Volume 7 Issue 24_Sun Bay Paper

The Sun Bay Paper Page 10 March 25, 2022 - March 31, 2022 Iran Negotiations, and Other Nonsense Many actions by our government don’t make sense. They seem counter intuitive. I’ve decided my political orientation is based significantly on what impresses me as plain common sense. Consider a topic I’ve written about several times – the 2015 Iran nuclear “agreement.” Previously my focus has been on the original version which Trump voided in 2018. That deal was never signed by Iran and had bipartisan U.S. Congressional opposition. Senator Menendez expressed his concern by pointing out the agreement wasn’t based on “preventing nuclear proliferation, but on managing or containing it.” The current administration is trying to “stumble” back into an agreement, but it’s not going to be just like the original. It seems to be much worse. Reports indicate the new agreement will impose fewer limitations than the original, and sanctions will be lifted on officials known to be terrorists. The Revolutionary Guard would have its “terrorist” designation dropped in exchange for Iran’s promise of better behavior in the region. Iran would gain a pathway to nuclear weapons and would receive frozen assets worth tens of billions. It seems to me that to support this agreement, one must first believe Iran has rational leadership. It does not. And sometime truth is stranger than fiction. Iran won’t negotiate directly with the U.S. and Russia is leading the negotiations. The Russian negotiator, Mikhail Ulyanov, recently stated: “Iran got much more than it could expect.” Iran would have sanctions removed, and Russia would be the repository of Iran’s enriched uranium. What could go wrong with that arrangement? The apparent futility of the negotiations caused three lead U.S. negotiators to resign. The latest development is that Russia has decided to use its leverage and influence in the negotiations to attempt to remove economic sanctions imposed after the Ukraine invasion. I hope the U.S. wasn’t surprised by Russia’s request. Hopefully that Russian demand will be the death knell for negotiations. My next example deals with the Ukraine invasion and the push for sanctions against Russian oil and gas. That has put Europe in a tough spot. Europe is heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuels and needs a new supply. This could have been an opportunity for the U.S. to become Europe’s emergency fossil fuel supplier. However, the U.S. can’t make good on that possibility. Our energy independence and production flexibility ended when Biden cancelled U.S. pipeline development, reduced availability of drilling contracts on public lands, and generally made it tougher to produce oil and gas. If the President changed his attitude and rallied with the fossil fuel industry, the U.S. could supply Europe with the oil and gas they need. However, the President would rather beg for assistance from human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia, and even Iran and Venezuela. Progressive energy policies and have forced the U.S. to forfeit energy independence with its positive economic and national security implications. An opportunity was lost for the U.S. to take leadership and beef up our European alliances – so critical in this dangerous world. My final example recalls that early in 2020, soon after the pandemic began gathering steam, we became sensitized, perhaps even startled, when we learned how much we rely on imports from other countries. And when we started shopping for pandemic medical equipment and supplies, like masks and sanitizers, we learned how dependent we are on adversary countries like China. Here's what China has been supplying the U.S. in significant numbers and proportions of our total requirements: medical devices, medical face masks, protective clothing, penicillin, aspirin, acetaminophen, prescription drug ingredients, and some vitamins. China is now second only to Canada in terms of exporting drugs and biologics to the United States. China is a dominant provider of generic drugs. Rare-earth metals are essential for technology production, and China controls much of the world supply. The U.S. is obviously one of their biggest customers. I won’t even list the household supplies, appliances and hardware coming from China. In recent months there has been attention given to supply chain improvement and import diversification. However, anything less than attacking this with focused determination is irresponsible. Our experience with COVID, and now with the potential for significant military conflict, should have made that abundantly clear. myslantonthings.com Steve Bakke, Fort Myers ISO, at Least 20 Times Stronger Than Fentanyl Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning residents of a deadly new synthetic opioid officials are becoming aware of called Isotonitazene. Commonly referred to as ISO, a derivative of etonitazene, it’s classified as a Schedule 1 illegal narcotic. “For years, we have been warning about the dangers of fentanyl and how just one pill laced with this synthetic opioid can kill," Moody said. "Now, there is a new, deadlier drug being found in Florida. “Isotonitazene, also known as ISO, is so strong that it can kill just by coming in contact with someone’s skin or being accidentally inhaled. ISO has already been linked to overdose deaths in Florida, so please, never take any illicit drug and know that using just one time could cost you your life.” The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office issued a “new dangerous drug alert” about ISO, stating it’s “20 times more potent than fentanyl.” “ISO can be absorbed by the body by skin contact, ingestion or inhalation,”the alert states. Signs of an overdose include blue/purple fingernails, blue/purple lips, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, clammy skin, vomiting, pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, all of which can occur within minutes of exposure. Anyone who observes someone presenting these symptoms, the sheriff’s office says, should “call 911 immediately.” The sheriff’s office says when deputies first came into contact with the powdery substance they thought it was fentanyl. But after being examined in a lab, it was identified as a newer, stronger drug than fentanyl. Testing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Lab revealed that ISO has been found in multiple Florida counties since 2020. At least two deaths were linked to ISO in Pasco County last year. Like fentanyl, it’s being mixed with other drugs and sold in the illicit drug market. Most drug users don’t know the pills they buy are mixed with fentanyl, or ISO. “ISO is a dangerous substance that we have, unfortunately, seen in Pasco County," Sheriff Chris Nocco said. "As law enforcement continues to have to address the healthcare crisis of substance abuse, our goal remains to save lives and protect our community, which is why we have highlighted and brought awareness to the impact this dangerous substance has in our community.” Intelligence chief at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)- Miami division, Justin Miller, told Wink News, the DEA is seeing ISO more in Central Florida, and particularly on the Gulf Coast. “It’s an illegal narcotic, no medical use,” Miller said. “As you see other synthetic opioids such as ISO, or other compounds as well, that are just as potent – and potentially more so than fentanyl – that it’s going to have a direct correlation within with drug overdoses and fatalities.” The DEA reports that since April 2019, ISO entered the illicit drug market nationally and is responsible for numerous deaths. Like fentanyl, ISO can be laced with cocaine and methamphetamine and sold as a counterfeit pill. Moody has published a PSA video message warning people about ISO. Her office also created a “Dose of Reality” website about the dangers of opioid misuse, how to receive support for addiction and where to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs. Bethany Blankley The Center Square