The ‘fire and fury’ of US President Donald Trump has translated into many memorable phrases that have baffled, amused or infuriated observers. RT looks at the top quotes from the first year of his presidency. January 2017: ‘You are fake news’ Trump had famously sparred with the media throughout his campaign. He reserved his ire […]
When I was conceived, a dark voice whispered to my parents: “Kill him!” They seriously considered aborting me, and prevent me from ever seeing the daylight.
My mother however also heard a different whisper. “Don’t kill your baby… Let him live!” She ultimately decided to listen to the second voice, and successfully gave birth to me. While she held me in her arms, she heard a beautiful, warm voice tell her:
“Give this baby a lot of love, because I love him a lot.”
During my life there were continuous attempts to take me out, and prevent me from fulfilling the reason why I had to be born. I was for example almost killed, during several accidents.
Once a car hit me so hard, I flew through the air, but a bystander leaped forward, and caught my head before it crashed on the concrete.
As a teenager I had an existential crisis, and felt a strong push to commit suicide. During the middle of the night, while sitting near a canal with the razor at my wrist, I heard a voice: “Don’t do it. God has a plan with you.” I was puzzled. “God? What the heck…” I had ran away from this Reality for years, and couldn’t believe I heard this. But I hopped on my bike, and paddled away.
Once I was poisoned at a hospital, which caused severe atrial fibrillation, and arrhythmia. The doctor said there was no hope for me. My youngest son threw himself on my hospital bed, and prayed for a miracle. A half hour later another doctor walked in, shocked me with a defibrillator, and I walked out the door, totally fine.
On another occasion somebody pushed me off a 40 feet chute, and I landed right on my head. I should have been dead.
A final example happened while driving during an insane rush hour, at night. Cars were racing way too fast, during rush hour, on a four lane highway, and I had no choice but to keep up. Suddenly the driver right in front of me hit his brakes like a mad man, and started swerving violently. There was no reason for this erratic behavior, and death stared me in the eyes.
In a split second it felt as if my steering wheel was taken over, and I observed in total amazement how my car swiftly swirled through the countless racing vehicles that surrounded me, and in less than two seconds I found myself on the breakdown lane. My entire body was shaking, my heart raced, and I blankly stared ahead of me, trying to understand what had just happened.
One moment I was headed for a lethal collision, and in the blink of an eye I was out of the crazy gridlock, in safety.
These are just a few examples of the many attacks I survived. I believe I am still around, thanks to the intervention of One who truly cares about all of us, even though many of us may not even be willing to acknowledge His presence.
I am still alive to tell you something
Through the years I began to understand I am alive for a reason. There is a message that has been placed inside of me, and it’s a burning fire that I cannot contain. This is the message:
There is hope. There is a future. There is more than just darkness. There is a world so much more beautiful, and powerful than the deep dungeons of darkness.
We can be intimidated by the tremendous power evil seems to have over our world. But one thing was shown to me, in a crystal clear way: the wicked have no authority. All they have is deception. Read this again, as it is a universal, timeless, and unchangeable basic reality: the wicked have no authority. All they have is deception. Their rule is entirely based on lies, that keep humanity in their grip. Once their lies are broken, they have NOTHING. Nothing at all.
The Creator did NOT appoint, or anoint the wicked to rule on earth. They have no mandate, no divine blessing, no crown, and no scepter. They are entirely illegitimate. The sole reason they have so much power, is because of their sophisticated deceptions that blind, and control mankind.
But there is good news: once we, the good people, are liberated from the many deceptions in our mind, we will rise up, and see that our adversaries are way below us, and not above us. It are the pure hearted people, who chose love and goodness, who have the blessing to rule on earth, with kindness, wisdom, justice, and truth.
Once the rightful rulers arise, it’s game over for the wicked.
That’s why the evil ones have focussed all their activities on suppressing, blinding, deceiving, and controlling the good people. It’s also why the wicked are terrified of truth coming out. They know that when their system of deception comes down, the rightful rulers will arise.
This is why we have to do every and all effort in our ability to support the worldwide spreading of truth. It’s not just to prevent tyranny. It’s to awaken, liberate, empower, and activate the children of the Light who are born to bring heaven on earth, and expel hell.
Strategic brainwashing of humanity
One of the ways the wicked have been strategically brainwashing us, the past decades, is to reject our loving Creator. None of us chose to do this. The reason we reject a personal Origin of love, is because our minds have been controlled by our perverted culture, media and education.
They don’t care if we believe in some abstract, impersonal, vague energy, universe, aliens, or whatever misty “spirituality” that still leaves us all alone, grasping for answers, and help. What they are terrified of, is when people truly come home, and are healed, restored, and empowered by the true Maker of heaven and earth.
Their activities have been focussed on removing this from human society worldwide.
Fifty years ago the understanding that there is One who made this world, was as basic as 1, 2, 3. Even in some early Disney movies, the actors in the film kneel down, and pray for help. You can see this for example in “Journey to the Center of the earth”. The adventurous heroes ask the Almighty for help, before they enter the depths of the earth. It was normal. The mass rejection of the Origin of all that is good, is a recent phenomenon, that gained traction as radio and TV was used to brainwash the world population to move away from what every human knows deep down to be true.
I invite you to step out of the mind programming, and return to the Giver of everything we long for: love, truth, healing, wholeness, harmony, joy, peace, honesty, and so much more. This dimension is so much more beautiful than we can even begin to imagine, and it’s what the current rulers of the world are terrified of.
They worship the realms of cruelty, oppression, abuse, greed, terror, deception and destruction. But they know the Light is much more powerful than their darkness. That’s why they have focussed on blinding us for it.
If we live disconnected, confused, wandering about without direction, purpose or identity, they can rule over us.
The utter insanity we have been injected with, is the idea that this is “religion”. But is friendship, truth, love, goodness, and healing religion? Of course not. Step away from this mad mindset that everything we long for is somehow “religious”. Wake up in the reality that we were made as personal individuals, by One who is the most beautiful Personal Individual there is, waiting for us to finally find our way back home.
Easy Money Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) officials recently discussed how to deal with the next approaching market collapse and hide alarming data from depositors to prevent bank runs, video of a meeting shows. November 2022 meeting shows financial regulators plot how to hide alarming market signals from depositors to prevent a bank-run panic. “The […]
Originally posted on Truth2Freedom’s Blog: For almost a year now, we have been dutifully tracking several key datasets within the auto sector to find the critical inflection point in this perhaps most leading of economic indicators which will presage not only a crushing auto loan crisis, but also signal the arrival of a…
‘Reckless’: McDonald’s, Walmart, Taco Bell Fueling Antibiotic Resistance Crisis
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reveal an increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork. An investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian names retailers and restaurant chains sourcing beef containing harmful antibiotics.
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveal a significant increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork for human consumption.
The FDA report also follows the release of a joint investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and The Guardian revealing that several major retailers and restaurant chains — including McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Walmart — are sourcing beef that originates from farms using a specific category of antibiotics linked to impacts on human health and the spread of “superbugs.”
TBIJ’s investigation, published Nov. 21, drew from “unpublished U.S. government records,” revealing that beef produced for meat packing firms such as Cargill, Green Bay and JBS came from industrial farms using antibiotics categorized as the “highest-priority critically important” (HP-CIA) to human health.
The FDA report revealed that, despite an overall 1% decrease in antibiotic sales to the livestock industry in 2021 as compared to 2020, there were increases in antibiotic sales for use in the production of chicken (12%), pork (3%) and beef (1%).
Coupled with data showing that in 2021, chicken and pork production actually decreased compared to 2020, the results show “more antibiotics were sold for use in fewer animals,” according to Civil Eats and data from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“The reckless overuse of medically important antibiotics on factory farms is a major contributor to this deadly public health threat,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) who has advocated for stricter controls on how antibiotics can be used in food production, according to The Guardian.
“Giant agribusinesses have built a system that is dependent on this misuse of antibiotics to maximise their profits, with no regard to the serious harm they are causing.”
In interviews with The Defender, a number of scientists, doctors and nonprofit advocacy groups that monitor the use of antibiotics in cattle and livestock commented on the FDA and TBIJ reports and the implications for human health of allowing the widespread use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
CDC: 35,000 deaths annually in U.S. caused by antibiotic resistance
According to TBIJ’s report, the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in the environment represents a “huge public health challenge,” yet “many U.S. cattle farmers still routinely use antibiotics” on their food animals, “often for months on end.”
TBIJ’s report states:
“The drugs have historically been used in industrial farming to prevent diseases from spreading. But their use — and overuse — enables bacteria to develop resistance, meaning the drugs stop working.”
Katie Amos, director of communications and outreach with A Greener World, said the routine overuse of antibiotics provides the ideal conditions for bacteria to mutate and become resistant to their effects.
“The threat to human health that we are facing is the rise of bacteria that have survived this constant exposure and are now resistant to antibiotics, leading to a situation where we can no longer treat many common diseases,” Amos said.
“The link between antibiotic abuse in intensive livestock farming to the dramatic rise in life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a global health threat that demands our immediate attention,” Amos added.
“Antibiotic residues in meat … are not the main way that farm antibiotic use contributes to resistance in human infections. The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on, or in, meat or dairy contributes a lot more.
“There is no reliable estimate of how much farm antibiotic use contributes to the resistance problem in human medicine, as the problem of tracing the resistance is very complicated since bacteria can pass resistance genes between each other through a mechanism called horizontal gene transfer.”
HP-CIAs ‘widespread’ in U.S. beef supply chains, according to TBIJ investigation
TBIJ’s investigation found that “residues of numerous HP-CIAs and other antibiotics were present in many of the US’s beef supply chains between 2017 and 2022,” according to tests by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
According to TBIJ, among 10 of the biggest meat packers:
“All had at least one HP-CIA in use on farms supplying their abattoirs. Several were found to have as many as seven separate HP-CIAs in use.
“Cattle farms selling to JBS, which has sold beef to Wendy’s, Walmart and Taco Bell, were found to have used seven HP-CIAs. Farms serving Green Bay Dressed Beef, which has supplied the Kroger supermarket chain, also had seven in use.
“Cattle suppliers to Cargill, which sells beef to McDonald’s, were found to have at least five HP-CIAs in use.”
Richard Young, chief scientific advisor for the U.K.’s Sustainable Food Trust, told The Defender there are two reasons HP-CIAs are so popular in the animal agriculture industry.
“These are generally the most modern antibiotics available, as such they are currently highly effective against many infections in farm animals,” Young said. “But some of the antibiotics, for example, ceftiofur … have very short withdrawal periods, zero days in milk. As a result, the cow can be treated while the milk all still goes for human consumption.”
Dr. Dimitri Drekonja, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School, highlighted their effectiveness, ease of use and other ancillary benefits of HP-CIAs. “The high-priority antibiotics are generally more active against a broad range of bacteria, so if you want to kill bacteria, whether for disease prevention because of an exposure, or treating a sick animal, they are appealing.”
“And for reasons we never have really understood, receipt of antibiotics in farm animals results in more weight gain. If your business is raising as many pounds of meat as possible for your input, giving antibiotics is attractive. Use of antibiotics to ‘prevent’ disease allows more crowded conditions and other cheaper ways to farm.”
Amos told The Defender that the “routine antibiotic use in industrial farming systems — often to animals who are not sick — maximizes production of meat, milk or eggs by improving feed efficiency and suppressing diseases that would otherwise spread like wildfire in the confined, unsanitary, and stressful conditions typical of intensive livestock operations.”
The greatest volume of HP-CIAs, like most medically important antibiotics, are used in cattle and pigs,” according to Steven Roach, head of Keep Antibiotics Working.
“Much of the use in cattle is to prevent liver abscesses in feedlot cattle caused by inappropriate high energy diets,” he said, adding:
“Most of the [usage] in cattle is to prevent respiratory disease caused by moving calves off pasture and shipping them to feedlots, which makes them susceptible to respiratory disease. In pigs, a lot of the use is to prevent diarrhea and respiratory disease caused by unhealthy conditions in pig farms.”
TBIJ’s investigation noted, however, that other categories of antibiotics aside from HP-CIAs are used and have been found in beef products. Young provided background into some of these antibiotics — some of which are harmful to human health — telling The Defender:
“One antibiotic used in intensive pork production in the U.S. is a suspected carcinogen at the levels sometimes found in pork. It is called ‘carbadox’ [and] sold as Mecadox. This was banned in Europe in 1999. Consumers should demand that the industry stops using it and refuse to buy pork or bacon or ham until it does.
“Carbadox is a suspected carcinogen which is why it was banned throughout the EU in 1999. Tetracycline, on the other hand, an antibiotic widely used on U.S. farms has very low toxicity. Even if you had a thousand times the recommended safe amount, it would not have any toxic effects.”
Cargill, Taco Bell, McDonald’s defend use of antibiotics
Companies identified in TBIJ’s report defended their practices. Cargill stated:
“Judicious use of antibiotics prevents sick animals from entering the food supply, and ensures that animals do not unnecessarily suffer from disease.
“While we support the responsible use of human antibiotics in food production, we are committed not to use antibiotics that are critically important for human medicines as defined by the World Health Organization.”
Taco Bell claimed that it updated its fresh beef standards in 2019 “to require its US and Canada suppliers to restrict antibiotics important to human health in [the] beef supply chain by 25% by 2025.”
McDonald’s referred to its online statement on antibiotics, claiming the company will “establish market-appropriate targets for use of medically important antibiotics — as defined by the WHO.”
But Laura Rogers, deputy director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, told The Defender that while “McDonald’s had made an announcement that it would be reducing antibiotics in its beef supply,” it “has not yet followed through with any meaningful action.”
In fact, many companies have not fulfilled similar pledges, said Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and public health consultant.
“The companies pledged to purchase more meat from animals that were given fewer, or no, antibiotics. The timing and amount varies by company, but several companies have let those pledges lapse without implementation.”
Most corporate pledges have come from chicken producers, Roach said.
“This has led to much of the chicken raised for meat in the U.S. not receiving antibiotics. Subway, Taco Bell and McDonald’s have made commitments on other meats but have not made progress on implementing them.”
“McDonald’s this year walked back a commitment made in 2018 to reduce use of antibiotics in its global meat supply. McDonald’s has changed its commitment to reduce use [and] to use antibiotics responsibly, which is much more difficult to measure and will not reduce resistance if it does not lead to reductions in use.”
Hansen highlighted “real progress” that has been made in the chicken industry, due to public demand: “There has been real progress in the chicken industry over the past 10 years to decrease the antibiotic use in that industry, partly as a result of consumer demand.”
“Raising cattle and the beef industry have a different set of issues to work through,” she added, “but I am convinced that significantly decreasing antibiotic use in beef cattle without sacrificing animal welfare — and without significantly raising costs to producers and consumers — can be accomplished if there is the political will and economic incentive to do so.”
‘Drug-resistant salmonella rise dramatically when poultry farmers use antibiotics to raise their flocks’
There are many examples of “pathogenic resistant bacteria infecting humans that have acquired at least some of their resistance from farm antibiotic use,” Nunan told The Defender.
“The extent to which farm antibiotic use has contributed to resistance in these pathogens,” said Nunan, “depends on the bacteria in question. It has contributed a lot in the case of campylobacter and salmonella, but less in the case of the other pathogens.”
Roach highlighted salmonella and campylobacter as particular threats. He said:
“CDC considers resistant salmonella and campylobacter as serious public health threats. Multidrug-resistant E. coli and MRSA are other examples of superbugs that threaten lives.
Young told The Defender that while extended spectrum beta-lactamase E. coli live harmlessly in the human gut, other strains of E. coli can transfer resistance genes to them.
“Community-acquired MRSA appears to come from farm animals, especially pigs via pork,” Young said, while “antibiotic resistance in campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli food poisoning can come from the use of antibiotics on farms.”
Other experts identified additional types of bacteria that can evolve into superbugs.
“Methicillin-resistant staph aureus strains resistant to tetracyclines have been linked to farms using tetracycline to raise swine,” Drekonja said, while “drug-resistant salmonella rise dramatically when poultry farmers use antibiotics to raise their flocks, and fall when antibiotics are removed.”
Jan Kluytmans, Ph.D, professor of medical microbiology at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, described carbapenemase-producing bacteria as those that are “most feared,” noting they are included on the WHO priority list of resistant bugs.
Even if foods contain no antibiotic residues, the bacteria they naturally contain can still pass resistance on to humans, Young said.
“Essentially, the antibiotics kill off the bacteria that are sensitive to it, but because bacteria multiply so rapidly — E. coli can double in number every 20 minutes, salmonella every 30 minutes — a few of them can be naturally resistant to it.”
“Once the opposition has been killed off,” Young added, “the resistant ones soon create a population where they are all resistant.”
Peter Collignon, Ph.D., an infectious disease physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in Australia, explained that it is such resistance, along with poor farming practices, that can give rise to superbugs.
“It is clear that ‘superbugs,’ or resistant bacteria, can spread to people from food animals … and from water contaminated with these resistant bacteria. Examples include bacteria such as campylobacter, salmonellae, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and enterococcus,” Collignon said.
‘Final nail in the coffin’ of FDA’s failure to regulate
David Wallinga, senior health officer with the NRDC, told Civil Eats the latest data are “just another nail in the coffin of a failed FDA approach to stewardship of antibiotics in the livestock sector.”
According to TBIJ, “Until 2017, antibiotics were added to animal feed to fatten up livestock. After the FDA announced a ban on the practice, the sale of antibiotics for use in agriculture dropped by a third.”
However, sales have since “leveled off,” as “farmers can still routinely use antibiotics to prevent disease, so long as they have a prescription from a vet.”
According to Roach, FDA regulations are insufficient and fall short of WHO recommendations. In reference to the FDA, he told The Defender:
“In 2003, they began requiring antibiotics to be reviewed prior to approval to determine if they are safe with respect to resistance. What they did not do was require antibiotics that were already approved to go under review and the bulk of the drugs now marketed were first approved before 2003.
“In addition, FDA rules are much less restrictive than what is recommended by the World Health Organization allowing almost any drug to be used in individual animals by injection.”
According to Hansen, for most farmers, obtaining antibiotics is as simple as getting a prescription from a veterinarian:
“As long as the antibiotics are used as directed on the label, there are no other regulations. Usually that means a veterinarian has prescribed the antibiotic.
“There are a few antibiotics that are not allowed to be used in animals raised for food, and veterinarians cannot prescribe antibiotics to be used ‘off label’ in animals raised for food — ‘off label; means that FDA has not approved the specific use for an antibiotic.”
“In many countries where antibiotic growth promotion is banned and antibiotic use is under veterinary prescription, antibiotics can still be added to animal feed or drinking water for disease prevention. This is the case for the U.S. and the U.K. In those countries it is legal for a vet to prescribe antibiotics for groups of animals preventatively, under certain conditions.
“Sometimes this differs very little from growth promotion as some of the same antibiotics that were licensed for growth promotion are permitted for preventative group treatments.”
Unlike the U.S., Nunan said, “Any form of routine antibiotic use is no longer legal in the EU since 28 January 2022, nor is using antibiotics to compensate for poor hygiene, inadequate animal husbandry or lack of care or poor farm management.”
“Antibiotics can still be used to treat groups of animals,” he added, “but a vet must diagnose disease within the animals and the disease must be sufficiently serious to justify antibiotic use.”
While TBIJ’s investigative piece noted that antibiotics can no longer be added to cattle feed in the U.S., this is not fully accurate, according to Nunan. “Antibiotics can still be added to cattle feed. … It is just that they are no longer permitted for growth promotion in some countries like the U.K., U.S. and EU.”
“Antibiotics are still added to cattle feed through a mechanism known as the ‘Veterinary Feed Directive’ (VFD). The veterinarian writes a ‘prescription’ for antibiotics to be added to the feed of several animals for a specific amount of time to prevent, control or treat disease.”
TBIJ investigation findings ‘alarming but not surprising’
Experts told The Defender they weren’t surprised by TBIJ’s findings.
“When the FDA disallowed the usage of antibiotics for growth promotion, we all expected to see a reduction in use,” Drekonja said. “But we also knew that lots of ‘preventative’ use could be done that looked very similar in terms of drugs used [and] doses used for growth promotion.”
So, the leveling off after the initial drop is “not too surprising,” Drekonja said.
The “preventative” use described by Drekonja refers to the common practice of preemptively administering antibiotics to cattle and livestock to prevent illness in the animals and the potential outbreaks of diseases on the farms.
“Responsible companies should only be allowing their suppliers to use antibiotics exceptionally, and not for routine disease prevention,” Nunan said, adding:
“Using antibiotics preventatively for groups of animals should not be called therapeutic use, since it is only done for productivity purposes and to compensate for poor husbandry and hygiene. It should not be allowed by these companies or by governments.”
Young connected the “preventative” use of antibiotics in food animals to the unsanitary conditions on industrial factory farms.
Young told The Defender:
“The fundamental problem is that the way most animals are raised in the U.S. and many other countries, means that they can only be prevented from becoming sick by daily doses of antibiotics.
“It’s no good telling farmers they have to use less antibiotics. There is a vicious circle here that involves everyone: consumers, multiple retailers, vets and farmers.
“The only way to break this cycle is for us to eat less meat overall, better quality meat, meat produced in less intensive and more natural ways, and yes that does mean more expensive meat. But if we factor in the negative impacts on human health and the environment this is by far the cheaper option overall.”
SHARE LOST PET JAPATUL’S RULE OF ENDEAVOR – Labrador Retriever Dog COLOR/MARKINGS Yellow (very light) GENDER & AGE Male | 2 YEARS MICROCHIP ID 956000013487317 COLLAR TAG ID SS21430501 REPORTED LOST 11/28/22
SHARE LOST PETJAPATUL’S RULE OF ENDEAVOR – Labrador Retriever Dog COLOR/MARKINGS Yellow (very light) GENDER & AGE Male | 2 YEARS MICROCHIP ID 956000013487317 COLLAR TAG ID SS21430501 REPORTED LOST 11/28/22
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Timbersays: October 14, 2022 at 11:17 am blinded by lazyness: Lemmings follow the Pyd Piper by words of Lies. Many accept lies as okay. Doesn’t noticeably affect the “me” I care not. interesting mind set, severe accident awaiting to happen. Over years of self view, Birds are gone many many magiratory fowl gone, All Pine Series of Tree’s FLASHED-DEAD. Own property Trees in of 16 acre dying breaking apart like pencil, “Melting at ground life lines or knuckle branching points of some large Branch. Dissolving wood. How does a 10” healthy tree break like being smashed 3 ft above ground. Residue as mention on Cedar decking, hard scrubbing reveals the sludge. Tree branches laden with winter snow turning black. Winds shaking pine needles off their pod. Full Trees De-Barked and rest around seem normal. how can one say Wake Up PPL. Till the truck drives over your head it will be a notice. The Effects if thinking will not bother me won’t affect me by any means. “Trust the Knowledge all Posted with extreme hard work to try and help all see the value in Truth BY THIS WEBSITE. The Dimming Although didn’t mention reproduction affects. It too as in all eco-system parts are all affected and being nuttered. Wild Berries are not as they use to flourish on a morning pick. Any time of day. I feed Deer with Corn- They come in running and savage their intake over hungry. They have no supporting food. So so Sad. So won’t affect the me of thought. Oh It will at a more promise time of thinking your invisible. No One Is or Are Safe under these Environment Acid Washings – Daily bombing sorties here in mid Ontario Canada. Daily soup of OverCast and Rain Like a Lake Falls out of the Sky. Reaps and Rapes the Ground Soils. Dropping the all Trees Lifes Lines at Bark to Tree Base to Ground levels. Roots of many exposed. Say no more. Wake Up Please be a thought – drop the TV, stupid phone from grasp, and use your GOD Given Sense try and look outside the box and Over top your Psychological Implants the “media” has placed in your consciousness. See what is happening to your world and think how are, to how long you “Might Continue” to live under these terrible life sucking conditions. We’re pretty much at that Expired Atmosphere able to support life. (yes its almost that critical a level) yet – oh it doesn’t bother me its just jet vapor trail. Odd then how come some commercial planes etc have Zero Trail. Challenge to the mind on that.. Answer by your own self awareness. Just look up for some moments. Wait for the Real Clear Skies and observe the Trails then. They run acid drops daily and your not paying attention. Checker boarding wait within 4-6 hrs for the next Weather Trauma! In your Face. Its been there already long time. Yet the Trees for the Forest are no longer the Forest for the Trees.
Fountain Pens. You remember them? That cartridge that you had to put into the pen, always leaked and got all over your clothes, and ink was one of the hardest things to get out of fabric. Messy!
I hadn’t thought about that for years, that when I was a kid, they didn’t have gel pens, or ball point pens, we had fountain pens with replacement cartridges. They wrote really nice, but were messy as hell.
Strange the things you think about when working in the middle of the night.
A handwriting expert several years ago told us about when the first ball point pens came out. We were wanting to prove that Georgia Power had forged the easement documents they claimed gave them an easement on our property. When the man saw the signatures, he laughed, and explained what was so funny. They didn’t have ball point pens in 1937 and 1941, the dates on the forged documents. They only had fountain pens back then. That was proof of the forgery. Judge Cynthia Becker at DeKalb County Superior Court in Georgia, who ruled on the case, was not amused, and ruled that GA Power did have an easement. She didn’t care that there weren’t ball point pens until the mid 60s, and even then only rich people and astronauts had them.
Good Ole DeKalb County GA Superior Court Judges, don’t give a damn about anything except who lines their pockets. Justice has no meaning, and didn’t back when we sued GA Power and lost because of her.
The thing was we were supposed to have a hearing at 9:30 AM, and she said we didn’t show up, but if you looked at the Order, it was written, signed and entered at 9:13 AM that same morning. Seventeen minutes before the hearing was going to start, she had already given an Order saying we did not appear at the hearing.
In April 2006, a massive storm damaged hundreds of homes in Indiana, with hailstones the size of baseballs smashing roof shingles, cracking windows, denting cars, and leaving a mountain of costly insurance claims in its wake.
Joe Radcliff, a contractor working in Indiana, started noticing that homeowners with State Farm insurance were having a particularly hard time getting their repairs paid for.
He was hardly the only one crying foul. The Indiana Department of Insurance received 425 complaints from State Farm customers whose claims had been denied following the storm, which generated almost 50,000 claims against State Farm alone.
Radcliff had worked in construction ever since he dropped out of high school to help his family make ends meet. He learned to do everything from cabinetry to roofing to plumbing and eventually launched his own contracting business, which negotiated claims directly with insurers on behalf of homeowners. Over the years, he grew accustomed to arguing with insurance companies about the need for big repairs following major weather events.
But that tension erupted in the fall of 2008, when a group of cops surrounded him on his way to an arbitration hearing related to a disputed claim from the epic hailstorm. The police arrested Radcliff, threw him in jail, and told him he was being charged with 14 felonies, including insurance fraud, corrupt business influence, and criminal mischief.
Although he’d had several run-ins with the law in the past, including a couple misdemeanor convictions, Radcliff had never faced anything like this.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m this angel,” Radcliff said, but these accusations seemed wild. “I’m just a normal everyday guy who was standing up for people.”
When Radcliff’s arrest landed on the front page of the Indianapolis Star, his business took an immediate and massive hit. Suppliers told him they wouldn’t do business with a “criminal,” his referrals dried up, and he was forced to cut his staff from 400 people to just 15.
Eventually, Radcliff learned that State Farm was behind his prosecution. Internal company records show that the insurer began building a fraud case against him in 2007, around the same time it learned he had complained to a local TV reporter that the company had unfairly refused to cover repairs from the prior year’s storm.
“Some of the negative press that has been occurring in Indy has been generated by…questionable contractors in efforts to put pressure on us to simply pay,” an agent in State Farm’s Special Investigations Unit wrote in an email to a media relations executive two days after a segment about the company appeared on the local Call 6 Investigates show. “A good, positive story to indirectly expose some of these practices and help protect consumers would go a long way to helping change the public’s attitudes and perceptions.”
State Farm investigated 10 claims from homeowners who had hired Radcliff. Although other houses in the same neighborhoods also reported extensive hail damage and needed new roofs, investigators determined that some of the ones Radcliff worked on had been intentionally vandalized as part of a fraudulent conspiracy to bilk the insurer.
State Farm tried to pressure at least four of those homeowners into accusing Radcliff of fraud — telling three of them it would pay for the repairs only if they filed police reports alleging that it was the contractor who had damaged the roofs. In another case, State Farm reversed its own determination that a homeowner’s roof was damaged in the storm after it learned Radcliff was involved, locating new experts who now claimed the contractor had vandalized the property.
“It didn’t matter if I was innocent or guilty. They wanted to take myself and my business out.”
Despite the complaints, Tom Cockerill, an investigator for the insurer, took the allegations to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an industry-funded nonprofit that acts as a liaison between insurers and law enforcement. But Cockerill withheld several crucial reports and customer statements that contradicted the company’s allegations.
The NICB passed the allegations on to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Both the NICB and State Farm then worked closely with detectives to build the case, including reviewing the probable cause affidavit leading to Radcliff’s arrest before it was filed in court.
When Radcliff’s case made the local paper and even CNN, Cockerill, the State Farm investigator, celebrated — going so far as to forward a stick figure drawing depicting Radcliff being raped in prison to an NICB investigator. “Enjoy,” wrote Cockerill, who was named “Investigator of the Year” by the International Association of Special Investigation Units for his work on the case. (The association declined to comment. Cockerill, who according to his LinkedIn profile still appears to work in insurance, did not respond to requests for comment.)
But when it was eventually revealed that State Farm had withheld evidence that might have exonerated Radcliff, while key witnesses changed their stories or backed out, prosecutors dropped the charges.
Since then, Radcliff has tried to get several new businesses off the ground, but the accusations still haunt him. “It didn’t matter if I was innocent or guilty,” the contractor said. “They wanted to take myself and my business out.”
This past April, hundreds of law enforcement agents and insurance company officials gathered in a sprawling hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority’s annual convention.
The mood was jovial. Enjoying drinks and catered meals, insurance company investigators and police detectives greeted one another as old friends, swapping war stories and trading the latest tips and tricks from the field. Vendors pitched surveillance services and social media monitoring software that allow investigators to covertly track policyholders suspected of fraud. Police officers in business casual attire, mindful of the lucrative investigative jobs open to former law enforcement officers, marveled at how easily insurers were able to obtain the kind of private information that law enforcement can get only with a court order — bank and phone records, for example — thanks to policy contracts that require customers to cooperate with investigations.
Versions of this fraud conference occur across the country. But nowhere is the relationship cozier than in Pennsylvania, where the state Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority not only organizes the annual meeting, but pays the salaries of dozens of police officers and prosecutors.
Insurance company officials make up the majority of the authority’s board, which last year doled out $14 million in targeted grants to fund the work of roughly 100 prosecutors, investigators, and support staffers across the state dedicated exclusively to rooting out insurance fraud.
Those law enforcement officials collected $5.6 million in restitution from people accused of insurance fraud in 2018, money that went back to the insurance companies. According to the IFPA’s annual report, the most commonly investigated cases don’t involve sophisticated organized crime rings, but individual policyholders ages 18 to 34 with no prior criminal record.
It’s an unusual arrangement that doesn’t exist in other states, though law enforcement agencies in several others, including California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, do collect money from insurers to fund fraud investigations.
The offices of the Philadelphia district attorney and the Pennsylvania attorney general are guaranteed a portion of the money each year. But other law enforcement agencies in the state must apply to receive continued funding. If the board members feel that the agencies are not conducting enough investigations or making enough arrests, it can terminate funding.
Although that’s rare, funding for the Montgomery County district attorney, just outside Philadelphia, was recently cut off. The IFPA was displeased the office’s arrests and prosecution numbers, its executive director, Tom Donahue, said in an interview, and the district attorney’s office didn’t bother to reapply for the money. (A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said its arrests were low because state investigators were handling these types of cases in their region.)
Donahue, who previously worked as an investigator for several insurers, said the funding model doesn’t pose a conflict of interest. “The referrals are reviewed by seasoned professional prosecutors who accept or deny referrals based on the evidence provided,” he said. “I have not seen any evidence of criminal charges bolstering a company’s decision not to pay a claim or serve as a disincentive for legitimate claims to be filed.”
Roaming the halls of the IFPA’s annual convention at the Hershey Lodge, Patrick Gleason, a detective who specializes in insurance fraud at the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, was one of the few voices of concern over the relationship between law enforcement and the insurance industry. He said his office works hard to ensure investigations are conducted independently, but avoiding undue influence from the insurance companies requires vigilance. Over the years, Gleason said he’s witnessed one insurer withhold exculpatory evidence in a felony case, and taken calls from insurance officials asking for secret information he legally cannot give out.
Appearing on one of the convention’s panels — titled “Arson for Profit” — he warned insurers about the dangers of collaborating so closely with the cops. “You can’t work with us,” Gleason implored. “It will get you in trouble and it will get us in trouble too.”
Pressure to Take a Deal
When the Allegheny County district attorney’s office in Pittsburgh received its first industry-funded grant for a prosecutor dedicated to insurance fraud in 1998, Nicholas Radoycis Jr. was an obvious candidate to lead the unit. He’d worked briefly as an insurance underwriter, been a volunteer firefighter for over a decade, and had already worked closely with insurance company investigators while prosecuting several arson cases before the unit existed.
Radocyis, short with a full head of white hair and round, thin-rimmed glasses, went on to handle nearly every insurance fraud case in the county for the next two decades until his retirement this past spring.
His salary of $93,549, as well as those of the police officers assigned to work on insurance fraud, was entirely covered by grants from the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority. Last year, the money that the insurance board gave Allegheny County to go after insurance fraud came to $728,202, all told, and over the past decade his office handled more such cases than almost any other agency in the state.
Insurance fraud charges filed by the Allegheny District Attorney’s office almost never made it all the way to trial — fewer than 3%, according to public records — and as a result the evidence he relied on to bring criminal charges was rarely scrutinized.
Instead, he acted less as a public prosecutor than as a debt collector for the insurance industry. Many of his cases were resolved in private negotiation with the defense, then approved by a lower-level judge, known as a magistrate judge, in a cramped basement courtroom below a banquet hall and a nail salon. Defendants were generally let off with no admission of guilt if they agreed to pay a fine, complete community service, and reimburse their insurers for the money they had claimed.
When Radoycis brought fraud charges against Michael Hart in 2017, there was every reason to assume he’d take a deal as well.
Hart, a 59-year-old bus driver, had been rear-ended on the way to work more than a year earlier, an accident that no one held to be his fault. But the other driver’s auto insurer, Progressive, took issue with his claim that his wrist had been seriously injured in the crash. Following the accident, the other driver had assaulted Hart, according to a police report. A Progressive investigator provided evidence to Radoycis’s fraud team suggesting Hart had been injured in that altercation instead of the crash, which would mean the company was not responsible for paying the claim. (Progressive acknowledged that it provided information about Hart in response to a request from the police, but said it did not suspect him of fraud.)
As the case moved toward trial, Radoycis offered Hart the same deal he’d offered so many times before: He would be put on probation for a few months, but could walk away without admitting guilt and ultimately get his record expunged.
Reviewing the evidence, Hart’s defense lawyer, Joe Otte, was surprised by how little independent investigation the detective, Richard Nowakowski, seemed to have done beyond the file that had been handed to him by Progressive. “It looked like he flipped through it, signed off on it, and it went to prosecution,” he said. Nowakowski, who has since retired, did not respond to requests for comment.
“I don’t understand how people can sleep at night when they ruin innocent people’s lives.”
Still, Otte cautioned his client about the risks of fighting the charges. On a bus driver’s salary, Hart simply couldn’t afford the $7,000 or more that expert witnesses would charge to testify in his defense — and without that evidence, he’d have a harder time proving his innocence. If he lost at trial, Hart could be looking at up to seven years in prison.
“I was very concerned that he was not understanding the ramifications” of fighting this case, said Otte.
But Hart was confident. He had no criminal record and figured if he wasn’t a liar, the law would be on his side. He stubbornly refused to take the deal, and started working more overtime to cover his mounting legal bills.
Finally, this past fall, he had his day in court. To Hart’s immense relief, the judge found that Radoycis hadn’t met the burden of proof required to convict Hart of insurance fraud, and found him not guilty.
The Allegheny County district attorney’s office said its efforts to fight insurance fraud are fair and effective. The industry-funded operation “not only helps to hold people who abuse the system accountable, but also serves as a deterrent to others contemplating similar behavior,” a spokesperson said.
But Hart soon found that criminal accusations can continue to haunt people even when they’re acquitted. Unexpunged charges can show up in background checks, making it harder to get a job or rent a home.
Despite the courtroom victory, his own insurer, Liberty Mutual, dropped his coverage. He said he’s been unable to convince Pennsylvania’s insurance regulator or other authorities to investigate what happened to him. Liberty Mutual declined to comment on the matter.
“I don’t understand how people can sleep at night when they ruin innocent people’s lives,” Hart said.
Even those who manage to prove their innocence have little recourse — thanks to a law that was written with the help of insurance companies.
In 1992, an industry study estimated that 1 in 10 claims paid by insurers were fraudulent. Many in the business find that statistic to be unreliable. But the study, which continues to be widely cited to this day, spotlighted what soon came to be viewed as a tremendous business opportunity: Companies realized they could save millions by aggressively denying claims they deemed fraudulent.
Three years later, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group composed of insurance companies, consumer groups, and other stakeholders, helped craft model legislation that guaranteed companies broad immunity from any customer who wished to sue for being wrongly accused of fraud. In exchange, companies are required to report suspected fraud to law enforcement. The coalition then went to work getting versions of that legislation passed across the country with help from state insurance regulators.
“They’re saying, ‘We have a right to be wrong, and if we’re wrong you can’t sue us.’”
Granted that kind of immunity, insurers felt far more willing to accuse their own customers of crimes. “Overnight, we just saw insurers gladly report fraud,” said Jay, the executive director of the coalition.
But that’s left consumers at an unfair disadvantage, critics say.
To successfully sue over false fraud accusations, a consumer has to prove the insurer acted with malice or bad faith — a high bar that typically requires expensive litigation to obtain internal company records.
“They’re saying, ‘We have a right to be wrong, and if we’re wrong you can’t sue us,’” said Amy Bach, the executive director of United Policyholders, a consumer group that advocates for insurance policyholders. “You know how you have fishing nets for tuna and it also catches dolphins in the same net? If the system is too aggressively or too broadly applied, it hurts people who did not commit fraud but can’t muster the resources to defend themselves against the juggernaut of a big corporation.”
Today, the industry relies heavily on guidelines from the National Insurance Crime Bureau to help determine which claims should be scrutinized for fraud, a process that can involve extensive delays while people are without a home or car.
A nonprofit funded by more than a thousand insurance companies, the NICB was founded in the early 1990s. NICB agents help vet thousands of suspected fraud reports shared by insurance companies, embed in task forces with the FBI, and help craft threatening letters to customers suspected of fraud on behalf of state insurance regulators.
“Ninety-five percent of the time there is not a problem … But the other 5% catches a lot of innocent people.”
They also help develop “red flag” indicators to help companies spot fraudulent claims. Consumer advocates say some of these red flags — such as “insured is unusually knowledgeable regarding insurance” — seem overly broad. Others, they say, could disproportionately target low-income people, such as “experiencing financial difficulties.”
“The idea that if you have financial difficulties you’re inclined to defraud others is deeply troubling to me,” said Doug Heller, an insurance expert for Consumer Federation of America.
The NICB, for its part, said that no single indicator is proof of fraud; instead, the indicators serve merely as suggestions to help insurers identify which claims deserve greater scrutiny.
But Karl Smith, who until last year handled fraud cases as part of his job as a lawyer for Farmers Insurance in Nevada, said that based on his experience, that industry’s methodology still makes for a whole lot of false positives. “Ninety-five percent of the time there is not a problem. The claim is paid,” Smith said. “But the other 5% catches a lot of innocent people.”
Shanna Shackelford was a 21-year-old nurse’s aide and part-time employee at Walmart living in Carrollton, Georgia, when the house she was renting burned down. At least she’d bought renters insurance from State Farm, she thought as she watched almost everything she owned go up in flames.
At first, State Farm put Shackelford up at a nearby hotel, but two months later the insurer’s fraud investigators concluded she had intentionally set the fire, denied her claim, and referred her case to local law enforcement.
Three days after Christmas 2009, they stopped covering her temporary housing and Shackelford, unable to pay the rent herself, was kicked out of the hotel with nowhere to go. A few months later she was charged with criminal arson, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
State Farm and the landlord’s insurance company had collected samples from the scene of the fire, testing them for gasoline or other accelerants that might suggest the blaze was set intentionally. Eager to keep costs low, the Carrollton Fire Department, which helps local police with fire investigations, relied entirely on the reports given to it by the insurers rather than doing any of its own testing.
In a letter begging a pro bono attorney to take on her case, Shackelford wrote that she had “lost countless jobs, lost my home, my dogs, and had to sell everything I own to make it to this point. I now sleep in my car, and occasionally family members will allow me to come over to shower.” She was no arsonist, she protested: “I just don’t wanna die without someone knowing what these people are doing to me, and how I have cried, pleaded, and begged for help.”
The lawyer took her case and soon tracked down a fire expert who raised concerns about the reports that State Farm had handed the police. The evidence, the expert concluded, in fact strongly suggested the fire had been accidental and that Shackelford wasn’t responsible.
More than a year after the fire, the only remaining physical evidence were the samples the insurers originally sent to the lab. The prosecutor acknowledged that “the State’s case was based primarily on the insurance company’s analysis as to the cause of the fire.” Since it had proved impossible to obtain the insurers’ samples to retest, the charges were dropped.
It took years for Shackelford to get the charges expunged, during which time she said her status as a suspected felon made it extremely difficult to rent a new home or find a job. She’s now starting to get back on her feet and plans to get a law degree.
The Carrollton Police Department is hardly the only law enforcement agency to rely heavily, if not entirely, on evidence produced by insurers in fraud cases.
In Phoenix, the county attorney’s office dismissed felony charges against a woman facing 27 years in prison after the prosecutor determined Farmers Insurance and the local fire department investigator had an “incestuous relationship” and had ignored evidence that pointed to the policyholder’s innocence.
In Wisconsin, Joseph Awe spent nearly three years in prison because a local fire investigator recommended charges based on the determination by Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance that he’d burned his bar down to collect insurance money. That assessment turned out to be based on bad science, and Awe was released from prison in 2013.
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And in a 2010 criminal case in Pennsylvania, a judge became so frustrated with the testimony of an expert who seemed biased in favor of the insurance company that he threatened to refer him for prosecution for perjury.
The expert, hired by Erie Insurance, had opined that a faulty hair dryer could not have caused the fire that destroyed a policyholder’s home. But when the defense uncovered information suggesting it could have been the appliance after all, the expert went out of his way to side with the prosecution.
Experts “are supposed to be independent, notwithstanding the fact that they’re hired by one side or the other,” the judge said, according to the trial transcript. He admonished the prosecutor who was relying heavily on the expert’s testimony to make his case: “I want you to take your witness aside and tell him that no matter what the jury does, if I conclude, based on testimony, that he has not told the truth, I will advise the district attorney’s office to file perjury charges against him.”
Shortly afterward, the prosecutor dropped the charges. The expert, Richard Wunderley, and his employer, EFI Global, declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Erie Insurance said the company would “never knowingly work with an expert with a known bias or accused of perjury.”
Wunderley continues to provide expert testimony in insurance cases, and was recently named president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Even When You Win, You Lose
In late 2010, Harry Schmidt’s case finally went to trial.
To cover the thousands of dollars in legal fees he was racking up to defend himself from charges he had plotted to steal his own truck for the insurance money, he had begun selling parts of his antique gun collection.
Over four days of testimony, Schmidt’s lawyers poked several holes in the prosecution’s fraud theory. The district attorney’s office argued that Schmidt must have been involved in the vehicle’s disappearance because the truck could only have been taken with one of the two factory-issued keys, both of which were in his possession. On the stand, the expert who had written the report that Erie Insurance gave to the police ultimately conceded that he couldn’t rule out other ways the car could have been stolen without a key, such as using a tow truck. And the prosecution offered no explanation for how Schmidt, who was in Florida at the time his truck disappeared, could have been involved.
In the face of such doubts, the judge found Schmidt not guilty.
But his fight with the insurance industry was far from over.
Schmidt, by then 59 and nearly broke, filed a lawsuit against Erie in hopes of recovering some of his legal expenses. Although Erie argued that it was immune from civil liability for reporting fraud, Schmidt’s lawyers contended that they had grounds to sue because the insurer had acted maliciously, failing to properly investigate the facts before passing his file on to prosecutors.
Erie responded by going on the offensive: It countersued Schmidt for fraud, even though a judge had just found him not guilty. The insurer — which had originally paid the veteran’s $28,101 claim for the stolen truck, only to help him get criminally charged soon thereafter — now wanted to recoup the money it had paid out.
“For State Farm, that’s nothing. If you or I did that, we’d be in prison.”
The competing lawsuits provided Schmidt access to internal company documents, which soon revealed Erie’s deep entanglement in the prosecution’s case. Although the expert that Nicholas Radoycis, Allegheny County’s specialized insurance fraud prosecutor, relied upon had claimed under oath, “I don’t receive any compensation for my testimony,” invoices and checks proved he had in fact been paid by Erie for his three appearances.
Soon after Schmidt presented that evidence, Erie settled with him for a confidential sum without admitting any wrongdoing.
Like Erie, State Farm also doubled down on the contractor Joe Radcliff when he was arrested, suing him for fraud while his criminal case was still pending.
Radcliff fought back, countersuing the insurer for defamation after the criminal charges against him had been dropped.
The civil court eventually determined that the insurer had investigated Radcliff not because of a good-faith effort to root out fraud, but because it was unhappy with his work helping State Farm customers file expensive claims that it didn’t want to pay. State Farm had used “deception, misinformation, intimidation, and omissions to ultimately present an investigation report that was fraudulent,” the judges concluded.
In 2014, Radcliff received a $14.5 million verdict — one of the largest defamation verdicts in US history. Much of it went to covering his legal bills and loans he’d taken out to survive during the years the lawsuit was pending.
He says it’s hard to think of the money as much of a victory.
“For State Farm, that’s nothing,” Radcliff said. “If you or I did that, we’d be in prison.” ●
Opening illustration by John J. Custer for BuzzFeed News.
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cali4kitty2 years agoHow terrible! I don’t even know how people can think of schemes like this. I’m glad this article was written! I never would have thought State Farm would do anything this blood boiling.5people love this comment
She 12 years agoVery informative…. God have mercy on the misused and abused. I knew insurance companies were not good but I didn’t realize they were this bad !4people love this comment
ncpd2514 days agoI worked SIU Farmers Ins. & experienced the corrupt dispositions of management in SIU. Chuck Bos was downright corrupt & unethical. He fired one investigator because she wouldn’t lie on the stand to cover his butt. He would announce in team meetings, that he plays favorites & who… Read more
When police showed up at Harry Schmidt’s home on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, he thought they were there to help. He was still mourning the disappearance of the beloved forest green Ford F-150 pickup that he’d customized with a gun storage cabinet, and he hoped the cops had solved the crime.
Instead, the officers accused him of faking the theft. The Vietnam veteran was now facing up to seven years in prison.
Schmidt was stunned, but he was even more upset when he found out who had turned him in.
Erie Insurance, one of the nation’s largest auto insurers, had not only provided the cops with evidence against its own loyal customer — it had actively worked with them to try to convict him of insurance fraud.
Erie had even paid part of the salary of the lead detective who knocked on Schmidt’s door that day, as well as that of the prosecutor who went on to charge him with felony insurance fraud. And it would also secretly cover the costs of an expert witness to testify against Schmidt in court.
Schmidt, a grandfather living on disability benefits from his war-related injuries, had no history of theft or fraud. But he found himself the target of an extraordinary alliance between private insurers and public law enforcement agencies — one that transforms routine claims into criminal evidence, premium-paying customers into suspects, and the justice system into a hired gun for a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s an arrangement essentially unheard of in other businesses, and one rife with potential conflicts of interest, as well as grave consequences for law-abiding customers.
“It made me really feel like the law is nothing but another racket,” said Schmidt, who said he had to sell many of his possessions to cover his mounting legal bills and stay out of prison.
A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that Erie, State Farm, Farmers, and other giant home and auto insurers around the country have co-opted law enforcement to intimidate and prosecute their own customers — tactics that can help companies boost their profits and avoid paying claims.
Insurance companies provide financial incentives to scores of police departments, prosecutors, and other public agencies to encourage them to focus on insurance fraud, a crime that has traditionally not been a priority for local law enforcement. In some cases, insurance giants even cover the salaries of dedicated prosecutors, detectives, and investigators whose caseloads consist primarily of referrals from those same companies.
The result is that dozens of premium-paying customers across the United States have faced jail for doing nothing more than filing insurance claims for damages to their property.
State Farm and Farmers Insurance both declined to comment on their companies’ fraud-fighting tactics.
“It made me really feel like the law is nothing but another racket.”
David Rioux, vice president of special investigations for Erie Insurance, said only a small percentage of claims were flagged as potentially suspicious and that he wasn’t aware of any instances where the company had falsely accused someone of fraud. He declined to comment on specific cases, but said the company follows laws requiring it to report fraud to law enforcement and it’s up to those agencies to decide whether to bring criminal charges.
BuzzFeed News examined 27 cases around the country in which people were falsely charged with felonies based in whole or in part on evidence insurers provided to law enforcement. In Indiana, State Farm helped detectives craft an arrest warrant for a contractor who was charged with 14 felonies. All charges were ultimately dropped when the evidence turned out to be deeply misleading — but not before the insurance giant’s allegations had destroyed his business. In Georgia, a local prosecutor relied on lab tests provided by an insurer to charge a woman with arson, resulting in a three-year ordeal in which she ended up homeless, only to drop the charges when the test results proved unreliable. And in Wisconsin, a man spent nearly three years in prison based on now-discredited science used by an insurance investigator until his conviction was overturned.
In these and other instances, law enforcement agencies have outsourced the hard work and substantial expense of building insurance fraud cases to the industry itself — relying heavily on evidence produced by insurers to prosecute their customers. But those insurers have a strong financial stake in the outcome: Criminal charges help bolster a company’s decision not to pay a claim, and serve as a powerful disincentive for others to file claims of their own.
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That has led to a culture inside some insurance companies where customers are viewed with suspicion and investigators have been observed openly celebrating when they manage to get them arrested, according to interviews with former employees. In an email reviewed by BuzzFeed News, for example, one of State Farm’s star fraud investigators celebrated one such arrest by circulating a stick figure drawing depicting the man — who it later turned out had been wrongly accused — being raped in prison.
It’s impossible to say how often innocent customers are the victims of false charges, because much of the potential evidence is hidden from public view by the companies themselves. In one case, investigators at State Farm withheld several crucial reports contradicting their fraud allegations from the bundle of evidence they handed over the law enforcement. In another, a Farmers manager admitted under oath that there was an “unwritten policy” within the company to withhold evidence from customers that could help prove their innocence.
Policyholders, meanwhile, often find it difficult and expensive to fight back, leading many to walk away from claims or face pressure to take plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit. And even those individuals who are able to successfully bring lawsuits against insurers are usually obliged to sign confidentiality provisions as part of the terms of any settlement, making it difficult if not impossible for others to find out what happened.
But by reviewing hundreds of court records from around the country, complaints filed with state regulators, and internal company records, and interviewing dozens of former insurance company employees, BuzzFeed News uncovered a system that has ensnared countless innocent people.
In Florida alone, state law enforcement received roughly 14,500 suspected fraud referrals about homeowners and vehicle claims in the past five years — the vast majority of them from insurance companies. Yet authorities determined that in more than 75% of the cases, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation. And regardless of whether fraud accusations turn out to be false, many sit in databases shared among insurers, where they can haunt people if they ever have to file another insurance claim.
These tactics can be applied with impunity, thanks to legislation in all 50 states restricting the ability of customers to sue insurers for wrongly accusing them of fraud — unless the customers can prove the allegations were malicious or made in bad faith.
The legislation was crafted with help from insurers, which worked to get versions of it passed across the country.
“The whole system got corrupted.”
But critics say that the way the law has been implemented favors insurance companies’ commercial interests while failing to provide adequate protections for innocent people.
“The whole system got corrupted,” said Tim Ryles, former Georgia insurance commissioner and chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Antifraud Committee, who helped pass a version of the legislation.
Insurance fraud is a real problem. Entire organized crime rings are dedicated to staging accidents in order to collect insurance money, for example, and industry groups say phony claims cost insurers billions of dollars a year, much of which is passed along to customers in increased premiums.
Insurers say that funding police and prosecutors, and referring criminal cases to them, is critical to efforts to root out fraud, since many law enforcement agencies lack the resources or expertise to bring complicated cases.
These efforts to fight phony claims have netted insurers at least a sevenfold return on investment since the ’90s, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a nonprofit that receives most of its funding from insurance companies.
That yields a real benefit for policyholders by helping keep rates down, said Dennis Jay, the coalition’s executive director. “Bottom line is that insurers that hurt innocent consumers should be punished severely,” Jay said.
But for people like Schmidt — and other victims of false accusations — the system seems crafted to benefit only the billion-dollar insurance companies and their investors.
Blacktail Deer Creek in Yellowstone National Park, seen here in a 2019 photo from the ecological study known as NEON, is one site where researchers have bubbled sulfur hexafluoride into the water.
A massive ecological study that’s happening across the United States, and which is designed to track the impact of long-term changes like a warming climate, is deliberately releasing a highly potent and persistent greenhouse gas in national parks and forests.
The gas, sulfur hexafluoride, is “the most potent greenhouse gas known to date,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s 22,800 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and lasts in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
So far, this ecology study has released around 108 pounds of the gas, which has about the same impact as burning more than a million pounds of coal.
That may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of global emissions, but government scientists working at federal parks and forests have objected to using this gas on public lands — especially since this major study is designed to go on for 30 years and alternative gasses are available.
This kerfuffle has so far played out quietly within government agencies. But it comes at a time when all kinds of researchers are thinking about the climate effects of past practices, with some saying that scientists who understand the urgency of the climate crisis have a special obligation to set an example to the public by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of their own work.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds this large ecology study, told NPR that it supports an evaluation that’s now underway to see whether phasing out the use of this gas would affect the quality of the information that’s being gathered.
That’s not good enough for one watchdog group, which is calling for an immediate halt to the release of this gas on public lands.
“We’re using just a tiny amount”
For decades, ecologists have sometimes burbled small amounts of sulfur hexafluoride into streams and rivers, in order to study how quickly gasses can move from the water into the air. One reason that’s of interest is that, although inland waterways cover up only a small fraction of the Earth’s surface, researchers believe these running waters could be an important source of greenhouse gasses, as rainfall can carry carbon from the ground into turbulent streams that later release it into the atmosphere.
Ecologists have always known that sulfur hexafluoride was itself a potent greenhouse gas, “but we always said, ‘Well, we’re using just a tiny amount of it,” says Bob Hall, a professor of stream ecology at the University of Montana.
“The beauty of sulfur hexafluoride is we only have to add very tiny quantities, and it’s really, really easy to measure and it’s perfectly unreactive. We’re not doing anything to the ecosystem by adding it, it’s not reacting with anything, it’s not poisoning anything,” says Hall, who once calculated that the amount he used in one of his experiments had about the same climate impact as burning 35 gallons of gasoline.
Given the usefulness of this gas in stream studies, it’s not surprising that tests involving sulfur hexafluoride were built into the standardized protocols of the National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, which is an ambitious government-funded effort to track ecological changes. Its mission is to use consistent methods to collect all kinds of data on 81 different locations across the nation–and to do this regularly for three decades.
“The idea is to understand the effects of things like climate change, land use change, and invasive species on these ecosystems,” says Kaelin Cawley, who works at Battelle, the nonprofit applied science and technology organization that operates NEON for the NSF.
NEON workers sample fish in 2019 at Lower Hop Brook in Massachusetts, one of the streams being monitored as part of this long-term ecological study.
The planning for this half-billion-dollar ecological project, and the construction of its monitoring instruments, took around twenty years. It began operating at full tilt in 2019.
That’s the same year when a scientist at Yellowstone National Park started to question why NEON was releasing sulfur hexafluoride at Blacktail Deer Creek, according to documents obtained through a public records request by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group that supports workers within the government who are concerned about activities that can harm the environment.
The environmental consequence
NEON’s protocols called for it to annually release around 3.3 pounds of sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, in Yellowstone National Park, hydrologist Erin White pointed out in a November, 2020 email to another National Park Service official. Over the 30-year lifetime of the project, White calculated, that meant the use of SF6 for research in Yellowstone National Park alone would be equivalent to burning over 1,139,000 pounds of coal.
“In short, the environmental consequence of a small SF6 application in the park is significant,” noted White, who recommended that NEON immediately substitute an alternative gas, such as argon, even though NEON staffers thought making this switch would be problematic because of things like lab contracting constraints.
It is somewhat ironic to study carbon cycling using a tracer gas with that much greenhouse forcing.
Bob Hall, a professor on stream ecology, and a colleague in a 2018 paper on the study of gas exchange
Bobby Hensley, who works on NEON for Battelle, told NPR that the climate impact from the scientific use of this gas has to be kept in perspective.
“I don’t want to sort of criticize Yellowstone National Park, but, I mean, there’s hundreds of thousands of vehicles driving through that park every single day,” says Hensley. “They can’t tell people, ‘Hey, you can’t come visit the park.’ But they can say, ‘You can’t use SF6.'”
Soon, government officials shared the concerns raised at Yellowstone with others who oversaw sites where NEON had been releasing this gas. Emails went out to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service. About half of the NEON sites with streams where sulfur hexafluoride was released were on forest service lands, records show.
“SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas and over the 30 year NEON program the release will be equivalent to burning millions of pounds of coal,” wrote Bret Schichtel of the National Park Service’s Air Resource Division to Linda Geiser, the National Air Program Manager for the Forest Service. “We would like to know if you are aware of this issue and share similar concerns.”
In December of 2020, representatives of the park and forest services held a virtual meeting with NEON employees. Emails sent after that meeting make it clear that the public land officials felt a “strong desire” to discontinue the use of this gas.
NEON subsequently convened a group of expert advisers to figure out if they could stop using the gas without disrupting the science.
One of those advisors was Hall, who says that he had already moved away from using SF6 in his own studies of streams, in part because of its extreme potency as a greenhouse gas. “It is somewhat ironic,” Hall and a colleague wrote in one paper, “to study carbon cycling using a tracer gas with that much greenhouse forcing.”
“This doesn’t fit with the mission”
It turns out that the physical features of streams that affect turbulence and gas exchange don’t change much over time. So NEON’s expert advisers basically felt it would be okay to just make sure this study had some baseline measurements using SF6 for each site and then leave it at that, rather than switching to an alternative gas that would require new instruments and training so that measurements could be taken year after year.
“We have discontinued it recently at several of our sites, but not all of them,” says Cawley, who notes that the water level in streams might currently be too low to get the data they want. “Some of the sites, we still need to get certain flow ranges that we haven’t covered yet.”
The NSF’s Program Director for NEON, Charlotte Roehm, told NPR in an emailed statement that Battelle was evaluating the impact of phasing out the use of SF6 and that “the NSF team that manages NEON is supportive of conducting that evaluation.”
In 2021, according to one memo sent from NEON to Roehm, NEON used approximately 18 pounds of the gas, which is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from driving an average car over 460,000 miles. That memo stated the new plan was to use the gas to take measurements “up to three times per year at up to 10 sites,” likely for one to three more years.
“Eventually we will stop using SF6 when all sites have enough data to draw conclusions about gas exchange rates across a wide range of flows at a site,” the memo states.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, however, wants them to stop using SF6 immediately.
“They’re doing these experiments on public lands like national parks and national forests,” says Chandra Rosenthal, who directs the non-profit’s Rocky Mountain office. “This doesn’t fit with the mission of these agencies at all.”
The government workers who manage those federal lands are unhappy about the use of this gas, she says, “but they haven’t really had the authority to do anything about the fact that this stuff is being used.”
This week, her group sent a letter to the director of the NSF, asking the agency to stop funding projects that use SF6 on federal lands, and to assess the value of using SF6 and other greenhouse gasses in all the research it funds. A similar letter, sent to U. S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U. S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, calls on them to stop allowing the use of SF6 on the lands they manage. “It is our understanding,” the letter says, “that similar research projects have switched to argon without issue.”
One researcher who uses small amounts of SF6 for studies of gas exchange in the ocean, rather than streams, says he thinks NEON’s protocols could have been set up differently, to minimize the use of this greenhouse gas.
“If I was to do what they’re doing, I would do it differently. I wouldn’t be bubbling it in, because that does use a lot,” says David Ho, an oceanographer with the University of Hawaii, who explains that he might infuse a small amount of the gas into a bag of water and then release that into the stream. “They haven’t thought this through, in terms of the best way to do it.”
And even if the amount that’s been released by NEON and other scientific studies is essentially nothing compared to the amount of SF6 released globally from industrial sources, the concerns about it still seem reasonable to streams researcher Walter Dodds of Kansas State University, who served on NEON’s technical advisory panel.
“It may be an overreaction of sorts, but it’s completely understandable as well. We all are worried about what our own footprints are,” says Dodds. “Certainly we should be cognizant of the potential for that harm and at least minimize the amount of times we use it and the amount of gas that we use in each experiment.”
Many are now aware of and justifiably concerned about Lake Mead soon becoming what is known as a “dead pool”. When this milestone is reached, the ramifications for tens of millions of Americans is beyond grave. What is not being discussed is the Lake Mead 3rd intake drain that was designed to drain every last drop from this diminishing and dying largest reservoir in the US. The remaining water will keep Las Vegas Nevada partying till the last possible moment. Even more dire is the official denial of the ongoing drought inducing covert climate engineering operations that are the core causal factor behind the unprecedented drought in the Western US. The six minute video below provides much needed information on the unfolding cataclysm surrounding the collapsing Colorado River water source.
Reposted under the Fair Use Doctrine. I suggest that everyone watch these videos, you will learn something.
(Natural News) Unapproved FDA anti-psychotics prescription drugs have been prescribed for two-year-olds who supposedly have bipolar disorder. On the record with Johnson and Johnson internal documents that have been uprooted, a certain doctor, who happens to be the chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, appears to have pushed these unapproved drugs through speaking engagement fees for over $1.6 million, for a period of seven years, several years back.
One Joseph L. Biederman, with deep (filled) pockets and extensive ties to J&J, is a consultant who may be guilty of pushing psychotropic drugs that are prescribed for toddlers who go from crying to happy, and back to crying, too much. Isn’t that just called the “terrible twos?” Since when do 2-year olds need toxic drugs that give them thoughts of suicide because they’re moody?
The DSM, psychiatry’s diagnostic book that labels every emotion a disease or disorder, is the basis for diagnosis of any and every child that exists, should they come in for “treatment.” The DSM is like a training manual for marketing dangerous drugs that are experimental and get this… unapproved by the FDA for this type of use.
Where is the legitimacy of scientific evidence that two-year-olds need medication for bipolar disorder? Does this qualify for child abuse?
Not only is there ZERO proof of this mental disorder in two-year-olds, but the psychiatric “diagnoses” of disorders that call for anti-psychotic drugs has skyrocketed as of late. Now these drugs are blockbuster cash cows, and the doctors slinging them get all kinds of incentives, gifts, cash, stocks and of course, “consulting fees.”
That means leading physicians and pediatricians plug them at their big doctor conventions (including online video meetings) and highly recommend them for treatment, including for little kids that are still toddlers. (The CDC classifies all kids between ages 1 and 3 as toddlers.) This is corrupt, like pushing kids to change their gender traits with drugs and surgery. This is messing with toddlers’ brain activity in experimental ways that should be illegal, if they are not already. This is child abuse, and anyone getting paid to promote and sling these drugs is an accomplice to the crime.
Drug companies partner with prominent pediatricians at prestigious universities to promote dangerous, experimental drugs for children
The whole business model is based on partnerships in corruption. There’s no real medical “research” that could ever prove these drugs work as they say, and so over the past couple decades, the doctors now just sling them without FDA approval. Who’s going to find out, right? And if they do, what can they do about it? Ever heard of a doctor going to jail for promoting prescription drugs he/she slings themselves? Not likely.
Pharma runs the whole racket, and it’s not just about the commercials on TV and the mad scientists, but includes Ivy League professors, physicians, fake news, fake clinical trials and even fake peer-reviews chock full of retracted papers. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, FDA reviews of placebo-controlled clinical trials have been uncovered, regarding anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs, so the truth is coming out, even if it’s not published by the mass media complex of America.
Drug-intensive doping of children now the “norm” for America‘s style of mental health medicine
Take your child to a psychiatrist for nearly anything and you will most likely walk out of that office with a prescription for dangerous, thought-altering drugs that have no business in anyone’s hands, much less in your child’s brain. It’s a huge experiment with neurons and synapses that the arrogant psychiatric industry thinks they’ve conquered. The newest, most expensive brand-name pills are being slung for off-label uses, because they’re not even approved properly for on-label use.
Maybe the child has anxiety from eating MSG and aspartame. Has anyone taken a close look at that? What about industrial food dyes that cause ADHD? How about high fructose corn syrup that causes hyperactivity, are we “diagnosing” that? What about COVID-19 masks that cut out 5 percent to 20 percent of oxygen intake all day while the toddler breathes back in already processed air as carbon dioxide? Or could it be that kids now getting the China Flu “clot shots” are experiencing spike protein prions that are disrupting the brain’s blood vessels that create that “chemical imbalance” the quacks like to base their diagnosis upon?
Tune your scamdemic frequency to BigPharmaNews.com for truth news that’s being censored from the rest of media as you read this.
A former high-ranking federal COVID-19 adviser admitted this week that she “knew” the coronavirus vaccines “were not going to protect against infection,” a stunning declaration that comes roughly 18 months after the shots were first rolled out to the general public.
Dr. Deborah Birx, an infectious disease expert and a regular presence at the Trump White House during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, made the admission during an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Friday.
Asked by Cavuto why Americans should wish to get vaccinated if they see the number of individuals getting COVID even after getting the shot, Birx conceded: “I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection and I think we overplayed the vaccines.”
Birx suggested that overstatements made about the vaccines “made people then worry that it’s not going to protect against severe disease and hospitalization.”
“It will,” she argued, urging Americans also to consider taking the antiviral Paxlovid.
Birx’s astonishing statement comes many months after multiple high-ranking federal officials indicated that getting the vaccine would indeed prevent the patient from both getting and spreading the virus.
President Joe Biden last year claimed that “you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” while CDC Director Rochelle Walensky made a similar claim last April.
In the roughly year-and-a-half since the COVID vaccine rollouts, “breakthrough infections” have become commonplace, with Americans regularly getting infected with COVID even after getting vaccinated and boosted.
Like Birx, health officials have argued that, even if the vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission, it still helps prevent severe cases of COVID and/or deaths from the disease.
At the same time President Putin was preparing to leave Moscow, this report notes, a somber President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trumparrived in New York City protected by a massive Secret Service motorcade, where they will attend a funeral service at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church for Ivana Trump, the 73-year-old ex-wife of President Trump and beloved mother of their children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka.
On 14 July, this report continues, it was reported that an “unnamed personal aide and cleaning lady” arrived at the townhouse of Ivana Trump located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at 10 East 64th Street—after the door wasn’t answered, and phone calls weren’t responded to, the pair called the building’s super, but he couldn’t open the door because it was double-locked from the inside, then a maintenance worker was called to the scene, got the door open — and found Ivana Trump at the floor of the stairs with a cup of java spilled next to her—quickly after which Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham of the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office labeled Ivana Trump’s death “a coronary event”, even as her lifeless corpse lay in a “puddle of spilled coffee” at the foot of the stairs—in other words, the Medical Examiner’s office had apparently decided on a cause of death without examining the body, let alone performing an autopsy.
The rest of last week, it was revealed that multiple additional smuggling incidents had resulted in migrant deaths as smugglers attempted to evade law enforcement. Many have rightly blamed President Joe Biden’s open-border policies for these deaths and said that the current administration continues to reward smugglers’ actions and fails to do anything about the consequences.
Former acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said, “They know full well the costs of their open-borders policies, but are pursuing them anyway—all for political benefit and pursuit of their personal ideology.”
The death toll for the June 27 incident far surpassed the 10 illegal immigrants who died inside of a truck in 2017 or the 19 who died in one in 2003 in or near San Antonio.
Under the administration’s policies, more illegal activity is occurring at the border and more migrants than ever are dying. In fact, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan has asked why there has been no outrage over the 700-plus migrants who have died while illegally crossing into the U.S. under the Biden administration.
He says, “The most vulnerable people in the world are putting themselves in the hands of criminal cartels to take advantage of what Biden, [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and this administration have promised.”
In addition to those discovered dead by a municipal employee at about 6 p.m. on June 27, 16 additional migrants were found alive, but hot to the touch and under heat-related distress. Of those 16, four were children. All were rushed to the hospital and updates on their well-being have been released periodically.
So far, investigators with the Department of Homeland Security have apprehended three smugglers and confirmed that the operation involved aliens from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
After questioning the smugglers, investigators learned that the truck had encountered mechanical issues, prompting the smugglers to pull over and abandon the vehicle with the migrants still locked inside.
The migrants had no access to water, and the truck was sweltering in triple-digit temperatures with no air conditioning. The employee who discovered the abandoned vehicle heard sounds of distress coming from the truck and noticed a body on the ground next to the trailer’s partially open cabin door.
The three smugglers apprehended were charged in connection with the operation. One was under the influence of methamphetamines while driving the tractor-trailer.
“This is the worst human-smuggling event in the United States,” said Homeland Security agent Craig Larrabee, adding that smuggling operations are directly linked to cartels, whose members have “no regard for the safety of the migrants.”
The cartels maintain a vast amount of control over the U.S.-Mexico border, exploiting it for drug and human smuggling.
According to Border Patrol agent Fidel Baca, the billion-dollar business of human smuggling keeps the cartels busy. He said the cartels sometimes charge more than $10,000 per person to smuggle illegal aliens into America, only to abandon them if their operation is in jeopardy.
A Customs and Border Protection report released last year concluded that the cartels make up to $14 million a day through smuggling.
Evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that “the border is closed” when talking about the tragic June 27 deaths. With the tractor-trailer having been found in Texas, roughly 150 miles from the southern border, that’s patently false.
An open border and incentives for illegal immigration are not only detrimental to America’s security, but are also life-threatening to the illegal aliens who attempt the journey as a direct result of the Biden administration’s agenda and empowerment of the cartels.
I have never had such a hard time being happy of the 4th of July. From proud, respected and happy American two years ago, to the laughing stock of the world. Be careful out there, this holiday has apparently been marred with shootings that could have, no should have been prevented, but just like the fuel, food, and inflation problems plaguing this country, they are dead set to take our guns and divide the nation.
May God hold each of you in the palm of His hand until we meet again….
https://americanhandgunner.com/our-experts/forgetting-to-remember/ “To forget our past is to be ignorant of what’s transpiring now. We see things happening around us but we often miss the foundation. Without knowing how we got here we’re only seeing the echo from those events occurring decades or even 200 years prior. In talking with young people today, I’ve lost track […]
One day after the Biden administration said it would develop a rule requiring tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes, a new report via WSJ said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market.
WSJ cites people familiar with the matter who said the FDA decision could come as soon as today.
“The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market,” WSJ notes.
Juul has spent the last several years attempting to regain the trust of the FDA and the public. The company limited marketing and stopped selling fruity flavors in 2019 — since then, sales have tumbled.
Altria invested $12.8 billion in Juul in December 2018, acquiring a 35% stake. Shares in Altria are down almost 10%, the lowest since February 2021.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is also gunning for the percentage of nicotine in cigarettes. As the American Thinker‘s Andrea Widburg notes:
Not only will this offer dubious health benefits (and I suspect that it will backfire), but it also represents, yet again, the excessive power the Executive Branch has managed to gain, something that’s far from what the Founders in their great wisdom envisioned.
The Biden administration plans to propose a rule to establish a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other finished tobacco products in an attempt to make them less addictive, the White House Budget Office said Tuesday.
The rule, expected in May 2023, would be designed with the goal of making it easier for tobacco users to quit and help prevent youth from becoming regular smokers, according to a document released by the Budget Office.
The proposal comes as the Biden administration doubles down on fighting cancer-related deaths.
In a statement on Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the plan was to ‘to reduce youth use, addiction and death.’
This follows on the heels of the FDA’s proposal to ban menthol cigarettes, which are the cigarettes of choice for Blacks, and flavored cigars. (I have no idea who smokes those cigars.)
My suspicion is that the plan to decrease nicotine may be counterproductive. While activist White leftists may not believe it, there are people to don’t wish to stop smoking. If each cigarette has less nicotine, they’ll simply smoke more cigarettes to get the same rush. And while nicotine may be the addictive part of cigarettes, it’s all the other stuff in the cigarettes that’s harmful to health. If my cynical suspicions are accurate, smoking more cigarettes to get more nicotine will mean more health problems, not fewer.
But there’s something else that really irks me about this. I should note before going farther that I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’ve never smoked a cigarette and can’t stand the smell of either cigarettes or cigars. If the whole panoply of tobacco products suddenly disappeared from the earth, I would be happy.
However, I am not happy about an Executive Branch that has this much power. No president should be able to dictate how a product should be made and sold. This is something that Congress, through the Commerce Clause, should control.
In the same way, the Executive Branch should not be able to affect so drastically the flow of fossil fuels into America. Our entire way of life is dependent on fossil fuels. Everything we buy, use, eat, drink, wear, or anything else requires fossil fuels. Ending fossil fuels means no modern health care, no modern education, no travel, no anything at all. We will instantly be returned to a dark, grim, narrow world that cannot be saved with limited and expensive wind and solar power (both of which are dependent upon fossil fuels for their manufacturing).
Yet beginning on his first day in the Oval Office, Biden has signed a few pieces of paper that have paralyzed fossil fuel in this country. He stopped the cheap, easy, and environmentally friendly Keystone Pipeline (giving money to dirty trains and trucks) and stopped drilling and exploration on federal lands. His administration has done everything possible to damage Americans’ access to the energy that underlies this country.
The Founders never intended the Executive Branch to have that kind of power, which drastically affects commerce and should be something Congress debates and votes upon. The president’s job is to enforce the existing laws (laws such as immigration and maintaining a functioning military), not to destroy the energy that keeps America humming.
The fact that Biden wants to destroy the tobacco industry, depriving millions of people of something that gives them pleasure and potentially creating a new health risk, doesn’t mean Biden should be able to do so. Congress must take its power back, or our country risks becoming a pure dictatorship. The only comforting thought will be that the dictator’s new military, complete with transgender troops obsessed with pronouns, “green” ships, and officers focused on Critical Race Theory, won’t have the emotional strength to be a Wehrmacht or People’s Liberation Army.
While Democrats continue exploiting the Uvalde shooting victims to prattle on about “assault weapons” and so-called “common-sense gun control,” another school was attacked on Thursday, but it won’t make the headlines.
That’s because this school — Walnut Park Elementary School in Gadsden, Alabama — didn’t have any victims except the would-be invader, who was shot dead by police after he tried and failed to bust into the building. Here’s how it all reportedly went down.
A passerby saw a man “aggressively” trying to get into the school building. When the man was unsuccessful, he tried several other doors, all of which were locked. The responsible observer called to report the man, the school principal put the building on lockdown and called in a police officer who doubles as the school resource officer, and that officer called for backup. If the reports are correct, the chain of command worked smoothly thanks to decisive action and quickly followed protocols.
The resource officer reportedly engaged the would-be invader, who then also allegedly attempted to forcefully enter a marked police vehicle and to take the officer’s gun. More police officers rushed to the scene to help, and the assailant was shot and killed. According to the city’s school superintendent, the schoolchildren who were there “seemed to be unaware the incident occurred.”
In other words, a man who “aggressively” tried to break into a school and take the firearm of a police officer was stopped because doors were properly locked and police officers acted bravely and urgently.
Hmm. That’s interesting. Because according to President Joe Biden, failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, rom-com celebrity Matthew McConaughey, and late-night political scold Jimmy Kimmel, the only way to end the “carnage” of schoolchildren being murdered is to pass anti-gun laws or issue executive orders that radically infringe on the Second Amendment but are slapped with an innocuous “common-sense” qualifier so they don’t sound so bad.
Nothing else would do the trick, such people say — despite the fact that the Uvalde killer had no problem passing a background check, entered through an unlocked door, and faced little resistance from law enforcement for a disgustingly long time.
When Texas Sen. Ted Cruz responded to the Uvalde murder with calls for better school security in the form of locked doors and single-point entry, which could have prevented that killing, leftists and the corporate press ridiculed him for focusing on doors. “[S]enator Ted Cruz comes out bravely against doors,” scoffed The Atlantic’s Molly Jong-Fast on Twitter. “Are they really gonna make it about ‘too many doors on the school’? They are, aren’t they?” chimed in woke comedian Patton Oswalt.
Meanwhile, nobody on the left wants to talk about the criminal failures of the Uvalde police and the Department of Public Safety. That’s in part because if they had done their jobs rather than standing outside like cowards for the better part of an hour, lives undoubtedly would have been spared. It’s also because the implication of Democrats disarming responsible citizens is that the only remaining defense will be armed government employees, who may or may not have the courage to actually help anyone.
Thankfully, in Alabama on Thursday, police did have that courage, and lives were saved because of it. But Democrats and their media lapdogs won’t speak a word of Walnut Park Elementary because it obliterates their gun “do somethingism.”
It turns out we don’t need celebrity lectures and sweeping gun control to keep schoolchildren safe. We just need locked doors and adults who do their dang jobs.
Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. She previously worked as the copy editor for the Washington Examiner magazine and as an editor and producer at National Geographic. She holds a B.S. in Communication Arts/Speech and an A.S. in Criminal Justice and writes on topics including feminism and gender issues, religious liberty, and criminal justice. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.
After years on the run from various governments, Wikileaks editor Julian Assange now appears to be heading to the United States, where he can expect to face an election-year show trial built upon a mountain of media-supported lies.
This week, the UK Home Office announced, with no small degree of irony, that extraditing Assange to the United States, where he is wanted for his role in leaking thousands of sensitive government documents, would not impinge upon his “right to a fair trial and … freedom of expression.”
That is fresh, considering that it is precisely the question of ‘freedom of expression’ that made the Australian-born editor and activist the world’s most wanted man in the first place. It is hard to calculate what effect Assange’s extradition, should it occur, will have on press freedoms around the world. The word ‘chilling’ comes to mind.
Julian Assange’s grand foray onto the world stage occurred in 2010, when WikiLeaks published close to 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents provided by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Arguably the most devastating batch was The Iraqi War Logs, which represents the biggest military leak in the history of the United States. The records provided irrefutable evidence that American and British officials had deceived the world when they claimed there was no official tallying of civilian deaths in the Iraq war. In a user-friendly dashboard, Wikileaks allowed millions of people to locate 66,081 civilian deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities for the period from January 1, 2004 to December 1, 2009. This is the sort of transparency few militaries relish.
While revelations of Iraqi civilian deaths were shocking, they were not necessarily surprising. After all, by this time the American public had already been introduced to lurid places like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, humanitarian no-go zones where the torture and abuse of inmates pulled back the curtain on
a sick and twisted side to the military mind few could have imagined. Moreover, there was no way for the United States to sweet talk its way out of these allegations, which were there for all to see in black and white.
What is it, then, that has really made Julian Assange America’s most wanted man, who faces up to 175 years in prison merely for playing messenger? Let’s not forget that other news media, including The Guardian, New York Times, and Der Spiegel, among many others, also published the damning information, yet it is Assange who faces espionage charges in the United States.
What is the real reason that Julian Assange was forced to seek refuge in June 2012 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest over allegations of sexual misconduct that have since been dropped? Perhaps it has more to do with his uncovering of illegitimate activity inside the Democratic Party than any excessive deaths and atrocities on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan?
In the run up to the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, WikiLeaks released a devastating trove of emails either hacked or leaked from Clinton’s campaign email account. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) attempted to conceal the damage by promoting the tale that ‘Russian hackers’ had infiltrated the organization’s computers. Meanwhile, the more ‘conspiratorial’ explanation is that they were delivered to WikiLeaks via a staff member inside the DNC. More on that later.
One consequence of the leaky plumbing, aside from severely damaging Clinton’s presidential bid, was that it forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. In an embarrassing self-own, the emails showed Democrats working to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders, a fellow Democratic nominee, in an effort to boost Clinton.
But the story, at least for the Democrats, gets worse.
Less than a week before the elections, WikiLeaks released another batch of DNC emails, this time showing that interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile (a CNN contributor who took over for the disgraced Wasserman Schultz) had fed questions to the Clinton camp that would be asked during a CNN town hall debate against Trump. As far as ‘endangering US democracy’ goes, the Russians had nothing on that one. In fact, many furious voters were demanding that Clinton forfeit the presidency to Trump before any elections were even held.
A heavy footnote to this story is how Julian Assange and WikiLeaks got the DNC emails in the first place. On the one side is the story that ‘Russian hackers’ had cracked the DNC computers; on the other side, that an internal source within the DNC passed off the material. Regarding the second possibility, just days before the DNC email scandal broke, a DNC manager by the name of Seth Rich was gunned down on the streets of Washington, DC. This led conspiracy theorists to speculate that the young man might have been the source of the leak. Rich was murdered on July 10, while WikiLeaks issued the first of its DNC material on July 22.
While Assange refused to name the source of the DNC emails, it did not go unnoticed that WikiLeaks posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderer or murderers of Mr. Rich.
Finally, it is certainly the greatest coincidence that Julian Assange may be paraded in chains along Pennsylvania Avenue in the midst of a tense election year, and at a time when the Democrats desperately need a good distraction from the accumulating bad news, mostly on the economic front.
And as everyone knows, and no one better than Donald J. Trump, nobody is more enthusiastic about hosting show trials than the Democratic Party. Should Assange’s appeal process fail and he be extradited to the US, nobody should be surprised when the mainstream media, loyal to the Democratic Party, forgets that the prisoner before them is a fellow journalist with a duty to call out government malfeasance, seeing him rather as the individual who may have cost Hillary Clinton the throne in 2016 against the loathsome Orange Man.
Julian Assange can expect no justice in the US, nor even any sympathy, which is why London should never have agreed to extradite him to the Empire of Lies in the first place.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Men are men. Women are women. A man cannot become a woman. A woman cannot become a man. Men are better at some things than women. Women are better at some things than men. Marriage is between a man and a woman. We should not kill babies. Children should not be exploited or abused. Men should protect and provide for the family. Women should nurture and care for the family.
These statements were self-evident truths for thousands of years, only in the past few decades did they become “hateful” or “bigoted.” Satan is attempting to turn God’s creation upside down and invert it. Up is down, left is right, right is wrong, evil is good, good is evil. The “truth” is relative and whatever you want it to be. These are the lies of the enemy. This is the post-truth trash world.
We may live in a post-truth world, but that doesn’t mean that the objective Truth that has been revealed to us through God’s Word will not stand the tests of a world gone mad. Going against the Truth of God’s design for men, women, children, and families is like going against gravity: eventually, you’re going to fall back to earth.
I was having a discussion with my pastor about these things earlier this week and he said something that struck me: it should come as no surprise when worldly people fall into the trap of completely rejecting Truth, but what is astonishing to see is that people who call themselves Christians are buying into lies of the enemy wholesale without question.
Wear the mask. Don’t question it. Lock down the church. Don’t question it. Take the experimental DNA-altering aborted fetal tissue vaccine. Don’t question it. Accept the election results despite the rampant irregularities. Don’t question it. Support Congress sending $40 billion to Ukraine. Don’t question it. Hand over your guns. Don’t question it. Attack, demonize, and destroy anyone who questions it.
The rejection of Truth by Christians causes those of us who are grounded in God’s Truth to become incredibly frustrated, even dizzy at the prospect of trying to communicate effectively and wade through the adversary’s mountain of lies. This is what the enemy wants and we must fight back against the urge to stay silent. If Christians are denying God’s Truth when it is right in front of their faces we have a big problem and we need to course-correct, quickly. The only way to do that is by speaking the Truth loudly, boldly, and often.
Part of the problem is that we are trying to fight the enemy on their terms and in their battlefields. We are all guilty of this, myself included. We enter the adversary’s battleground–Twitter and Facebook for example–and expect to gain ground on land that the enemy controls where they can wipe us out with the click of a button. We consume news and media that is carefully crafted by the enemy and expect things to change by lending them our time and attention. We immerse ourselves in the culture of the enemy and are surprised when that culture turns on us.
If we are going to win a spiritual war, we must dare to stand for God’s Truth in this post-truth world, but how do we do that? Here are a few simple examples.
Boldly defend the sanctity of life in a world that praises child sacrifice.
Boldly defend the holiness of marriage between one man and one woman as God designed.
Boldly defend God’s creation and the unique roles and gifts God has given men and women.
Boldly rebuke the Den of Vipers and their wicked ways.
Boldly share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is a spiritual battle and therefore we must use spiritual weapons to expose and fight the enemies of Truth, including when those enemies of Truth happen to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must lovingly and boldly rebuke Christians who reject Truth in favor of political allegiances and narratives and let God handle the rest.
Jesus Christ and God’s Word are the ultimate sword and shield in this war.
The mere NAME of Jesus causes God’s enemies to lose their minds.
They have no recourse to fight back against you when you wield spiritual weapons against them. To smear and attack you they will need to smear and attack Jesus, and in doing so they show their hand. We have many spiritual weapons available to us: prayer, communal worship, fasting, and reading God’s Word to name a few. If you want to become a victorious warrior in the post-truth spiritual war the best way to do so is by using the spiritual weapons and gifts at our disposal.
Let me remind you of something important brothers and sisters: we have the power of the one and only Holy Creator God inside of us. Whom then shall we fear?
Jesus didn’t die on the cross for you to “feel good” about yourself or to live in apathetic complacency as His enemies mock, attack, and destroy Truth. He didn’t tell us to sit around getting crushed by the enemy waiting to die. We were commanded to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20) and Jesus is waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:13.)
So pick up your spiritual weapons: we are in the footstool making business, Christian.
Let us turn now to the Word of God, our most powerful spiritual weapon, for how we are to proceed in light of the truths that have been revealed to us as we wage spiritual battle in a post-truth world.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”[f]
“But my righteous[g] one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”[h]
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
To God be the Glory,
Andrew Torba CEO, Gab.com Jesus Christ is King of Kings
ELKINS v. UNITED STATES, 364 U.S. 206 (1960) 364 U.S. 206?? No. 126. Argued March 28-29, 1960. Decided June 27, 1960.
“In a government of laws,” said Mr. Justice Brandeis, “existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.” 277 U.S., at 485 . (Dissenting opinion.)