Bath salts: Woman wanted to ‘kill someone and eat them’
Utica, NY, police were called to a bar Saturday night where a woman high on bath salts lunged at one officer and tried to bite his face.
Utica, NY, police were called to a bar Saturday night where a woman high on bath salts lunged at one officer and tried to bite his face.
Police were called to Stanley’s Bar on Court Street in Utica because of an “emotionally disturbed person,” reported the Village Voice. When they arrived at the bar, they found a 41-year-old woman sitting in a stairwell sweating profusely and with a “blank stare” on her face.
More from GlobalPost: Bath salts strike again? Another face-eating attack occurs in Louisiana
When one of the officers approached her, she lunged at him and tried to bite his face, according to the Associated Press. Police said she then screamed that she wanted to “kill someone and eat them” as they tried to restrain her.
The woman was taken to Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare by ambulance for a mental health evaluation and medical treatment, reported the Utica Observer-Dispatch. The hospital later determined the woman was under the influence of the synthetic drug known as bath salts.
More from GlobalPost: Bath salts may have caused Miami cannibal attack
Later that same night, Utica police were called to the home of 20-year-old Aubrey Vails, whose mother said he was acting strangely and had become very aggressive toward her and her husband, according to the Observer-Dispatch. Vails’s family was afraid to go back into their home because he was making threats to kill them.
The AP also reported that Vails then ripped a door off its hinges and punched a car in the driveway. He was charged with criminal mischief.
Report: Woman Under The Influence Of Bath Salts Tried To Steal Police Car
Pacolet Police say a woman under the influence of bath salts tried to steal a police car on Monday, according to our news coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
The newspaper reports that 25-year old Jessica Elaine Creasman, 25, of Leicester, N.C., was charged by the Pacolet Police Department with resisting arrest, attempted grand larceny, driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to an incident report.
The Herald-Journal reports that a report stated that an officer saw a car swerve into the opposite lane off Highway 176 near Highway 150 about 11 p.m. Monday. The car rolled into the center of the median and a person got out and ran into the nearby woods.
The report further states that the officer pulled into the median, got out of her patrol car and approached the car. The officer said she heard what sounded like a shotgun racking twice and took cover on the passenger side of her patrol car and called for backup.
While the officer was beside her car, she said heard the police car’s driver’s side door open. Looking into the car with her weapon drawn, the officer saw Creasman in the driver’s seat, the report said. Creasman tried several times to put the car in drive, and hit the accelerator, but the car was still in park.
Creasman jumped out of the car and the officer ordered her to get on the ground. Creasman shouted at the officer before complying with her command to get on the ground.
A deputy who arrived struggled with Creasman to get her handcuffed, the report said. After she was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, Creasman told officers that she and her boyfriend had been snorting bath salts all night. Officers found several vials of bath salts, including an empty vial, in Creasman’s car, the report said.
Officers searched with a K-9 for the boyfriend Creasman said had been in the car with her, but didn’t find him.
Monday’s incident was the first time Pacolet police had encountered someone under the influence of “bath salts,” Chief Robert Ivey told the Herald-Journal.
A study by the International Institute of Strategic Studies found that the global war on narcotics had failed to contain the scourge of illegal stimulants.
The drugs trade has spread to Africa and Eastern Europe in recent decades and entrenched its standing in its traditional strongholds of Asia and the Americas.
Nigel Inkster, the former assistant chief of MI6 and author of the study, said there was a growing revolt against the cost of the fight in developing countries.
Only “vested interests” in countries where illegal drugs are consumed stood in the way of a change in approach, he said.
Research indicated that the authorities would need to stop 70 per cent of all drugs shipments to disrupt the trade. While no figures for the proportion of the trade stopped are available, the figure is almost certainly far below that threshold.
Therefore ramping up the security services fight against drugs is almost certainly doomed to failure.
“As any doctor is told on his first day, you should not just double the dose,” said Mr Inkster, who is the most senior figure to have worked within the fight against narcotics to openly call for a review. “If your initial diagnosis doesn’t work don’t just double the dose.”
The corrosive effects on security of the narco-economy also weighs as an argument for ending the war. “You can’t do counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics simultaneously,” he said. “Our investigation has shown us that the so-called war on drugs fundamentally undermines international security.”
The report, Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States, highlights two alternative systems. Either decriminalisation of all personal possession, as Portugal instituted a decade ago, or a licensing scheme such as that which brought the gin trade under control in London in the 1700s.
Licensing would also allow states to begin to apply the lessons of antismoking campaigns which have curtailed tobacco use.
Taxation, public health messages and social legislation could marginalise drug use.
Recent Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children in Hollywood Just Tip of Iceberg, Experts Say
By Meaghan Murphy
If a spate of recent allegations proves true, Hollywood may have a hideous epidemic on its hands. The past two weeks have brought three separate reports of alleged child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.
Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors, was charged in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 with sexually abusing a former client. His accuser, who was under 12 years old during the time of the alleged abuse, reported to authorities that Weiss told him “what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry.” Weiss has pleaded not guilty.
On Nov. 21, Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “Sesame Street,” was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. The Juilliard-trained composer was also charged with production and distribution of child pornography.
Registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, worked as a casting agent in Hollywood for years before his past kidnapping and sexual abuse of a boy was revealed by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17. Murphy’s credits include placing young actors in kid-friendly fare like “Bad News Bears,” “The School of Rock,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the forthcoming “Three Stooges.”
Revelations of this sort come as no surprise to former child star Corey Feldman.
Feldman, 40, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, unflinchingly warned of the world of pedophiles who are drawn to the entertainment industry last August. “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman told ABC’s Nightline. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry… It’s the big secret.”
Another child star from an earlier era agrees that Hollywood has long had a problem with pedophilia. “When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head,” Paul Peterson, 66, star of The Donna Reed Show, a sitcom popular in the 1950s and 60s, and president of A Minor Consideration, tells FOXNews.com. “Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game.”
“This has been going on for a very long time,” concurs former “Little House on the Prairie” star Alison Arngrim. “It was the gossip back in the ‘80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal.”
Arngrim, 49, was referring to Feldman and his co-star in “The Lost Boys,” Corey Haim, who died in March 2010 after years of drug abuse.
“I literally heard that they were ‘passed around,’” Arngrim said. “The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful – these were kids, they weren’t 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, ‘set guardians’ on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way.”
In fact it is the very nature of a TV or movie set that invites predators, experts tell Fox News.
“A set in Hollywood with children can become a place that attracts pedophiles because the children there may be vulnerable and less tended to,” explains Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman. “One thing we know about actors, psychologically speaking, is that they’re people who like a lot of attention. Kids naturally like a lot of attention, and when you put a kid on a set who is unsupervised and getting attention from someone who is powerful, it creates a vulnerability for a very dangerous situation.”
Feldman, who claims he was “surrounded” by pedophiles when he was 14, says the sexual abuse by an unnamed “Hollywood mogul” led to the death of his friend Haim at the age of 38. “That person needs to be exposed, but, unfortunately, I can’t be the one to do it,” Feldman told Nightline.
“There’s more than one person to blame,” says Arngrim. “I’m sure that it was not just one person who sexually abused Corey Haim, and I’m sure it wasn’t only him and Corey Feldman that knew about it. I’m sure that dozens of people were aware of the situation and chose to not report it.”
Arngrim, a board member and the national spokeswoman for protect.org, an organization that works to protect children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, says greed in Hollywood allows sexual predators to flourish. “Nobody wants to stop the gravy train,” says Arngrim. “If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let’s press charges’? No, because it’s going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks. So, the pressure is there is not to say anything.”
“It’s almost a willing sacrifice that many parents are oblivious to – what kind of environment do they think that they’re pushing their kid into?” said Peterson. “The casting couch is a real thing, and sometimes just getting an appointment makes people do desperate things.”
Arngrim, who revealed her own sexual abuse in her 2010 autobiography, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” explains: “I’ve heard from victims from all over the country. Everyone tells the same kind of story, everyone is told to keep it secret, everyone is threatened with something. Corey Feldman may have opened a can of worms by speaking out, but yes, this does go on.”
Even though Feldman spoke candidly about the abuse, he hasn’t named the predator. “People don’t want to talk about this because they’re afraid for their careers,” says Peterson. “From my perspective, what Corey did was pretty brave. It would be really wonderful if his allegations reached through all of the protective layers and identified the real people who are a part of a worldwide child pornography ring, because it’s huge and it respects no borders, just as it does not respect the age of the children involved.”
Cannabis may help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
In experiments, a marijuana-based medicine triggered the formation of new brain cells and cut inflammation linked to dementia.
The researchers say that using the information to create a pill suitable for people could help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
A medicine based on cannabis (right) could help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s
The incurable disease affects 400,000 Britons, with around 500 new cases diagnosed every day as people live longer.
For some sufferers, drugs can delay the progress of devastating symptoms such as memory loss and the erosion of ability to do everyday things such as washing.
However, there they do not work for everyone and, with the number of patients forecast to double in a generation, there is a desperate need for new treatments.
The US researchers studied the properties of a man-made drug based on THC, the chemical behind the ‘high’ of cannabis.
When elderly rats were given the drug for three weeks, it improved their memory, making it easier for them to find their way round a water maze, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference heard yesterday (WEDS).
Researcher Dr Yannick Marchalant said; ‘Old rats are not very good at that task. When we gave them the drug, it made them a little better at that task.’
Other experiments showed that the drug acts on parts of the brain involved in memory, appetite, pain and mood.
The Ohio State University experiments also showed that the drug cut inflammation in the brain and may trigger the production of new neurons or brain cells.
Researcher Professor Gary Wenk said: ‘When we’re young, we produce neurons and our memory works fine.
‘When we age, the process slows down, so we have a decrease in new cell formation through normal ageing.
‘You need these cells to come back and help form new memories and we found that this THC-like agent can influence the creation of these cells.’
Although the drug used was not suitable for use in people, the results could aid the creation of new medicines for Alzheimer’s.
It is likely such a drug would be taken to prevent the disease, rather than treat it.
Asked if those with a family history of Alzheimer’s should smoke cannabis to prevent them developing the disease, Dr Wenk said: ‘We’re not saying that but it might actually work.
‘What we are saying its that it appears that a safe, legal substance that mimics the important properties of marijuana can work on the brain to prevent memory impairments in ageing. So that’s really hopeful.’
Dr Marchalant added: ‘We hope a compound can be found that can target both inflammation and neurogenesis, which would be the most efficient way to produce the best effects.’
The medicinal properties of cannabis have already been harnessed to treat multiple sclerosis.
Sativex, a cannabis-based drug, has been shown to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, including pain, spasms, shaking, depression and anxiety.
The Alzheimer’s Society cautioned against using cannabis itself to stave off dementia.
Professor Clive Ballard, the charity’s director of research, said: ‘There are encouraging findings from studies with animals suggesting that some cannabis derivatives may help protect nerve cells in the brain.
‘We therefore look forward to robust clinical trials into potential benefits of non-psychoactive components of cannabis.
‘It is important for people to note that these treatments are not same as recreational cannabis use which can be potentially harmful.’
QUERETARO, Mexico — Of all the strange circumstances surrounding the violent abduction last year of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the Mexican power broker and former presidential candidate known here as “Boss Diego,” perhaps nothing was weirder than the mysterious tracking chip that the kidnappers allegedly cut from his body.
Lurid Mexican media accounts reported that an armed gang invaded Fernandez’s home, sliced open his arm with a pair of scissors and extracted a satellite-enabled tracking device, leaving the chip and a streak of blood behind.
Fernandez was freed seven months later with little explanation, but the gruesome details of his crude surgery have not dissuaded thousands of worried Mexicans from seeking out similar satellite and radio-frequency tracking products — including scientifically dubious chip implants — as abductions in the country soar.
According to a recent Mexican congressional report, kidnappings have jumped 317 percent in the past five years. More alarming, perhaps, is the finding that police officers or soldiers were involved in more than one-fifth of the crimes, contributing to widespread perceptions that authorities can’t be trusted to solve the crimes or recover missing loved ones.
Under-the-skin devices such as the one allegedly carved out of Boss Diego are selling here for thousands of dollars on the promise that they can help rescuers track down kidnapping victims. Xega, the Mexican company that sells the chips and performs the implants, says its sales have increased 40 percent in the past two years.
“Unfortunately, it’s been good for business but bad for the country,” said Xega executive Diego Kuri, referring to the kidnappings. “Thirty percent of our clients arrive after someone in their family has already experienced a kidnapping,” added Kuri,?interviewed at the company’s heavily fortified offices, opposite a tire shop in this industrial city 120 miles north of Mexico’s capital.
Xega calls it the VIP package. For $2,000 upfront and annual fees of $2,000, the company provides clients with a subdermal radio-frequency identification chip (RFID), essentially a small antenna in a tiny glass tube. The chip, inserted into the fatty tissue of the arm between the shoulder and elbow, is less than half an inch long and about as wide as a strand of boiled spaghetti.
The chip relays a signal to an external Global Positioning System unit the size of a cellphone, Kuri said, but if the owner is stripped of the GPS device in the event of an abduction, Xega can still track down its clients by sending radio signals to the implant. The company says it has helped rescue 178 clients in the past decade.
In recent years, all manner of Mexican media reports have featured the chips, with some estimating that as many as 10,000 people are walking around with the implants. Even former attorney general Rafael Macedo told reporters in 2004 that he had a chip embedded “so that I can be located at any moment wherever I am.”
That’s pure science fiction — a sham — say RIFD researchers and engineers in the United States. Any device that could communicate with satellites or even the local cellular network would need a battery and sizable antenna, like a cellphone, they say.
“It’s nonsense,” said Mark Corner, an RFID researcher and computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts.
The development of an RFID human implant that could work as a tracking device remains far off, said Justin Patton, managing director of the University of Arkansas RFID Research Center, which specializes in product and merchandise tracking for retail companies such as Wal-Mart.
“There’s no way in the world something that size can communicate with a satellite,” Patton said. “I have expensive systems with batteries on board, and even they can’t be read from a distance greater than a couple hundred meters, with no interference in the way.” Water is a major barrier for radio frequency, he added, and because the human body is mostly made up of water, it would dull the signal, as would metal, concrete and other solid materials.
Xega executives declined to respond to questions about the technical specifications of their products, citing security protocols. When pressed, Kuri acknowledged that a Xega implant would be essentially useless unless the client carried the GPS-enabled transmitter — meaning the chip might bring psychological security but little practical benefit for a rescue operation.
Several other Mexican companies also sell GPS-enabled tracking units with panic buttons, relying on more-proven forms of technology. The transmitters,?smaller than a cellphone, can fit on a key chain, and they work by communicating with cellular networks.
“Demand is huge right now,” said Guillermo Medina, director of Max4Systems, which sells the devices for $200, with a $20 basic monthly fee. “Our sales are increasing 20 to 25 percent every month.”
Limits to GPS devices
But researchers say the GPS devices also have limitations. Unlike a GPS-enabled cellphone, which sends a signal only when the user requests location coordinates, a GPS rescue device would have to emit a distress signal at regular intervals — every few minutes or so. That would quickly drain the battery.
And if the device is in an area with no reception — whether a cabin in the woods or the basement of a safe house — its signal can’t be detected.
Then there is the likelihood that kidnappers will dispose of the victim’s belongings soon after the abduction, including any GPS device. Companies have responded by creating GPS-enabled watches or fashion bracelets, which emit a distress signal to a monitoring station, in the hopes of duping kidnappers. “The technology is evolving fast,” said David Roman, Mexico sales manager for the company Globalstar.
Clients often inquire about the chip implants and the GPS units, said Armand Gadoury, managing director of Reston-based Clayton Consultants, a division of the security contracting firm Triple Canopy that has seen its Mexico caseload double since the start of 2010. Gadoury tells clients not to bother.
“The technology just isn’t there,” he said, adding that a fancy-looking tracking device can end up sending an unwanted signal to the criminals: that the person they have abducted has lots of money.
“If the expectation is that you’re going to hit a panic button and that law enforcement is going to mount a raid, then there will be zero planning,” he said. “And that’s even more dangerous for the victim.”
On May 29, Mexican federal police in four helicopters attacked a drug cartel in a mountain redoubt. They were rebuffed by heavy fire, including from a massive .50 caliber rifle.
A bullet hole left in one helicopter’s plate glass window is one exhibit in an exhaustive House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report released Tuesday showing the breadth of a high-stakes, unprecedented, and, ultimately, ill-advised US scheme called “Operation Fast and Furious.”
The .50 caliber bullet hole, the report says, likely came from a gun trafficked via Fast and Furious, an operation to allow nearly 2,000 arms to leave US gunshops via certain traffickers who the US government had identified and thought it could track. The idea was to trace these “straw buyers” to key cartel figures in an attempt to score major gun busts to prove the US was serious about stopping arms trafficking across the border.
Instead, the report alleges that the operation – which one US official has called “a perfect storm of idiocy” – likely allowed hundreds of powerful guns to cross into Mexico, possibly changing the outcome of cartel battles with Mexican police, leading to the deaths of many Mexicans and one federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and damaging diplomatic relations between the US and Mexico.
The Fast and Furious scandal is still playing out, with hearings in the House Oversight Committee Tuesday. Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California says he is intent on finding out how high in the Obama administration knowledge of the operation went.
The report, “Fueling Cartel Violence,” backs reports that leaders in the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were aware of the operation. But it also names several key Department of Justice officials, such as Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, as “clearly” being aware of the operation – a charge that the Obama administration denies.
According to whistleblowers and key witnesses, however, the real lesson behind Fast and Furious, a two-year operation that ended in January 2011, is how “groupthink” clouded decision-making at the highest levels of government, causing an agency to go against its basic instincts – which is to not allow arms to be trafficked illegally – and consequently contribute, not detract, from border violence.
“These guns weren’t going for a positive cause, they were going for a negative cause,” ATF attaché Carlos Canino told the congressional oversight committee. “The ATF armed the [Sinaloa] cartel. It’s disgusting.”
Despite repeated pushback from some agents and the attaché office in Mexico City, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson assessed it as “a good operation,” the report says. According to witnesses, Assistant Attorney General Breuer appeared to cite Fast and Furious in meetings with Mexican officials, saying the US had a major gun-interdiction effort underway out of Phoenix, the report adds.
Where the guns went
The plan was to trace the guns through straw buyers to major cartels, to then build cases and make arrests. But early on, it became evident that tracking the guns had become a problem and that hundreds had made their way across the border and disappeared into cartel gun caches. According to the report, Fast and Furious guns made their way to three prominent Mexican cartels: Sinaloa, El Teo and La Familia.
Those within ATF who raised concerns about the fundamental flaw in the strategy were rebuffed or simply kept in the dark, Daniel Kumor, the ATF’s international affairs chief, told congressional investigators.
At least one witness cited in the report contended knowledge of the tactics in Fast and Furious was widespread in ATF and Justice: “It was common knowledge that they were going down there to be crime guns.”
The report names main Justice Department trial attorney Joe Cooley as saying the movement of vast numbers of guns to Mexico was “an acceptable practice.” Mr. Cooley was Breuer’s main contact with Fast and Furious, according to the report.
The Justice Department has maintained that it never knowingly allowed guns to “walk” to Mexico.
In the report, at least one higher-up fought back against accusations that field officers and ATF attachés in Mexico were raising concerns about the program. Asked if his reports raised concerns about the operation, Bill McMahon, deputy field operations director for ATF, told Congress: “Not that I can remember.”
So far, nobody at the Justice Department has publicly acknowledged a role in the case, and President Obama has said neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder knew anything about it until the story broke after the murder of Brian Terry in a Sonora, Ariz., gun battle in December 2010. President Obama has ordered the Justice Department inspector general to investigate.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department fought back against the report’s characterizations of Breuer’s involvement.
“The Committee’s report promotes unsubstantiated theories by selectively releasing excerpts of transcripts while ignoring testimony and other information,” writes spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler in an e-mail. “For whatever reason, the leadership of the Committee chose not to release witness testimony that makes clear that operational details relating to this investigation were unknown to senior Department of Justice officials.”
In previous testimony, Acting Director Melson, said the strategy was not “intended to allow the guns to go to suspected straw purchasers without any good faith belief that you could recover those weapons.”
But he also suggested that the field agents had wide latitude. The agents, not the supervisors, “do the tactical stuff,” Melson said. ATF Acting Deputy Director William Hoover added in his testimony that there was no reason for Justice officials to be aware of the tactics, “because I certainly didn’t brief them on the techniques being employed in Fast and Furious.”
The fallout from the operation has taken its toll on lives and diplomatic relations, say congressional investigators.
In October, 2010, cartel members kidnapped Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, the brother of Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. A few days later, police found Mr. Rodriguez’s body in a shallow grave. Shortly thereafter, police engaged cartel members in a gun fight, from which several guns were recovered. Two were traced to Operation Fast and Furious.
When Mr. Canino confronted other ATF officials about the need to inform the Mexican government about the link, he says he got “zero instructions,” and that “every time I mentioned it, guys started looking at their cellphones, silence in the room.”
Eight months after the murder, Canino finally told Mexican Attorney General Maricela Morales about the link. “Hijole” (oh my), she said.
Seen any walnuts in your medicine cabinet lately? According to the Food and Drug Administration, that is precisely where you should find them. Because Diamond Foods made truthful claims about the health benefits of consuming walnuts that the FDA didn’t approve, it sent the company a letter declaring, “Your walnut products are drugs” — and “new drugs” at that — and, therefore, “they may not legally be marketed … in the United States without an approved new drug application.” The agency even threatened Diamond with “seizure” if it failed to comply.
Diamond’s transgression was to make “financial investments to educate the public and supply them with walnuts,” as William Faloon of Life Extension magazine put it. On its website and packaging, the company stated that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been shown to have certain health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. These claims, Faloon notes, are well supported by scientific research: “Life Extension has published 57 articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts”; and “The US National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.”
This evidence was apparently not good enough for the FDA, which told Diamond that its walnuts were “misbranded” because the “product bears health claims that are not authorized by the FDA.”
The FDA’s letter continues: “We have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.” Furthermore, the products are also “misbranded” because they “are offered for conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners; therefore, adequate directions for use cannot be written so that a layperson can use these drugs safely for their intended purposes.” Who knew you had to have directions to eat walnuts?
“The FDA’s language,” Faloon writes, “resembles that of an out-of-control police state where tyranny [reigns] over rationality.” He adds:
This kind of bureaucratic tyranny sends a strong signal to the food industry not to innovate in a way that informs the public about foods that protect against disease. While consumers increasingly reach for healthier dietary choices, the federal government wants to deny food companies the ability to convey findings from scientific studies about their products.
Walnuts aren’t the only food whose health benefits the FDA has tried to suppress. Producers of pomegranate juice and green tea, among others, have felt the bureaucrats’ wrath whenever they have suggested that their products are good for people.
Meanwhile, Faloon points out, foods that have little to no redeeming value are advertised endlessly, often with dubious health claims attached. For example, Frito-Lay is permitted to make all kinds of claims about its fat-laden, fried products, including that Lay’s potato chips are “heart healthy.” Faloon concludes that “the FDA obviously does not want the public to discover that they can reduce their risk of age-related disease by consuming healthy foods. They prefer consumers only learn about mass-marketed garbage foods that shorten life span by increasing degenerative disease risk.”
Faloon thinks he knows why this is the case. First, by stifling competition from makers of more healthful alternatives, junk food manufacturers, who he says “heavily lobb[y]” the federal government for favorable treatment, will rake in ever greater profits. Second, by making it less likely that Americans will consume healthful foods, big pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers stand to gain by selling more “expensive cardiac drugs, stents, and coronary bypass procedures” to those made ill by their diets.
But people are starting to fight back against the FDA’s tactics. “The makers of pomegranate juice, for example, have sued the FTC for censoring their First Amendment right to communicate scientific information to the public,” Faloon reports. Congress is also getting into the act with a bill, the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364), that, Faloon writes, “protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public.”
Of course, if the Constitution were being followed as intended, none of this would be necessary. The FDA would not exist; but if it did, as a creation of Congress it would have no power to censor any speech whatsoever. If companies are making false claims about their products, the market will quickly punish them for it, and genuine fraud can be handled through the courts. In the absence of a government agency supposedly guaranteeing the safety of their food and drugs and the truthfulness of producers’ claims, consumers would become more discerning, as indeed they already are becoming despite the FDA’s attempts to prevent the dissemination of scientific research. Besides, as Faloon observed, “If anyone still thinks that federal agencies like the FDA protect the public, this proclamation that healthy foods are illegal drugs exposes the government’s sordid charade.”
(CNN) — Saying it is “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.
“It’s the right thing for taxpayers,” Scott said after signing the measure. “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs.”
Under the law, which takes effect on July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will be required to conduct the drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, which they would recoup in their assistance if they qualify. Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.
Shortly after the bill was signed, five Democrats from the state’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement attacking the legislation, one calling it “downright unconstitutional.”
“Governor Scott’s new drug testing law is not only an affront to families in need and detrimental to our nation’s ongoing economic recovery, it is downright unconstitutional,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings. “If Governor Scott wants to drug test recipients of TANF benefits, where does he draw the line? Are families receiving Medicaid, state emergency relief, or educational grants and loans next?”
Rep. Corrine Brown said the tests “represent an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy.”
“Indeed, investigating people when there is probable cause to suspect they are abusing drugs is one thing,” Brown said in the joint statement. “But these tests amount to strip searching our state’s most vulnerable residents merely because they rely on the government for financial support during these difficult economic times.”
Joining in the statement denouncing the measure were Democratic Reps. Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch and Frederica Wilson.
Controversy over the measure was heightened by Scott’s past association with a company he co-founded that operates walk-in urgent care clinics in Florida and counts drug screening among the services it provides.
In April, Scott, who had transferred his ownership interest in Solantic Corp. to a trust in his wife’s name, said the company would not contract for state business, according to local media reports. He subsequently sold his majority stake in the company, local media reported.
On May 18, the Florida Ethics Commission ruled that two conflict-of-interest complaints against Scott were legally insufficient to warrant investigation, and adopted an opinion that no “prohibited conflict of interest” existed.
Also on Tuesday, Scott also signed a measure outlawing hallucinogenic designer drugs known as “bath salts.”
“The chemical substances found in ‘bath salts’ constitute a significant threat to health and public safety,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Poison control centers in Florida have reported 61 calls of ‘bath salts’ abuse, making Florida the state with the second-highest volume of calls.”
The drugs “are readily available at convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, and truck stops, among other locations,” the governor’s office said
The United Nations plans to launch several programs aimed at fighting drug trafficking in Afghanistan and neighboring states by the end of 2011, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday.
“Central Asian states, including Kyrgyzstan, remain a large trafficking hub for Afghan drugs,” Yury Fedotov told journalists during a visit to the he
adquarters of the newly established State Drug Control Service in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.
“We are planning to launch new regional anti-drug programs in Afghanistan and neighboring countries by the end of the year,” he said.
Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was ousted as Kyrgyzstan’s president during a popular uprising in April 2010, dissolved the country’s Drug Control Agency in October 2009, handing over its functions to the interior and health ministries.
The new Kyrgyz authorities made a decision to restore the anti-drug watchdog after Bakiyev’s ouster. The United Nations is planning to spend more than $3 million to support the agency, Fedotov said.
Afghan drug production increased dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001, and Russia has been one of the most affected countries, with heroin consumption rising steeply.
About 90 percent of heroin consumed in Russia is smuggled from Afghanistan via former Soviet republics, including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Around 30,000 Russians die from heroin abuse every year.
Russia has criticized the U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan for not doing enough to curb drug trafficking, particularly for refusing to destroy opium poppy fields. Opium production is a major source of income for Afghanistan’s impoverished rural population, as well as for Taliban militants.
BISHKEK, April 25 (RIA Novosti)
Interesting article. Unfortunatelbring int he drugs.