarian regimes look fearsome right until they crumble. Xi’s is unlikely to be any different.
The administration recently proposed a new Department of Education rule to make it more difficult for nonprofit organizations to open charter schools, forcing them to comply with many unnecessary regulations and bureaucratic paperwork requests.
By Christian Barnard • Reason Foundation
President Biden is keeping a campaign promise that will, unfortunately, make life more difficult for students and parents.
The administration recently proposed a new Department of Education rule to make it more difficult for nonprofit organizations to open charter schools, forcing them to comply with many unnecessary regulations and bureaucratic paperwork requests. The rule would also prevent for-profit charter school organizations from accessing federal start-up grants.
Regrettably, the president’s approach is out of touch with what parents across the country are demanding for their kids: more choices outside of the traditional public school system.
Nationwide, public school enrollment has fallen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as many teachers unions blocked in-person learning and parents sought other opportunities for their kids. Charter schools, in contrast, largely successfully navigated the pandemic. A January 2022 poll of more than 1,200 parents with school-age children by EdChoice, a nonprofit advocating for school choice, found that 92 percent of parents with charter school students were satisfied with their children’s educations compared to the 76 percent of traditional public school parents who were satisfied.
Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found privately managed charter schools in New York, California and Washington state were “very successful” at meeting students’ needs from the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 through June 2021. Similarly, a National Center for Education Statistics survey of more than 80,000 public- and private-school teachers and principals found, “Sixty-three percent of private-school teachers, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, reported using scheduled real-time lessons that allowed students to ask questions through a video or audio call” but just 47 percent of public-school teachers did the same.
The Biden administration’s proposal is also disappointing because it ignores the important role for-profit enterprises play in public education. Traditional public schools routinely use for-profit companies to provide students with transportation, technology, building management and much more. Although there have been some egregious examples of self-dealing in the for-profit charter school world, policymakers shouldn’t paint with too broad a brush. Some for-profit charter management organizations have produced impressive results for students.
“In the recent U.S. News & World Report Best High School rankings, four of the five top schools in the country are associated with a for-profit education company,” noted Andrew Rotherham, co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners.
Equally concerning is how Biden’s proposal would place new burdens on non-profit entities that want to use federal funds to open charter schools in their communities. To access federal funding under the proposed rule, nonprofits looking to establish a new charter school would need to create reports for the federal government proving there is a demand for a new school, detailing myriad ways the school plans to engage with the community, an in-depth analysis of neighborhood demographics, how the school plans to attract a racially diverse student body and staff, and more.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said Biden’s proposal “would create roadblocks that would make Charter Schools Program funds almost completely inaccessible — particularly to new schools in Black, Brown, rural or indigenous communities.”
In many communities, charter schools are basically privately managed public schools that are stepping up to give students better options. In the case of for-profit schools, ideally, they wouldn’t need federal funding at all, but the current education finance system is so dysfunctional that many do, and thus the administration’s targeting of them is misguided.
Across the country, parents are telling elected officials they need more education options for their children. Sadly, the Biden administration’s charter school rule would do the opposite, limiting education options for the communities that need them most.
You cannot make this up. Is there any accountability in any corner of the liberal academic sphere? We all know it’s non-existent in media and political landscapes. Still, you would hope that someone who tries to destigmatize pedophilia would be ostracized for all time. Well, that’s not the case.
Remember, the Old Dominion University professor, Allyn Walker, who got into hot water for trying to normalize sexual deviants? The non-binary professor said we should call pedophiles “minor-attracted persons.” This person was placed on leave and then resigned from that position at the school. Now, Walker is back working for a child sex abuse center. Who the hell is in charge of hiring at this place? (via NY Post):
And now, that person is going to be helping child sex abuse survivors. Only in liberal America could hiring a fox to look after the henhouse be considered a good move. Yet, we’re the extreme party, right?
We believe in a smaller federal government, less regulation, fewer taxes, freedom of speech, and a booming economy. That’s apparently now considered neo-Nazism to the left. They’re for an authoritarian government that can censor whomever they want, more regulations, forever wars, and apparently allowing child rape to be permissible. They think men can get pregnant. They want to brainwash all the kids to be either gay or transgender for some reason. The left is unhinged, bizarre, and utterly gross. They’re just a horde of terrible, disgusting people, which explains how someone who wants to destigmatize child rapists can be hired at a child sex abuse center.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 28, 2022, at the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship on Hillsdale’s Washington, D.C. campus, as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.
By Matt Rosenberg • Hillsdale College Imprimus
For several years prior to 2020, violent crime in America’s major cities was on the decline. But since the riots that summer following the death of George Floyd, it is heading in the opposite direction.
Murders nationwide in 2020 rose a stunning 29.4 percent over the previous year, the largest annual increase since the FBI began tracking that data in the 1960s. The number of murders in Chicago climbed even more sharply, rising 55 percent. It was as if a switch had been flipped. At least ten major U.S. cities hit new murder highs in 2021, but Chicago led the way with 797, the city’s highest number in 25 years.
Chicago’s violent crime epidemic is not limited to murder. The city’s 3,561 shooting incidents in 2021 were up 63 percent over 2019. Expressway shootings in Chicago-Cook County rose even more dramatically, from 51 in 2019 to 130 in 2020 to 273 in 2021. These expressway shootings pushed Chicago’s actual 2021 murder total north of 800.
Expressway killings aren’t counted in the official city numbers because expressways are under state jurisdiction. But try telling that to Chicagoans. “It’s almost like a modern, 21st century form of dueling,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. “[People get into fights with] each other on social media, they threaten one another and they say . . . ‘Let’s take this out to the expressway.’”
One of Chicago’s expressway murder victims was a dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother, and special education teacher named Denise Huguelet. Sixty-seven years old, she was being driven home from a White Sox game last summer when she became collateral damage in a shootout on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Then there are the carjackings, 1,836 of them in Chicago in 2021—a 204 percent increase over 2019. One victim was a Democratic state senator. Her husband had a gun and returned fire. In another incident, a Cook County judge had to pull her three-year-old son to safety before the carjackers drove off.
Will McGee was 18 and looking forward to joining the military after graduating from Excel Academy on the South Side, where he’d been voted homecoming king. He had saved up to buy a new Chevy Equinox and was behind the wheel when he was carjacked last November. He surrendered the vehicle and tried to run away but was shot dead in the back. The SUV was found abandoned shortly afterward.
Gangs have stoked the carnage with a sub-genre of hip hop music called “Chicago Drill.” Rival gangs call each other out in Chicago Drill raps, and bullets often fly as a result. Chicago’s gang world used to be dominated by a small handful of gang leaders, and homicides were usually tied to drugs and territorial conflicts. But as the federal government took down the older generation of leaders, gangs fractured and multiplied on a block-by-block level. Today’s gangs are run by young knuckleheads who throw down angry words on little screens and use shooters who in some cases have barely reached puberty and struggle to hold and aim their weapons.
The fact that violent crime increasingly leads to the deaths of innocent citizens is a major reason for the exodus of Chicago’s black population, down one-third since 1980. It also explains why increasing numbers from the surrounding suburbs—and tourists in general—are shunning the city.
So there’s violent crime aplenty in Chicago. But punishment? Not so much.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that in 2020, police made carjacking arrests in only eleven percent of cases. And Cook County prosecutors working for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx approved felony charges in less than half of that eleven percent.
Chicago reported a 53 percent rate of “clearing” or solving murders in 2019. But that number was inflated. A misguiding technical term was applied to nearly six in ten “cleared” murders: “cleared, closed exceptionally.” The term “closed exceptionally” means that a murder has been declared solved, but without the filing of criminal charges—usually because prosecutors decide police evidence is insufficient.
Too many Chicagoans are dead due in part to a broken criminal justice system.
Denny Zheng was 24. He’d recently completed a master’s degree in statistics at the University of Chicago. Last November, as he walked near the campus in Hyde Park, he was robbed of his laptop computer and cell phone, then shot dead. The charged suspect was 18 years old and on probation for aggravated carjacking and armed robbery. Before his arrest, he sold the laptop and phone for $100.
Ella French was 29 and a Chicago police officer. She was killed during a traffic stop last August. The charged suspect was on probation for felony robbery.
In July, 73-year-old Keith Cooper, a grandfather and a veteran, died of a heart attack after being punched in the head during an attempted carjacking in Hyde Park. The charged suspect, by then an 18-year-old adult, had been on probation for juvenile carjacking.
In December 2020, retired Chicago firefighter Dwain Williams, 65, was slain during a carjacking attempt by a group of young men. One had five juvenile convictions and four pending cases, including one for an alleged home invasion and kidnapping. Another was out on bail before trial for stolen vehicle possession and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
In January of this year, eight-year-old Melissa Ortega was shopping with her mother on 26th Street, the main drag of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. She was shot and killed in a gang-related shooting gone awry. The charged suspect was a 16-year-old on probation for three armed carjackings within the previous year.
Easy probation has become a license to kill. Why won’t judges properly assess risk, even in juvenile cases? The answer is all too clear: criminal justice has morphed into what advocates on the bench and in prosecutors’ offices describe as “social justice.” But where is the justice for the victims and their families? The rush to empty out jails and prisons is costing lives.
The movement for bail reform only compounds the problem. Since 2017, under Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ direction, suspects charged with felony gun violations and overtly violent felonies are often released on low-cash or no-cash bail.
Evans has repeatedly argued that only a small percentage of released felony suspects have been charged again before trial. But he has not always been trustworthy in his use of data. In 2020, he released a report claiming there was no significant increase in crime after bail reform was enacted in Chicago. Only 147 felony defendants released before trial on low-cash or no-cash bail within the previous year and a quarter, he asserted, had been charged with new felony offenses. But the actual number was at least four times higher than that according to a Chicago Tribune analysis, which it was able to complete only after winning a public records appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Evans’ office had failed to count at least six different felony crime categories as felonies.
What can be done to address Chicago’s violent crime epidemic? Here are some ideas for legal reform suggested by the cases cited above:
Unfortunately, the last two recommendations would require action by the Illinois Legislature, which has been under one-party (Democratic) rule for decades and has shown no serious interest in stopping crime.
Chicago should also employ smarter policing tactics, which would need to go hand-in-hand with stronger political support for the police. Residents of black neighborhoods say they want better police and more of them—and contrary to what too many Chicago politicians seem to believe, improved police accountability isn’t incompatible with supporting police in their efforts to make the streets safer.
One way to improve policing is by returning to regular foot patrols in high-crime districts. In February 2013, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Chief Garry McCarthy, Chicago launched a foot patrol program called Operation Impact in the city’s 20 highest-crime hot zones. After 14 months, murders in those zones dropped by almost half, shootings by 43 percent, and overall crime by 25 percent. Police said targeted gang and narcotics interventions may also have helped.
But Operation Impact didn’t last. Today such a program might require three or four cops to walk a beat together, with back-up in nearby cars. This in turn would require more police funding, not defunding, and real support for the police by Chicago’s mayor and city council.
Chicago politicians, like city politicians elsewhere, too often blame “gun violence” for the city’s murder epidemic, as if guns shoot themselves. Chicago police, to their credit, took more than 12,000 illegal guns off the streets in 2021 alone. But the supply is endless, and now includes “ghost guns”—guns without serial numbers made from mail-order parts. The vast majority of Chicago residents are law-abiding, and they should be able to defend themselves with legally obtained firearms.
In addition to legal reforms and improved policing, it’s time to stop making excuses for what one brave Chicago alderman, Ray Lopez, has called “the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods” and the effects of “generational gang life.” Political leaders need to stop walking on eggshells when it comes to talking about the breakdown of the nuclear family in low-income black communities. Young men need fathers—without fathers they flounder.
According to City of Chicago data, in every year from 1999 to 2009, more than 80 percent of all black women who gave birth were single. Among Latinos, that figure rose from 45 to 55 percent during that period, while for whites and Asians the numbers were dramatically lower.
More broken homes are directly correlated with more violent crime. Annual Chicago Police Department reports show that the neighborhoods with the highest murder rates are the same neighborhoods in which births to single mothers are highest. Among children raised in households headed by two biological parents, regardless of race, studies find greater educational attainment, higher adult income, and lower rates of incarceration.
Failing public schools also contribute to Chicago’s violent crime crisis. Fewer than two out of ten black fourth- and eighth-graders achieve the “proficient” level in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. High school SAT results are equally dismal.
A bright spot worth mentioning is the achievements being made by public charter schools. A University of Chicago study found that students at public charter high schools had better attendance and test scores than those at non-charter public high schools. More was required of them to advance to the next grade and to graduate. Teachers reported a higher level of trust and collaboration with their colleagues and a greater willingness to innovate. Classes were more academically demanding.
Sadly, however, the Chicago Teachers Union has used its broad powers to strike—powers granted by state lawmakers—to restrict competition, insisting on a charter school growth cap in their last two contracts. When the current cap expires in 2024, it should not be renewed by Chicago’s mayor and school board.
What Chicago ultimately needs are school vouchers, which must be enacted by state legislation—an unlikely prospect—or by a voter-approved constitutional amendment.
Another means of curtailing violence in Chicago is through poverty remediation and neighborhood economic development—which doesn’t simply mean government dispensations.
In Woodlawn, at 63rd and Martin Luther King Jr., is a fast-food dive where men step up to passing cars and collect cash in return for drugs. Walking south on MLK, I passed a woman with a thousand-yard glassy-eyed stare. Other pedestrians were loping around in little circles, looking lost.
Investment in such neighborhoods is a wager, and no one likes long odds. But just down the street on MLK, Pastor Corey Brooks is placing his bet. Brooks heads New Beginnings Church and its non-profit arm, Project H.O.O.D., which offers parenting classes, remote learning co-ops, online financial education lessons, and a popular construction industry training program. Eighteen black female electricians graduated from a certification course last summer. Brooks is in the midst of raising millions of dollars for a state-of-the-art community center equipped for career and technical training.
Trade skills are important, but so is meeting workplace expectations. On Halloween in 2020, Brooks’ church organized a Harvest Party for parents and children. I came across Brooks there counseling an agitated young man who was in the Project H.O.O.D. construction training program. The man was upset because his Latino job site supervisor confronted him about being late to work and not filling out timecards. It was a heated conversation, but Brooks held his ground, telling the young man that to keep a good construction job you’ve got to be on time and do what the boss says. He also told him he’d better get used to Latinos, because they’re skilled in the building trades.
In November 2020, I visited Chicago’s Roseland district, southeast of Woodlawn. The same Michigan Avenue that’s home to the Magnificent Mile shopping district downtown looks a lot different on the city’s South Side. Much of it looks like a war-torn city in Syria.
Dutch settlers in the 1840s referred to Roseland as High Prairie. In the 1850s it became an important stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to freedom in Canada. As recently as the early 1970s, Michigan Ave. in Roseland was a robust marketplace with distinctive architecture. Subsequently, however, as gang violence increased, the area came to be known as the Wild One Hundreds. During my visit, nearly every building on Michigan Ave. was trashed or empty.
Antoine Dobine lives in neighboring West Pullman. Interviewed by NBC News, he recalled that Roseland was
a beautiful area in the 70s. It was like a family atmosphere. But . . . a lot of families left, and a lot of families moved in and didn’t have those same values. . . . We need all these parents who got these gun toters and gangbangers on their couches . . . to say, “Hey, child, get out of my house and put that gun down.” . . . I know there’s people living in these homes that’s sick and tired of things going on like I’m sick and tired, [but they] won’t . . . speak up.
Political change in Chicago is essential. Year after year, two-thirds of the city’s registered voters fail to vote in local elections. The main group that does vote consistently is a group that benefits greatly from the status quo: public employee union members. Voting is suppressed by the fact that local elections are held in odd years during cold winter months, but until the majority of citizens—who are being harmed by the status quo—seizes control of their own destiny, little will change.
Change at the family and individual levels is equally essential. Malik Tiger made such a change, and in doing so came to understand the true meaning of self-determination. He grew up in Roseland, and his father served ten years in jail. By age 17, Malik was charged in his first gun case, and a spiraling pattern of crime, gunshot wounds, and jail time followed. Then he decided he had had enough.
“I feel like at the end of the day, change has to come from within. You have to get tired,” Malik said. “You have to look at yourself in the mirror and be disgusted with who you are.” Through a violence prevention program, he turned things around and landed a job at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
“I just had a newborn son,” Malik said. “I have my own apartment. I’m doing good for myself.” Bumping into the judge who sentenced him in 2013 on juvenile gun charges, he received encouragement for the changes he’d made. “The judge looked at me as an individual, as a strong black man who was trying to go forward and trying to do the right thing to take care of his family.”
The Left today has badly misappropriated the word “equity,” using it to mean equality of outcome—something to be achieved through affirmative action and economic redistribution. But real equity, in the old sense, cannot be given. Real equity requires the old fashioned virtues. It is inextricable from full ownership of your own course in life.