Trump Is Freaking Out About the Wrong Border: Killer Fentanyl Is Coming From Canada

President Donald Trump has made building a wall along the southern border the backbone of his anti-drug policy to keep deadly narcotics like fentanyl from entering the country from Mexico.

But last month, as the president was delivering remarks at yet another public listening session on the opioid crisis, focusing his attention on a multimillion-dollar security investment on Americas southwest border, law enforcement officials in Canada announced they had shut down a massive flow of deadly narcotics coming to the U.S. from the opposite direction.

The trafficking operation, based in Calgary, Albertajust a three-hour drive north of the Montana borderwas capable of producing an estimated 18,000 counterfeit pills an hour for export to the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Cutting dyes on seized pill presses bore the stamps 80 and CDN, which are commonly associated with the prescription painkiller OxyContin. But there was no oxycodone (the active ingredient in Oxys) to be found. Instead, investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team discovered 18 kilos of suspected fentanyl in two different locations.

The investigation began in 2016 when police near Provo, Utah, pulled over a pickup truck carrying three men and 200 pounds of methamphetamine. Press reports at the time described it as the states largest ever meth bust, valued at $1.5 million on the street.

The men were all Canadian, and police would soon learn that meth trafficking was just a small part of the bilateral flow of drugs the group was moving across the U.S. border with Canada.

Had their trip been successful that day, the men would have continued traveling north on I-15, through Montana, and into Canada for their final stretch into Calgary. Thats where the leader of their group, Allistair Chapmanonce a rising star in Albertas competitive amateur ice hockey communityhad assembled a multi-national narcotics enterprise that exported counterfeit pills from Canada to the U.S. and returned home with cocaine and methamphetamine trafficked from Mexico. Primarily this group acted as a wholesale drug distributor. Were talking about large scale drug shipments at the multi kilo level, said Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy, a spokesperson for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) in Calgary, at a press conference on March 1 announcing the arrests of Chapman and five associates on drug and firearms charges.

At the time of the raid authorities said the pill presses were being used to manufacture steroids, but tests showed they were contaminated with fentanyl.

By dismantling this lab we cut off a significant amount of fentanyl, McCurdy said.

Investigators believe the group was also responsible for a double homicide committed in 2017 outside a Calgary shopping center that they believe was tied to a drug dispute.

The bust was the third major fentanyl seizure in Alberta in less than a year, and the second since January. Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour. Then in January, rescue personnel responding to a house fire discovered 16 kilos of carfentanila powerful synthetic opioid believed to be 10,000-times more powerful than morphinemixed with a cutting agent in the basement of another house in Edmonton. The powder was dyed pink and blue (indicating is was prepared to be pressed into pills).

For the Edmonton Police Service, in respect to carfentanil, its the largest seizure that Im aware of, Inspector Shane Perka of the Edmonton Police Service told reporters after the bust. This is a very substantial seizure.

Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour.

Some of that fentanyl is making it onto U.S. soil. From 2013 to 2016 fatalities linked to illicit fentanyl in the U.S. rose more than 500 percent; most of those who died, including the musician Prince, didnt choose to take the drug.

A report this month indicates that Prince, who died in Minnesota (which shares a border with Canada) had exceedingly high levels of the synthetic narcotic in his system. Authorities found an assortment of counterfeit pills in the musicians home.

Investigators have not revealed where the fentanyl that killed Prince came from or how he obtained it, but the Minnesota Department of Health has identified Canada as a primary conduit for Chinese-made synthetic opioids entering the state.

As The Daily Beast reported in 2016, in recent years Chinese labs have become a supplier of powerful fentanyl analogs designed to skirt U.S. law by modifying the chemical structure of the drugs.Last year China banned more than 100 of these analogs, and over the past two years the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled dozens of new novel opioids with close chemical structures to fentanyl. However they were unable to keep up with innovative clandestine chemists, and in February the DEA classified all chemicals with a structure similar to fentanyl under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada is hardly a new player when it comes to satisfying demand for contraband in the U.S.

Long-established smuggling routes exist across Americas notoriously porous northern border, which has 120 points of entry, and stretches more than 5,500 milesencompassing large areas of remote wilderness and numerous waterways.

The Northern Border doesnt always make headlines, but for too long it has been understaffed and there have not been sufficient resources to effectively combat drug trafficking and other crimes that can come across the border, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who has sponsored legislation to strengthen security at the U.S.-Canada border.

During Prohibition, its estimated that 60-90 percent of booze entering the United States came from distilleries and breweries north of the U.S. border.

The border between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit was a nexus of post-war drug trafficking; and until the early 1980s, heroin traffickers associated with fragments of the French Connection were still funneling large quantities of heroin from French-speaking Quebec to distribution networks in New York.

In 1987, federal prosecutors in Florida indicted 49 people in a massive cross-border conspiracy that was responsible for supplying 3.5 million counterfeit quaaludes to the U.S. market, or 70 percent of the illegal trade in the drug, according to prosecutors. And in 2008, authorities shut down a marijuana smuggling operation that had been shuttling hundreds of pounds of high-quality pot across the border from Ontario and into Western Pennsylvania disguised as commercial food shipments.

In recent years, Canada emerged as a global epicenter of synthetic and counterfeit drug manufacturing and processingwith everything from MDMA to fake Viagra flowing from clandestine labs north of the U.S. border. A 2005 State Department cable identified Canada as a significant producer and transit country for precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs, and a hot spot of rising clandestine lab activity.

From 2012 to 2015 more than 500 pounds of MDMA was seized at the northern border, accounting for more than 90 percent of all Customs seizures of the drug.

We are increasingly concerned about the multitude of routes of travel these illegal and grey-market synthetic drugs are taking as they come into the region, and Canada is one route we feel bears watching, said Jeremiah Daley, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a program run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. While cross-border cooperation remains very strong with Canadian law enforcement, with so much focus being placed on our Southern Border, with good reason, we still need to be vigilant about threats coming from the North.

In 2016 alone, U.S. Customs officials reported 2,015 drug arrests at land crossings at the U.S.-Canada border, while Canadian officials made more than 18,000 drug seizures. Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which designer drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics, such as cocaine, for shipment back to Canada.

Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics like cocaine for shipment to Canada.

A dozen U.S. states share a border with Canada, including some of those hit hardest by the overdose crisis, such as New Hampshire and Vermont.

A State Department document published in 2011 describes the difficulty of policing the flow of drugs over these border crossings:

The stealth with which both natural and synthetic drugs including marijuana, MDMA, and methamphetamine are produced in Canada and trafficked to the United States, makes it extremely difficult to measure the overall impact of such transshipments from this shared border country, although U.S. law enforcement agencies record considerable seizures of these substances from Canada.

For years hockey bags have been described as a favored means of moving drugs from the U.S. to Canada, and in some cases they have been literally thrown across the border for pickup on the other side.

A story published in the Canadian news magazine MacLeans in 2009 refers to Canada as The New Global Drug Lord, citing data showing that more than 60 percent of the methamphetamine seized in Japan and more than 80 percent in Australia is synthesized in Canada.

While the fentanyl crisis is often treated like a monolith in the U.S. press, there are wide geographical variations in supply of the drug. Mexico remains the dominant supplier of illicitly manufactured powdered fentanyl in most major heroin markets, but the first wave of fentanyl overdoses following the crackdown on prescription-drug abuse in the U.S. was driven largely by a wave of adulterated pills, many of the them from Canada.

Part of the blame lays with the pharmaceutical industry.

When Purdue Pharmaceutical introduced a new abuse-deterrent OxyContin in the U.S. in 2010which made it more difficult to crush for snorting and shootingthe original formulation remained on the market in Canada for another two years.

Smuggling of OxyContin from Canada to the U.S. spiked.

Im talking about trafficking organizations that are bringing in a thousand pills or so at a time, said James Burns, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administrations operations in the state of New York.

Then, suddenly, OxyContin dried up in the Canadian market as well. In May 2013, just months after Purdue began withdrawing the drug from the Canadian market, authorities in Montreal seized 10,000 pills made of acetyl fentanyl in a microwave oven and toaster that were destined for Colorado. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration enough additional material was seized to make three million more pills.

The RCMP blames much of the trafficking on criminal groups with connections to Asian source countries, where the precursors for most synthetic drugs are sourced. The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says Asian gangs are especially strong in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Torontoall cities where fentanyl is endemic. According to published reports, the powerful 14K and Sun Yee On triads are suppliers of precursor chemicals to Mexicos Sinaloa Cartel.

Much of the focus is on transnational shipments of the drugs and their precursor ingredients from China. And Asian organized crime groups in Canada have been implicated in a number of cross-border drug trafficking schemes over the years. A 2011 report from the Department of Justice said Vietnamese and Chinese gangs produce tens of millions of [MDMA] tablets for the U.S. market, smuggling the drugs through border crossings in Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont.

Last year, when federal authorities in the U.S. unveiled their first indictment of Chinese nationals for trafficking fentanyl they traced shipments to from China via Canada. The investigation was launched following the death of an 18-year-old North Dakota man.

Five Canadians were arrested as part of the trafficking ring.

Fentanyl is easier to synthesize in a lab than MDMA, and Canadian syndicates are not only pressing pills but also manufacturing the drug.

Between 2011 and 2015, six clandestine labs were identified in Canada where illicit fentanyl production occurred or was intended to occur, according to Health Canada.

In 2015 authorities in Alberta seized 100 kilograms of the fentanyl precursor N-phenethylpiperidinone (NPP) at the Edmonton International Airport. They said the precursor was capable of producing 38 million fentanyl pills. The seizure led to a nine-month investigation dubbed Project Alchemy that ultimately turned up four kilos of the synthetic opioid W-18, 3,200 fentanyl pills, 2.5 kilos of methamphetamine, and more fentanyl precursor chemicals.

Canadian authorities are so concerned about transnational trafficking in designer opioids that they issued an advisory in January describing red flags for exposing money laundering tied to the importation of fentanyl or precursors used to make the drug.

The Department of Justice declined comment on the administrations commitment to northern border security.However, the emerging threat of synthetic drugs trafficked from Canada has not gone unnoticed by officials in the U.S. In 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Northern Border Security Review Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Heitkamp and passed Congress with bipartisan support. As a result of the law, last year the U.S. government issued its inaugural Northern Border Threat Assessment identifying bilateral drug trafficking as the single greatest threat along the U.S.-Canada border.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has just one agent at the northern border for every nine patrolling southwest points of entry, despite the Canadian border being more than twice as long.

With fentanyl on its way to replacing heroin in most major drug markets, its not a matter of if, but how traffickers will get the synthetic opioid on U.S. soil. President Trump seems intent on closing one window for traffickers, but it will have limited effect as long as another, even bigger window, remains ajar.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-is-freaking-out-about-the-wrong-border-killer-fentanyl-is-coming-from-canada

ICE Now Detaining Pregnant Women, Thanks to Trump Order

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is ending its practice of automatically releasing pregnant women from detention, according to internal communications reviewed by The Daily Beast.

This is because of President Donald Trumps executive order Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which requires stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Previously, the agencys general practice was to release women from detention who were pregnant.

Now, pregnant women will only be able to get released if an ICE officer determines so on a case-by-case basis.

Pregnant women were still sometimes detained under the previous internal guidelines. Immigrants rights advocates say the practice is dangerous to women and to their unborn children, and that pregnant women are more likely to miscarry if theyre in detention than if they are free. This new policy means more pregnant women will spend time in detention.

This new ICE policy memo confirms our fears that the government is continuing its barbaric policy of detaining pregnant women despite substantial evidence that detention of this particularly vulnerable population has been linked to serious health implications to the mother and unborn child and also constitutes a significant barrier to receiving a meaningful day in court, said Katie Shepherd, who does legal advocacy for asylum-seeking women at the American Immigration Council.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/ice-now-detaining-pregnant-women-thanks-to-trump-order

THIS Woman Allegedly Cooked Her Chihuahua To Death In An Oven Because She Thought Her Ex Was INSIDE The Animal

Earlier this month, an Oregon woman allegedly cooked her pet Chihuahua to death in an oven because she thought her ex-boyfriend was INSIDE the animal.

According to Clatsop County Jail records, Noelle Georgia Moor (above) has been charged with first-degree animal abuse for the alleged incident.

Related: Uber’s Self-Driving Car Just Killed A Pedestrian!

Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis told People that on March 19, authorities arrived at the 28-year-old’s residence at least twice over a dispute. When they entered the property, they “realized something was very wrong,” and eventually found the poor dog in the oven.

Court records obtained by The Oregonian say Moor, who was detained at Columbia Memorial Hospital, believed a former flame was actually inside the canine.

Although Marquis is awaiting the results of her mental health investigation, “it’s likely going to be handled as a criminal case,” adding:

“A lot of people who do very bizarre things also have mental health issues.”

The suspect is currently at the Clatsop County Jail, and will appear in court on Tuesday.

[Image via Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-03-26-noelle-georgia-moor-clatsop-county-jail-chihuahua

Dead lizard found in bag of Trader Joe’s kale

If you’ve ever groaned at the prospect of eating kale, now you have the perfect excuse to back away from your health-conscious friend’s green smoothie. 

Grace Goldstein opened her fresh bag of Trader Joe’s kale on Tuesday, only to discover a dead lizard nestled among the leafy greens. Her friend shared the mildly gross image on Twitter to the joy of all those who reject the superfood. 

Goldstein told People magazine that after she made the shocking discovery, there was a lot of “asking [her] boyfriend to see the bag of kale and identify the lizard and shrieking and pushing it away and refusing to go near it…and then asking to see it again.” 

An understandable reaction to this grotesque find.

If you wanted a closer look at the unexpected salad guest, Goldstein also shared the photo on Instagram.

Goldstein told People that she reached out to Trader Joe’s corporate. The chain is investigating, but there have been no further updates. 

Trader Joe’s responded to Mashable’s inquiry about the incident:

“We are committed to providing customers with great products of the highest quality and are currently working with our vendor to look into and address the matter.”

Hopefully, this is an isolated incident that does not speak for all Trader Joe’s stores, bags of kale, or corporate-minded lizards.

UPDATE: April 5, 2018, 3:05 p.m. EDT This story was updated with comments from Trader Joe’s.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/04/05/trader-joes-kale-lizard/

Male Birth Control Pill Is Effective And Safe, According To A Recent Trial

Scientists are one step closer to achieving gender parity, at least as far as birth control is concerned. While there are currently several contraceptive options targeted at women, there are only two for men – condoms and vasectomies.

The good news is that there are various reversible male birth control prototypes currently undergoing clinical trials. And the latest, a male oral contraceptive called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), appears to be safe and effective when taken daily for a month. The results of a recent study were presented by researchers at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, on Sunday.

“These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill,” Stephanie Page, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

Eighty-three men aged 18 to 50 completed the study, which tested the effects of different doses (100, 200, and 400 milligrams) and formulations inside capsules (castor oil and powder) of DMAU. The men took the contraceptive or a placebo once a day for 28 days with food.

At 100 milligrams, the contraceptive was comparable to effective male contraception in long-term trials, Page said. At 400 milligrams, it produced “marked suppression” of testosterone levels and two other hormones necessary for sperm production.

So, how does it work? The drug combines the activity of a male hormone (or androgen) such as testosterone with synthetic progesterone. The pill also contains a long-chain fatty acid called undecanoate, which slows the breakdown of the testosterone so that it remains effective all day in contrast to older editions. These cleared the body too quickly and would, therefore, have required at least two doses daily to make it as a viable form of birth control.

As for any negative side effects, the volunteers did show signs of weight gain and a decrease in good cholesterol but these were mild. All passed safety tests including those suggestive of liver and kidney health, a hurdle previous attempts at male contraceptives have failed to meet.

“Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” Page said.

This is excellent news. Previous studies on male birth control have been cut short, not because they were ineffective but because they may have produced side effects such as depression, changes in libido, and acne. All of which, incidentally, happen to be well-known side effects of female birth control. 

While the results so far are promising, the next step is to see how DMAU stacks up efficacy and health-wise when taken on a continuing basis. According to Page, longer-term studies are already taking place.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/male-birth-control-is-effective-and-safe-according-to-a-recent-trial/

Fired FBI official Andrew McCabe soliciting online donations for legal defense fund

Andrew McCabe – the top FBI official by fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions hours before his planned retirement – is now soliciting donations online for his legal defense fund.

“The support for Andrew #McCabe has been overwhelming, humbling & deeply appreciated,” Melissa Schwartz, a spokesperson for McCabe, tweeted Thursday. “Unfortunately, the need for a legal defense fund is a growing reality.”

Schwartz linked to a GoFundMe account sponsored by “Friends of Andrew McCabe” that displays a photo of McCabe and his family. It says it has a goal of $150,000.

The site on Thursday afternoon showed hundreds of people donating between $5 and $1,000 each, totaling at just around $27,000. 

Sessions fired McCabe earlier this month after the DOJ’s inspector general determined McCabe was not truthful during his review of the Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended his firing.

But McCabe has defended his actions, and the GoFundMe description says McCabe’s FBI career was “long, distinguished, and unblemished.”

Andrew McCabe – the top FBI official by fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions hours before his planned retirement – is now soliciting donations online for his legal defense fund.  (GoFundMe screengrab)

“His reward for that has been a termination that was completely unjustified, amidst repeated ad hominem attacks by the President of the United States,” it reads.

MCCABE OFFERED JOBS BY DEM LAWMAKERS SO HE CAN GET FULL PENSION

It says a legal defense fund is needed because he will likely have to respond to congressional inquiries, as well as the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Investigation and “any potential lawsuits he might consider.”

McCabe’s legal team is being led by former Department of Justice Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich.

McCabe was fired just days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension, meaning those benefits could now be in jeopardy. But the GoFundMe page said he is not using the money to replace those benefits.

“He will continue to fight for the pension and benefits he deserves, rather than accept any crowdfunding for that purpose,” it says.

Fox News’ Garrett Tenney contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/29/fired-fbi-official-andrew-mccabe-soliciting-online-donations-for-legal-defense-fund.html

Every single teacher on a crowd-funding site just got their wishes fulfilled

(CNN)When it comes to educating America’s children, how much of a difference could $29 million make? Could it send a second grader on a school trip to the museum, or provide updated equipment to a class of budding scientists?

Ripple, a cryptocurrency and international payment company, has donated $29 million in cryptocurrency to DonorsChoose.org, a donation platform that connects people to classroom needs across the country. With the money, Donors Choose was able to fulfill every single classroom project request on its site — 35,647 requests in all, from 28,210 teachers at 16,561 public schools.
“It’s fair to say there’s never been a day that this many classroom dreams have come true,” Donors Choose founder Charles Best told CNN.

    The Colbert bump

    The massive donation is the culmination, or grand finale, if you will, of the site’s #BestSchoolDay project. Two years ago, Stephen Colbert, who is a member of the Donors Choose board of directors, announced he was going to pay for every school project request in his home state of South Carolina.
    His act of kindness set off a movement that became known as #BestSchoolDay.
    “More than 50 actors, athletes and philanthropists were inspired to fund classrooms in their states,” Best told CNN. “Together, those 50-plus people gave more than $14 million, and to use, that represented the idea of a best school day.”
    Best says the response has been overwhelming — in a good way.
    “An outpouring of joy would not be an overstatement,” he said.

    The Ripple effect

    Best says when the organization connected with Ripple, the cryptocurrency management company was “inspired to think of the impact” of such a significant gift.
    “At Ripple, we care about giving back to our community and we collectively value the importance of quality education in developing the next generation of leaders,” Ripple’s SVP of Marketing Monica Long said in a statement.
    “DonorsChoose.org’s track record speaks for itself — they are highly effective at improving the quality of education and the experience of teachers and students across America. We’re proud to work with them to support classroom needs across the country.”
    According to Ripple’s company site, the donation will affect approximately 1 million public school students.
    Best says the “classroom projects” requested on the site represent specific missions or activities that teachers have for their students.
    “It’s a public schoolteacher requesting a classroom library. A field trip. A set of art supplies. A pair of microscopes. It’s about requesting experiences or tools to provide a student learning experience,” he said.
    “We believe in the wisdom of the front lines,” Best added. “Hardworking, passionate teachers know their students’ needs better than anyone else in the school environment. If we can tap into their needs, we can unleash smarter solutions and empower those people on the front lines.”

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/29/health/donors-choose-ripple-donation-stephen-colbert-trnd/index.html

    59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped OutAnd Theyre Trying to Tell Us Why

    By Sam Eaton

    Millennials and church don’t seem to mix. The truth is no one has asked me why millennials don’t like church. Luckily, as a public school teacher, I am highly skilled at answering questions before they’re asked. It’s a gift really.

    From the depths of my heart, I want to love church.

    I want to be head-over-heals for church like the unshakable Ned Flanders.

    I want to send global, sky-writing airplanes telling the life-change that happens beneath a steeple. I want to install a police microphone on top of my car and cruise the streets screaming to the masses about the magical Utopian community of believers waiting for them just down the street.

    I desperately want to feel this way about church, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. In fact, like much of my generation, I feel the complete opposite.

    Turns out I identify more with Maria from The Sound of Music staring out the abbey window, longing to be free.

    It seems all-too-often our churches are actually causing more damage than good, and the statistics are showing a staggering number of millennials have taken note.

    According to this study (and many others like it) church attendance and impressions of the church are the lowest in recent history, and most drastic among millennials described as 22- to 35-year-olds.

    • Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
    • 59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
    • 35 percent of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good.
    • Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far).

    As I sat in our large church’s annual meeting last month, I looked around for anyone in my age bracket. It was a little like a Titanic search party…

    IS ANYONE ALIVE OUT THERE? CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME?

    Tuning in and out of the 90-minute state-of-the-church address, I kept wondering to myself, where are my people? And then the scarier question, why I am still here?

    A deep-seated dissatisfaction has been growing in me and, despite my greatest attempts to whack-a-mole it back down, no matter what I do it continues to rise out of my wiry frame.

    [To follow my publicly-chronicled church struggles, check out my other posts The How Can I Help Project and 50 Ways to Serve the Least of These.]

    Despite the steep drop-off in millennials, most churches seem to be continuing on with business as usual. Sure, maybe they add a food truck here or a bowling night there, but no one seems to be reacting with any level of concern that matches these STAGGERING statistics.

    Where is the task-force searching for the lost generation? Where is the introspective reflection necessary when 1/3 of a generation is ANTI-CHURCH?

    So, at the risk of being excommunicated, here is the metaphorical nailing of my own 12 theses to the wooden door of the American, Millennial-less Church.

    1. Nobody’s Listening to Us

    Millennials value voice and receptivity above all else. When a church forges ahead without ever asking for our input we get the message loud and clear: Nobody cares what we think. Why then, should we blindly serve an institution that we cannot change or shape?

    Solution:

    • Create regular outlets (forums, surveys, meetings) to discover the needs of young adults both inside AND outside the church.
    • Invite millennials to serve on leadership teams or advisory boards where they can make a difference.
    • Hire a young adults pastor who has the desire and skill-set to connect with millennials.

    2. We’re Sick of Hearing About Values & Mission Statements

    Sweet Moses people, give it a rest.

    Of course, as an organization, it’s important to be moving in the same direction, but that should easier for Christians than anyone because we already have a leader to follow. Jesus was insanely clear about our purpose on earth:

    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

    “Love God. Love Others.” Task completed.

    Why does every church need its own mission statement anyway? Aren’t we all one body of Christ, serving one God? What would happen if the entire American Church came together in our commonalities and used the same, concise mission statement?

    Solution:

    • Stop wasting time on the religious mambo jambo and get back to the heart of the gospel. If you have to explain your mission and values to the church, it’s overly-religious and much too complicated.
    • We’re not impressed with the hours you brag about spending behind closed doors wrestling with Christianese words on a paper. We’re impressed with actions and service.

    3. Helping the Poor Isn’t a Priority

    My heart is broken for how radically self-centered and utterly American our institution has become.

    Let’s clock the number of hours the average church attender [attendee] spends in “church-type” activities. Bible studies, meetings, groups, social functions, book clubs, planning meetings, talking about building community, discussing a new mission statement…

    Now let’s clock the number of hours spent serving the least of these. Oooooo, awkward.

    If the numbers are not equal please check your Bible for better comprehension (or revisit the universal church mission statement stated above).

    “If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is in us at all.” –Radical, David Platt

    Solutions:

    • Stop creating more Bible studies and Christian activity. Community happens best in service with a shared purpose.
    • Survey your members asking them what injustice or cause God has placed on their hearts. Then connect people who share similar passions. Create space for them to meet and brainstorm and then sit back and watch what God brings to life.
    • Create group serve dates once a month where anyone can show up and make a difference (and, oh yeah, they’ll also meet new people).

    4. We’re Tired of You Blaming the Culture

    From Elvis’ hips to rap music, from Footloose to “twerking,” every older generation comes to the same conclusion: The world is going to pot faster than the state of Colorado. We’re aware of the downfalls of the culture — believe it or not, we are actually living in it too.

    Perhaps it’s easier to focus on how terrible the world is out there than actually address the mess within.

    Solution:

    • Put the end times rhetoric to rest and focus on real solutions and real impact in our immediate community.
    • Explicitly teach us how our lives should differ from the culture. (If this teaching isn’t happening in your life, check out the book Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel)

    5. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” Affect

    There is this life-changing movie all humans must see, regardless of gender. The film is, of course, the 2004 classic Mean Girls.

    In the film, the most popular girl in school forgets to wear pink on a Wednesday (a cardinal sin), to which Gretchen Weiners screams, “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!”

    Today, my mom said to me, “Church has always felt exclusive and ‘cliquey,’ like high school.” With sadness in her voice she continued, “and I’ve never been good at that game so I stopped playing.”

    The truth is, I share her experience. As do thousands of others.

    Until the church finds a way to be radically kinder and more compassionate than the world at large, we tell outsiders they’re better off on their own. And the truth is, many times they are.

    Solutions:

    • Create authentic communities with a shared purpose centered around service.
    • Create and train a team of CONNECT people whose purpose is to seek out the outliers on Sunday mornings or during other events. Explicitly teach people these skills as they do not come naturally to most of the population.
    • Stop placing blame on individuals who struggle to get connected. For some people, especially those that are shy or struggle with anxiety, putting yourself out there even just once might be an overwhelming task. We have to find ways to bridge that gap.

    6. Distrust & Misallocation of Resources

    Over and over we’ve been told to “tithe” and give 10 percent of our incomes to the church, but where does that money actually go? Millennials, more than any other generation, don’t trust institutions, for we have witnessed over and over how corrupt and self-serving they can be.

    We want pain-staking transparency. We want to see on the church homepage a document where we can track every dollar.

    Why should thousands of our hard-earned dollars go toward a mortgage on a multi-million dollar building that isn’t being utilized to serve the community, or to pay for another celebratory bouncy castle when that same cash-money could provide food, clean water and shelter for someone in need?

    Solution:

    • Go out of your way to make all financial records readily accessible. Earn our trust so we can give with confidence.
    • Create an environment of frugality.
    • Move to zero-based budgeting where departments aren’t allocated certain dollar amounts but are asked to justify each purchase.
    • Challenge church staff to think about the opportunity cost. Could these dollars be used to better serve the kingdom?

    7. We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At

    Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents. See: millennial church attendance. We have millions of podcasts and Youtube videos of pastors the world over at our fingertips.

    For that reason, the currency of good preaching is at its lowest value in history.

    Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. We are the generation with the highest ever percentage of fatherless homes.

    We’re looking for mentors who are authentically invested in our lives and our future. If we don’t have real people who actually care about us, why not just listen to a sermon from [on] the couch (with the ecstasy of donuts and sweatpants)?

    Solutions:

    • Create a database of adult mentors and young adults looking for someone to walk with them.
    • Ask the older generation to be intentional with the millennials in your church.

    8. We Want to Feel Valued

    Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve. You’re single, what else do you have to do? In fact, we’re tapped incessantly to help out. And, at its worst extreme, spiritually manipulated with the cringe-worthy words “you’re letting your church down.”

    Millennials are told by this world from the second we wake up to the second we take a sleeping pill that we aren’t good enough.

    We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are. No conditions or expectations.

    We need a church that sees us and believes in us, that cheers us on and encourages us to chase our big crazy dreams.

    Solutions:

    • Return to point #1: listening.
    • Go out of your way to thank the people who are giving so much of their life to the church.

    9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)

    People in their 20s and 30s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives: career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, body image.

    We need someone consistently speaking truth into every single one of those areas.

    No, I don’t think a sermon-series on sex is appropriate for a sanctuary full of families, but we have to create a place where someone older is showing us a better way because these topics are the teaching millennials are starving for. We don’t like how the world is telling us to live, but we never hear from our church either.

    Solutions:

    • Create real and relevant space for young adults to learn, grow and be vulnerable.
    • Create an opportunity for young adults to find and connect with mentors.
    • Create a young adults program that transitions high school youth through late adulthood rather than abandoning them in their time of greatest need.
    • Intentionally train young adults in how to live a godly life instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.

    10. The Public Perception

    It’s time to focus on changing the public perception of the church within the community. The neighbors, the city and the people around our church buildings should be audibly thankful the congregation is part of their neighborhood. We should be serving the crap out of them.

    We desperately need to be calling the schools and the city, knocking on doors, asking everyone around us how we can make their world better. When the public opinion shows 1/3 millennials are ANTI-CHURCH, we are outright failing at being the aroma of Christ.

    Solutions:

    • Call the local government and schools to ask what their needs are. (See: Service Day from #3)
    • Find ways to connect with neighbors within the community.
    • Make your presence known and felt at city events.

    11. Stop Talking About Us (Unless You’re Actually Going to Do Something)

    Words without follow-up are far worse than ignoring us completely. Despite the stereotypes about us, we are listening to phrases being spoken in our general direction. Lip service, however, doesn’t cut it. We are scrutinizing every action that follows what you say (because we’re sick of being ignored and listening to broken promises).

    Solutions:

    • Stop speaking in abstract sound bites and make a tangible plan for how to reach millennials.
    • If you want the respect of our generation, under-promise and over-deliver.

    12. You’re Failing to Adapt

    Here’s the bottom line, church — you aren’t reaching millennials. Enough with the excuses and the blame; we need to accept reality and intentionally move toward this generation that is terrifyingly anti-church.

    “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” —Bill Clinton
    “The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” —Kakuzo Okakaura
    “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” – H.G. Wells

    Solution:

    • Look at the data and take a risk for goodness sake. We can’t keep trying the same things and just wish that millennials magically wander through the door.
    • Admit that you’re out of your element with this generation and talk to the millennials you already have before they ask themselves, what I am still doing here.

    You see, church leaders, our generation just isn’t interested in playing church anymore, and there are real, possible solutions to filling our congregations with young adults. It’s obvious you’re not understanding the gravity of the problem at hand and aren’t nearly as alarmed as you should be about the crossroads we’re at.

    You’re complacent, irrelevant and approaching extinction. A smattering of mostly older people, doing mostly the same things they’ve always done, isn’t going to turn to the tide.

    Feel free to write to me off as just another angry, selfy-addicted millennial. Believe me, at this point I’m beyond used to being abandoned and ignored.

    The truth is, church, it’s your move.

    Decide if millennials actually matter to you and let us know. In the meantime, we’ll be over here in our sweatpants listening to podcasts, serving the poor and agreeing with public opinion that perhaps church isn’t as important or worthwhile as our parents have lead us to believe.

    About the Author: Sam Eaton is a writer, speaker, and in-progress author who’s in love with all things Jesus, laughter, adventure, hilarious dance parties and vulnerability. Sam is also the founder of Recklessly Alive Ministries, a mental health and suicide-prevention ministry sprinting towards a world with zero deaths from suicide. Come hang out with him at RecklesslyAlive.com.

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    Read more: https://faithit.com/12-reasons-millennials-over-church-sam-eaton/

    This Bench Absorbs More Air Pollution Than A Small Forest

    It’s no secret that London’s air is grimy as hell. Within just one month, “the Big Smoke” reached its air pollution limit set by the EU for the whole of 2018. But a novel piece of urban furniture hopes to serve as a footsoldier in the capital’s big battle to “go green”.

    Germany-based tech startup Green City Solutions has recently “planted” a CityTree outside the pubs and organic supermarkets of Glasshouse Street in London, a short walk from the notoriously busy Piccadilly Circus. It’s a kind of hybrid between a city bench, a pollution-sucking filter, and an environment-tracking smart device. 

    It works using a combination of plants and mosses that naturally remove dust, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone gases from the surrounding air. It’s also hooked up to the “Internet of things”, providing data on pollution levels, soil humidity, air temperature, and water quality. On top of all this, it’s been designed to be resistant to vandalism and features solar panels that satisfy all of its electricity demands.

    Although only small, this device claims to have the same benefit of up to 275 real trees by filtering the air of up to 240 tonnes (265 tons) of carbon dioxide per year, plus all the other nasty fine-matter particulates and nitrogen dioxide found in inner-city pollution.

    While this bench alone is not going to address all of London’s wheezy woes, it serves as a great example of how design and technology are taking up the challenge of solving our planet’s environmental problems.

    “There is no simple solution, so alongside our work to reduce carbon emissions from our buildings and reduce the number of vehicles on our roads, we want to test and learn from new technology,” James Cooksey, Director of Central London at The Crown Estate, said in a statement.

    London is just the latest city to have its own CityTree. So far the startup has installed over 20 CityTrees in urban areas, including Berlin, Oslo, Paris, Drammen in Norway, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Hong Kong, as well as Newcastle in the north of the UK.

    “Our ultimate goal is to incorporate technology from the CityTree into existing buildings,” Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions, told CNN last year.

    “We dream of creating a climate infrastructure so we can regulate what kind of air and also what kind of temperature we have in a city.”

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/this-bench-absorbs-more-air-pollution-than-a-small-forest/

    Some officials wanted Stoneman Douglas suspect Nikolas Cruz committed in 2016, documents show

    Some school counselors and officials were so concerned about the mental stability of Nikolas Cruz, accused in last month’s Florida school massacre, that they decided to have him forcibly committed more than a year before the shooting.

    However, the recommendation was never acted upon.

    Documents in the criminal case against Cruz showed that school officials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a sheriff’s deputy recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be involuntarily committed for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act for at least three days, sources confirmed to Fox News on Sunday.

    The documents, part of Cruz’s criminal case in the shooting, showed that he had written the word “kill” in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. He also told another student he had drunk gasoline and was throwing up. Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of Cruz using a gun at school.

    Students are seen fleeing Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where Nikolas Cruz is accused of having killed 17 people.  (AP)

    The documents, first revealed by The Associated Press, were provided by a psychological assessment service initiated by Cruz’s mother called Henderson Behavioral Health. The documents showed a high school resource officer who was also a sheriff’s deputy and two school counselors recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be committed for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act. That law allows for involuntary commitment for mental health examination for at least three days.

    Such an involuntary commitment also would have been a high obstacle if not a complete barrier to legally obtaining a firearm, such as the AR-15 rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas massacre on Feb. 14, authorities said.

    NIKOLAS CRUZ HAD GORY, VIOLENT FANTASIES YEARS BEFORE FLORIDA SHOOTING, REPORT SAYS

    Nikolas Cruz is seen during a hearing flanked by his lawyer Diane Cuddihy.  (AP)

    There is no evidence Cruz was ever committed. Coincidentally, the school resource officer who recommended that Cruz be “Baker Acted” was Scot Peterson — the same Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who resigned amid accusations he failed to respond to the shooting by staying outside the building where the killings occurred.

    David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said that an involuntary commitment would have been a huge red flag had Cruz attempted to buy a firearm legally.

    “If he had lied, hopefully the verification of the form would have pulled up the commitment paperwork,” Weinstein said.

    The documents did not say why Cruz was not committed under the Baker Act or whether he may not have qualified for other reasons. The law allows a law enforcement officer such as Peterson to initiate commitment under the Baker Act.

    An attorney for Peterson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.

    Cruz, 19, was charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the attack. He faces the death penalty if convicted, but his public defender Melisa McNeill has said he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence.

    Stoneman Douglas High School students mourn the death of their classmates after a gunman opened fire and killed 17 people.  (AP)

    In the Henderson Behavioral Health documents, Cruz’s mother Lynda was quoted as saying she had new concerns about her son’s mental state after he punched holes in a wall at their home in Parkland. The clinicians at Henderson came to the home for interviews and said Cruz admitted punching the wall but said he did so because he was upset at a breakup with his girlfriend.

    NIKOLAS CRUZ REPORTED TO POLICE FOR THREATS, PUNCHING WALLS MONTHS BEFORE FLORIDA SHOOTING

    Cruz also admitted cutting his arm with a pencil sharpener.

    After a Sept. 28, 2016 interview, the documents say Cruz “reports that he cut his arms 3-4 weeks ago and states that this is the only time he has ever cut. (Cruz) states that he cut because he was lonely, states that he had broken up with his girlfriend and reports that his grades had fallen. (Cruz) states that he is better now, reports that he is no longer lonely and states that his grades have gone back up.”

    He also told the clinician he owned only a pellet gun and was not capable of doing “serious harm” to anyone.

    The documents showed that Cruz was very much on the radar screen of mental health professionals and the Broward County school system, yet very little apparatently was done other than these evaluations.

    Other red flags also have surfaced, including calls to the FBI about Cruz’s potential to become a school shooter and numerous visits by county law enforcement officials to his home – both before his mother died in November and after, when he lived briefly with a family friend in Palm Beach County.

    Again, very little was done.

    It’s not clear from the documents who the recommendation was forwarded to or why it was not followed up.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/18/some-officials-wanted-stoneman-douglas-suspect-nikolas-cruz-committed-in-2016-documents-show.html