Tuesday, April 06, 2021

6 April, 2021

Killing while black: No jail

Two [black] girls, ages 13 and 15, who were charged with the murder and carjacking of a Pakistani immigrant killed last month while working at his job delivering food in Washington, DC, have reportedly reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Mohammad Anwar, 66, died when police said the girls, armed with a taser, sped off in his car as he clung to the driver's side with the door open and crashed seconds later just outside the ballpark of the Washington Nationals.

On Monday, the teens reportedly reached the plea deal with prosecutors that would ensure they will not be held past the age of 21 nor be placed in a prison facility.

Last week, the teens appeared via video in DC Superior Court as their lawyer and prosecutor, Bonnie Lindemann, discussed the case with Judge Lynn Leibovitz.

According to The Washington Post, Lindemann gave no indication that her office would try to transfer the older teen's case to adult court. Under DC law, the 13-year-old could not be prosecuted as an adult due to her age.

The judge set the next court date for April 20 to discuss the status of the case.

A video of the incident shows the encounter unfolding in a minute and a half, ending with Anwar's Honda Accord on its side, the girls climbing out and a fatally injured Anwar sprawled and motionless on the sidewalk.

Police have not identified the juvenile suspects, one of whom is from the DC and the other is from neighboring Fort Washington, Maryland.

Anwar, who lived in suburban Springfield, Virginia, was at his delivery job for Uber Eats when he was killed.

The 90-second clip begins with Anwar struggling to regain control of his car after the two girls made their way inside.

'They're thieves,' he is heard saying as he attempts to pull the girl out of the driver seat of the parked car. 'This is my car!'

The teen suddenly accelerates, sending the car speeding down the 1200 block of Van Street SE with Anwar still clinging on to the driver side's door.

At one point, the car is seen smashing into a metal fence from its left side, crushing the delivery driver between the barrier and car door.

As the car continues to speed off into the distance, a screeching sound is heard followed by a loud crash.

The bystander filming the incident runs over to the site of the crash to find the car rolled over and the two girls climbing out of the wreckage.

Anwar's body can be seen lying motionless on the corner on the sidewalk, as witnesses scramble to get help.

Two National Guardsmen who were in the area removed the juvenile suspects from the overturned car and detained them until police responded to the scene and arrested them.

Anwar was eventually rushed to a hospital but could not be saved. He was ejected onto the sidewalk and sustained fatal injuries, including head trauma and broken bones.

He was described in a GoFundMe post as 'a hard-working Pakistani immigrant who came to the United States to create a better life for him and his family'.


Portland Police Officers Leaving in Droves, Give Damning Reasons in Exit Interviews

If politicians and the people who elected them in the first place don't want police to do their jobs and don’t seem to care about the ramifications of them not enforcing the law, there seems to be little incentive for officers to stay on the job, especially when they’re putting their lives on the line every day.

In Portland, Oregon, where violence has skyrocketed after the city council cut several police programs amid calls for change, officers are leaving in droves. Portland's police department said the number of mid-career cops heading for the exit was "unprecedented." And in some cases, they're moving on for lower-paying jobs.

The exit interviews from the "overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out" officers are quite telling.

According to The Oregonian, one retiring detective wrote that officers were shown "zero support."

"The city council are raging idiots, in addition to being stupid. Additionally, the mayor and council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftist and anarchist fantasy. What’s worse is ppb [Portland Police Bureau] command (lt. and above) is arrogantly incompetent and cowardly."

The retiring officer continued: "The only difference between the Titanic and PPB? Deck chairs and a band."

Since July 1, 2020, 115 officers have left the department, which is "one of the biggest waves of departures in recent memory," the paper said.


Christian Conservative Crowdfunding Site Under Attack

The left is coming after conservatives on every platform. It’s not just social media users but the owners of those companies and other platforms. GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site that launched in 2015 to help Christians raise money for things like mission trips and medical bills, has been dragged into the fray merely for allowing a fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse. The left wants to shut the site down, hacking it and trying to get payment processors and hosting companies to drop the site. There were 700 complaints to GiveSendGo’s hosting provider in January alone. The left smears GiveSendGo by calling it “a platform for Trumpist hate.” Discover Card will not allow its customers to use the card for donations, and Facebook banned links to the Rittenhouse fundraiser.

I spoke with siblings Jacob Wells and Heather Wilson who founded and run the site.

GiveSendGo is different from the narcissistic GoFundMe in that the focus of fundraising is tied to sharing the hope that you have. It’s not divorced from the money. The pair generously donate 10% of the proceeds they receive to fundraisers on the site.

The site could have ducked taking on fundraisers for controversial people like Rittenhouse, but once the siblings observed “death by deplatforming” they knew they had to take a stand. Jake Gardner was a Nebraska bar owner who committed suicide after being indicted in the fatal shooting of a black protester. The tragic series of events began during riots after the death of George Floyd. Gardner’s dad pushed a protester who would not leave the area near the bar. The protester pushed back, and so the younger Gardner displayed his handgun. Two protesters jumped on his back and he fired two warning shots. They left, but James Scurlock, a young black man who had been involved in vandalism earlier, tackled him and put him in a headlock. Gardner begged Scurlock to release him, but he didn’t, so he shot him.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine wasn’t even going to press charges at first, believing Gardner had acted in self defense. But obviously due to public pressure, he asked a grand jury to review his decision. Meanwhile, Gardner was trying to raise money for his defense, but was being deplatformed everywhere. People like Nebraska State Sen. Megan Hunt piled on and incited more hate by calling him a white supremacist. His bar was known for hosting Republican events, which no doubt intensified the vicious reaction. But he wasn’t a hateful person, in 2017 he went to the Trump inauguration and was interviewed about the Women’s March, and he said they have a right to be out there protesting.

Gardner moved to California to escape the hate. A decorated veteran who had served two tours in Iraq, he suffered two brain injuries. He found out about GiveSendGo due to the publicity surrounding Rittenhouse, but it was too late. Just two days after the fundraiser was started, the jury indicted him for manslaughter and other felonies, and he killed himself. The Jake Gardner family has since set up its own GiveSendGo fundraiser.

Wells and Wilson said “never again.” GiveSendGo is going to stand and allow people on both sides of a legal battle to raise funds for legal fees, instead of censoring people they don’t think are worthy, they are going to be a platform that provides hope, forgiveness and second chances. They do not feel the court of public opinion should override the justice system. Fortunately the Rittenhouse fundraiser, which is what first put GiveSendGo in the spotlight, helped the young man when needed. Rittenhouse said the fundraiser is what got him through the time when he was locked up in jail.

And it hasn’t been easy. Wilson had to change her phone number after the calls started coming in swearing at her and calling her a white supremacist. One left-wing activist used the site to raise money for a radical LGBT cause clearly to harass them. But he ended up being surprised at how kindly he was treated, admitting on Facebook that they really do stand for freedom.

Other famous conservatives who have been targeted who use the site include Trump attorney Sidney Powell, former USPS employee Richard Hopkins, who told Project Veritas about alleged voter fraud, and Melissa Carone, the elections worker who testified during Michigan legislative hearings about voter fraud. Matt Braynard, former Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign, raised $675,437 for his Voter Integrity Project to investigate election fraud, exceeding his goal of $590,000. The left has figured out that GiveSendGo isn’t going to shut down these types of fundraisers, and has stopped bombarding them with complaints about them.

The siblings are still feeling out the parameters of what is acceptable content. While the site focuses on allowing free speech, they have standards, so profanity is not allowed. They have a prayer team, which calls people when they start a campaign as their prayer partner. There’s a prayer button that people can select instead of contributing money, and a prayer wall for people to post requests for prayer.

Wells and Wilson tell me they are well-prepared for attempts to shut them down. They have backup plans ready to go at the flip of a switch, such as alternative hosting servers. They are beginning to incorporate cryptocurrency. The frustrating thing they have noticed is that 90% of the complaints come from fake email addresses — it’s just a very small number of activists faking all the outrage against them.

It’s a hypocritical double standard that GoFundMe allows fundraisers for all kinds of evil people, but won’t let a lot of regular conservatives fundraise. It’s even more appalling that the left is trying to destroy alternative platforms like GiveSendGo. We must stay vigilant, shedding light on the situation, because eventually the woke crowd will be coming for the rest of us, too.


The psychedelic ibogaine is illegal, potentially deadly— and could inspire new treatments for some of mainstream medicine’s most undertreated conditions

Once dismissed as a fringe, counterculture vice, psychedelics are rapidly approaching acceptance in mainstream medicine. These drugs uniquely change the brain, and a person’s awareness of experiences, in the span of just a few hours. This fast-acting shift could be useful in mental- health treatments, and research is already supporting this notion. Just one dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, was recently shown to ease depression and anxiety in cancer patients—an outcome that lasted for years after their trip. Researchers are recognizing that psychedelics can provide a radical new approach to mental-health treatments at a time when innovation is desperately needed.

For addiction in particular, the need has never been greater. More Americans died from drug overdoses last year than ever before, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Weekly counts of drug overdoses were up to 45% higher in 2020 than in the same periods in 2019, according to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in February. Available treatments can’t meet the need. They aren’t effective for everyone, may require long-term adherence and are sometimes addictive themselves.

Ibogaine is one of the most promising psychedelics for addiction. Few people have heard of it, it’s illicit in the U.S., and nobody does it for fun. It’s not pleasant. It could kill you. But for extinguishing addiction—and a range of other issues—many people swear there’s nothing like it. Derived from the root bark of an African shrub, it first entered the U.S. consciousness in the 1960s thanks to Howard Lotsof—then a 19-year-old completely outside the medical establishment—who experimented with the drug and noticed it wiped out his heroin addiction. It did the same for several of Lotsof’s peers who tried it in New York City. (See sidebar, page 86.) He found ibogaine so helpful that he launched a campaign to get researchers to dig into it more deeply. But pharmaceutical companies didn’t bite. Ibogaine is a naturally occurring plant compound and therefore difcult to patent; plus, nobody knew exactly how it worked, and drug companies historically did not see addiction medications as profitable. In 1970, the federal government classified ibogaine (along with other psychedelics) as a Schedule I drug, declaring it had no medical use and a high potential for abuse. But case studies in which ibogaine had helped heroin users successfully detox— including Lotsof’s New York City group and another from the Netherlands in the early ’90s—were promising enough that one U.S. government agency took notice.

In 1991, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) decided to fund animal research into ibogaine; the resulting studies (and later ones) in rodents found that ibogaine reduced how much heroin, morphine, cocaine and alcohol the animals consumed. This work primed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to greenlight a clinical trial of ibogaine in humans for cocaine dependence, but it fell apart in early stages because of a lack of funding and contractual disputes. NIDA abandoned its interest in ibogaine, citing safety as one concern. There still has been no completed clinical trial in the U.S. to test ibogaine in people.

Now, for the first time, some upstart pharmaceutical companies, including ATAI Life Sciences and Mindmed, are realizing there’s money to be made here, and they’re racing to develop ibogaine or drugs that act like it. But as they start the long slog of chasing FDA approval through clinical trials—with outcomes far from clear—many people are desperate enough to skip the U.S. and try ibogaine in parts of the world where it’s unregulated.

Plenty of these people have shared their experiences with researchers through case reports and survey data. The success stories sound eerily alike: a single dose of ibogaine can take you on a visual journey of your most significant life events. You’re able to forgive yourself and others for past traumas, and the drug seems to rewire your brain, zapping withdrawal symptoms and extinguishing opioid cravings within hours—with results that can last for weeks, months and sometimes even longer. Unlike buprenorphine and methadone, two common approved medications to overcome opioid addictions, ibogaine is not an opioid substitute. “Ibogaine seems to resolve these signs of opioid withdrawal by a mechanism that is different from an opioid effect, and I think that is what is so interesting about it,” says Dr. Kenneth Alper, a longtime ibogaine researcher and an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at New York University School of Medicine.

Scientists don’t know exactly what ibogaine does to the brain. There’s some recent evidence—in rats—that ibogaine may increase neurotrophic factors in the brain, which are proteins that encourage neuron growth and plasticity (the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood). These appear to be key in helping the brain remodel to overcome an assault like a substance-use disorder. But since other psychedelics also increase neural plasticity, something more is likely going on.

Human clinical trials for ibogaine and addiction are under way. In October, researchers in Spain began testing ibogaine in 20 people trying to wean themselves offmethadone. And in an upcoming clinical trial set to begin in Brazil once the pandemic is under control, researchers at the University of São Paulo will give different doses of ibogaine to 12 alcoholic patients to see if it’s safe and effective at reducing the amount they drink.

But many are not waiting for studies. If there’s even a chance that taking ibogaine will help a person overcome addiction, many are willing to try it. Ibogaine is unregulated in many countries, neither illegal nor approved, and that gray zone has allowed dozens of ibogaine treatment centers to pop up worldwide. Americans desperate to shake their addictions spend thousands of dollars at these clinics, which vary wildly in their practices and treatment standards. Some facilities use licensed physicians and monitor heart activity and other vital signs throughout the trip, while other clinics don’t.

Success rates also vary. Some people stop using drugs completely and stay sober for years. Others die. Because of a lack of controlled ibogaine trials, it’s difficult to quantify the risks, but the threats to cardiovascular health are particularly concerning. The drug may block certain channels in the heart and slow down heart rate, which can cause fatal arrhythmias. In one observational study published in 2018, researchers followed 15 people as they received ibogaine treatment for opioid dependence in New Zealand, where ibogaine is legal by prescription, and interviewed them for a year after. Eight of the 11 patients who completed the study cut back on or stopped using opioids, and depression improved in all of them. One person died during the treatment, likely because of an ibogaineinduced heart arrhythmia.

But how much risk is too much when nothing else works?

Four rounds of rehab hadn’t touched Bobby Laughlin’s heroin addiction. He didn’t believe the hype about ibogaine but figured it was his last shot, so he traveled to a clinic in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Before the flight, he used heroin—and it was the last opiate he ever took. The most valuable outcome of Laughlin’s 30-hour ibogaine experience was that it let him bypass withdrawals, he says, opening a window of opportunity. “One thing that was made very clear to me was that I had to change my life dramatically after the experience if I wanted to capitalize on it and have longterm sobriety,” he says. Laughlin started a private-equity firm in L.A., then a family. “I’ve been able to establish myself,” he says, eight years later. “All roads lead back to ibogaine as the start.”

Alan Davis, a Johns Hopkins University adjunct assistant professor researching psychedelics, has been hired by several clinics outside the U.S.— including the one Laughlin visited—to follow up with clients to see what, if anything, changed in their lives after the treatment. In 2017, Davis published a study in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies in which he surveyed 88 people—most of whom had been using opioids daily for at least four years—who had visited an ibogaine clinic in Mexico from 2012 to 2015. About 80% said ibogaine eliminated or drastically reduced their withdrawal symptoms; half said their opioid cravings diminished, and 30% said that after ibogaine, they never used opioids again. Ibogaine “is not a magic bullet,” Davis says, but even a short-term disruption of the sort the psychedelic provides can give addicted people the space and time to make needed changes to their environment, behavioral patterns and relationships.

Addiction may be only the beginning. In a 2020 research paper published in the journal Chronic Stress, Davis and his team found that among 51 U.S. veterans who had taken ibogaine in Mexico from 2017 to 2019, there were “very large reductions” in symptoms related to every domain they measured, including suicidal thoughts, PTSD, depression, anxiety and cognitive impairment. “Their improvement [was] way above what we would see with typical currently approved treatments,” Davis says. “Even if you cut these effect sizes in half” — assuming that the data aren’t as accurate as they’d be in a rigorous, controlled trial—“that’s still two to three times more powerful than our currently approved treatments.” More than 80% of the vets surveyed said the psychedelic experience was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives.

“We’re not actually healing problems with medications that we currently have; we’re just trying to treat the symptoms,” Davis says. Psychedelics like ibogaine, on the other hand, seem “to be showing that we might actually be getting below just symptom reduction into a place where true healing can happen.”

Despite intriguing initial data like these, modern pharmaceutical companies until recently had not touched ibogaine. Now they’re interested. ATAI Life Sciences, a three-year-old German biotech company focused on psychedelics for mental health, is trying to develop ibogaine as an FDA- approved drug to treat opioid-use disorder. If clinical trials, which are slated to begin in the U.K. in May, support ibogaine’s efficacy, the company’s hope is that an ibogaine capsule would be used at detox centers in the U.S. “I’m a hardcore neuropharmacologist and physician by training,” says Dr. Srinivas Rao, co-founder and chief scientific officer at ATAI. “I’ve viewed it a little skeptically.. . but the stories with ibogaine keep surfacing and [keep] being very similar. People seem to get a lot out of this experience.” ATAI is also pursuing noribogaine—the substance ibogaine breaks down to in the body—as a possible addiction treatment.

Fears about how ibogaine affects the heart have scared away most establishment pharmaceutical companies, but Rao calls those worries overblown. “It does hit some of these channels in the heart, and in very uncontrolled settings, it’s certainly been associated with issues of arrhythmia,” he says. “In the context of more controlled settings with medical support, it has not really been associated with any kind of arrhythmia or significant adverse outcome.” Careful dosing and monitoring can lessen risk, Rao says, and trials will eventually uncover ibogaine’s true cardiovascular impact. However, some risk might be worth it in the context of the drug’s potential benefits. “If this were treating acne, of course—this is not a great choice,” he says. But for opioid addiction, which kills about 128 Americans per day, “some degree of cardio vascular risk is probably acceptable.”

Mindmed, a U.S.-based company aiming to develop medicines based on psychedelics, is pursuing a synthetic derivative of ibogaine called 18-MC for opioid addiction. “We do see merit in hallucinogenic drugs,” says J.R. Rahn, CEO and cofounder of Mindmed. “We just don’t see the merit of ibogaine, because I don’t think anyone wants to take medicine and have the risk of having a heart attack.” The company’s hope is that 18-MC will have the same impact on withdrawal as ibogaine but won’t come with the psychedelic or heart effects. Mindmed’s Phase 1 trial in Australia has so far found no adverse cardio vascular effects with 18-MC. Phase 2 trials, to test if 18-MC lessens opioid withdrawal, are expected to begin this year.

Other synthetic compounds that act like ibogaine are on the horizon. In a study published in December in the journal Nature, researchers at the University of California, Davis, engineered a compound that’s structurally similar to ibogaine but less damaging to the heart. It also appears to be non hallucinogenic, at least in mice. Called tabernanthalog, or TBG, it increased neural plasticity, reduced heroin- and alcohol- seeking behavior, and even had antidepressant effects in rodents; researchers are considering pursuing a study of TBG’s effects on humans.

These innovations are still years off. But in the meantime, Marcus Capone knows that his community of specialoperations veterans can’t afford to wait. In 2019, he and his wife Amber started a nonprofit called Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) to fund those who want to receive psychedelic therapies like ibogaine abroad. They’ve funded about 300 veterans so far, with more than 100 currently on the waitlist. VETS is also financing research exploring what ibogaine does to the brains of veterans with symptoms of head trauma.

Marcus hopes that someday, Americans who need it will be able to receive the treatment that, in a single dose, saved his life and gave him a new mission. “This word has to get out,” he says.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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