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HomeAll The NewsTRUMPET NOTES: December 14,2022

TRUMPET NOTES: December 14,2022

Authorities Seize Lethal Quantities of Fentanyl, Meth

KAIT reported last week that the 2nd Judicial District Drug Task Force seized 100 pounds of meth and 390 grams of fentanyl in Northeast Arkansas earlier this month. The drug task force reportedly is made up of law enforcement from multiple agencies.

According to the DEA, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose. That means 390 grams of pure fentanyl would be enough to kill as many as 195,000 people — nearly every man, woman and child in Little Rock.

In 2019 and 2021, the DEA and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission reported that China and Mexico are the primary sources of illicit fentanyl in the U.S.

In November, the U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions against the La Nueva Familia Michoacana drug cartel from Mexico for smuggling illicit drugs — including fentanyl — across the United States.

Earlier this fall, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warned parents about the increase in “rainbow fentanyl” pills that look like candy.

Last month, the FBI arrested 45 individuals believed to be tied to large-scale trafficking of fentanyl, marijuana and other drugs in Arkansas.

Nationwide, fentanyl, marijuana and other drugs are big business for drug cartels.

States like California, Colorado and Oregon hoped that legalizing marijuana would weaken the cartels, but instead the opposite happened. Illicit marijuana operations have skyrocketed in those states, and the opioid epidemic continues. (familycouncil.org)

Second Appeals Court Blocks “Transgender Mandate”

A second federal appeals court has blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to require doctors and hospitals to perform gender-transition procedures, as well as abortions, over their objections.

On Dec. 9, The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a permanent injunction that barred enforcement of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that has become known as the “transgender mandate.” A three-judge panel of the appeals court, which is based in St. Louis, unanimously affirmed a North Dakota federal judge’s decision that the Catholic entities that challenged the regulation were entitled to protection under a federal law that guarantees free exercise of religion.

In August, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously endorsed a permanent injunction against the HHS rule issued by a federal judge in Texas. The Biden administration declined to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court by the 90-day deadline in late November.

In a similar fashion to the Fifth Circuit’s August ruling, the Eighth Circuit opinion found the Catholic entities had a valid claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 federal law that prohibits the government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion. The government may gain an exemption if it can show it has a compelling interest and is using the “least restrictive means” to further that interest.

In his opinion for the panel, Eighth Circuit Chief Judge Lavenski Smith said federal judge Peter Welte was correct in finding the “intrusion upon the Catholic Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion is sufficient to show irreparable harm.” The panel agreed with other circuit courts that have ruled that showing “a likely RFRA violation satisfies” the conclusion there is “irreparable harm.”

During the Obama administration, HHS’ original mandate, issued in 2016, defined sex to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.” The Trump administration issued a rule in 2020 that rescinded the Obama-era policy by returning to the ordinary interpretation of the word “sex.”

Under President Biden, however, HHS announced in May 2021 a reinterpretation of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual orientation includes homosexuality, bisexuality and pansexuality, while gender identity refers to the way a person perceives himself or herself regardless of biology at birth.

HHS issued a proposed rule earlier this year that largely revives the 2016 regulation. Critics say the proposal would not only force doctors, clinics and hospitals to perform procedures to which they object but require health-insurance companies to cover ones they find objectionable.

The proposed HHS rule is another in a series of actions by the Biden administration to support abortion access and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights. These include executive orders by Biden regarding both matters. (baptistpress.com)

Up to 29 States Could

Ban Abortions

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 14 states have banned abortions and are either protecting unborn babies from the moment of conception or have heartbeat laws protecting babies when their heartbeat can be detected at six weeks. Some states have done both.

But the battle to save babies from abortions is not over. Another eight states are currently fighting in court to get their abortion ban or heartbeat law upheld. A few more states could see abortion bans proposed in their state legislatures during the next legislative session, especially if elections in those states yield a pro-life governor or a pro-life legislature.

The state of Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming are all fighting in court to protect their abortion bans so babies can be saved. Iowa appears likely to keep its abortion ban in place, thanks to a change in the makeup of the state Supreme Court and reversing a decision falsely claiming the state constitution allows a right to abortion. South Carolina’s heartbeat bill will likely be upheld by its conservative Supreme Court — and the same is expected in the rest of the states. Ultimately, if all of these abortion bans are upheld, 22 states will protect babies from abortions.

Other states also have the potential to pass abortion bans protecting babies, including Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Montana and Kansas. If every one of the states can ban abortions, then 29 total states — almost three-fifths of America — would protect babies from abortions. It’s virtually impossible to see any of the other 21 states banning abortions any time in the near future because they are run by pro-abortion Democrats. (lifenews.com)

Texas Bill Could Ban Anyone Under 18 From Social Media

In Texas, using social media could soon go the way of voting — you can’t do it until you’re 18 years old.

State Rep. Jared Patterson (R) filed legislation on Dec. 7 to ban children under 18 from using social media platforms, an attempt to curb the negative side effects of internet use, like depression and anxiety.

Defending his proposal, Patterson likened social media use to smoking cigarettes, a trend Americans once believed was harmless when, in reality, it causes severe damage and increases the likelihood of contracting lung cancer. Similarly, he believes social media is negatively impacting children.

“Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, suicide and mental health issues,” the lawmaker said, according to KDFW-TV.

In a press release, Patterson described social media as “the pre-1964 cigarette.”

“The Texas legislature must act this session to protect children because, thus far, the social media platforms have failed to do so. HB S76 is a solution to this crisis.”

Greg Sindelar, CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, lauded Patterson for the legislation. He said the problems posed by social media — particularly to minors — are “demonstrable not just in the internal research from the very social media companies that create these addictive products, but in the skyrocketing depression, anxiety and even suicide rates we are seeing afflict children.”

If approved and signed into law, social media sites would be required to verify users’ age via photo identification. Furthermore, it would give parents legal avenues to request the removal of an account illegally created by their underage children.

It does not seem out of the realm of possibility that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) would be open to such legislation, particularly given he recently signed into law a bill banning TikTok from state-owned devices. That law comes amid a flurry of concerns over the Chinese-owned app.

Additionally, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) filed a lawsuit against TikTok on Wednesday, alleging the executives at the video-sharing platform mislead users about the Chinese government’s ability to access their data as well as minors’ exposure to mature content.

Security concerns over TikTok have been swirling since 2020, when then-President Donald Trump unsuccessfully tried to ban the app from the U.S. market, ultimately calling on parent company ByteDance to sell the popular platform to an American company. That sale, though, never took place.

Last month, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, admitted Trump “was right on TikTok.”

“If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok… the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict,” he said. (faithwire.com)

Chinese Protestors Can

Make a Difference

One Chinese American woman living in Texas described the situation of her parents in China who were suffering under the government’s continuing “zero COVID” policy. “My parents have been locked inside their home for over a month, and their door is locked from the outside. They can’t exit, even to go outside to the grocery store,” she said. It is under intense restrictions like these that 10 people died in an apartment fire in China’s Xinjiang province after COVID restrictions hampered the ability of local emergency services to respond effectively.

The horrific incident sparked a surprising wave of protests in cities across China at the end of November. The main target of the protests was the government’s lockdown measures, but the pent-up frustrations of Chinese citizens went much further. Some student protestors shouted, “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!” It is not an exaggeration to say that these protestors are risking their lives to make these statements.

Protests rarely happen under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) tight-fisted authoritarian regime. It is even more rare that they prove to be effective. Yet, a new 10-point order issued by the Chinese National Health Commission on Dec. 7 indicates that the CCP is rolling back some of its most extreme COVID restrictions. The new rules state that citizens who contract the virus and exhibit mild or no symptoms are no longer required to be admitted into a state-run facility and can now quarantine at home.

Demonstrations on the scale of the anti-lockdown protests perhaps have not been seen since the Tiananmen Square Massacre, when Chinese citizens learned just how far the communist government would go to secure its own power and crush peaceful protests. Chinese authorities were quick to insist that the anti-lockdown protests last month were instigated by “foreign forces.” Student protestors in Beijing asked at a rally, “Was it foreign forces that started the fire in Xinjiang?” and “We can’t even access foreign internet, how are foreign forces meant to be communicating to us?”

China’s internet is restricted and widely censored. However, resourceful protestors have, at times, found ways around it. One method in the past utilized Apple’s AirDrop feature to share information and images among fellow protestors. AirDrop uses wireless Bluetooth connections between phones, making it difficult for Chinese censors to monitor and interrupt discussions. This was used as recently as October, when an anonymous protestor hung a sign over a highway bridge. However, on Nov. 9, a new Apple update limited the use of the AirDrop feature, specifically in China.

Protestors started to simply hold up blank sheets of white paper at rallies, symbolizing the internet censorship that swiftly erases the voices of dissenters. A4 size white paper was promptly banned from being sold online or in stores. China’s communist leaders have long been fearful of protests. Now, they even fear blank sheets of paper.

Sadly, China is becoming an increasingly closed society. In February 2022, China’s National Immigration Administration announced that it would no longer renew passports for non-essential travel due to “great security risks” posed by the waning COVID-19 pandemic. Massive COVID quarantine camps have sprouted up across the country, capable of holding tens of thousands of people.

The extreme and oppressive nature of China’s COVID lockdowns is just the symptom. The real problem is the longstanding systematic oppression of the CCP, and Chinese people are clearly getting fed up with it. American leaders should not let the courageous protests of young Chinese citizens be snuffed out and forgotten. We must amplify their message and remind them they are not alone in their desire to see China become a more free and just society. (washingtonstand.com)

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