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Former White House and congressional spokesman Robert Weiner announced two op-eds named H2 (#2 op-ed in the nation) the same day by OpEdNews -- "We're very proud of the achievement and hopefully the ability to make a little difference," Weiner said. The first, written by Weiner and Henry Deng is about how the NRA is making a big strategic mistake blocking the assault weapons ban and could eliminate 95% of the headlines concerning mass killings of ten or more by supporting reinstating the ban, first passed in 1994 but sunsetted in 2004. The second, by Weiner and Joshua Himelfarb, is on Mexico's "decades-long" ongoing corruption with cartels now leading to the fentanyl crisis in the U.S. and killing a record over 100,000 a year. Weiner and Himelfarb support cutting U.S. counternarcotics aid to Mexico in half until they get serious.

The NRA's Big Mistake Opposing Assault Weapons Ban by Robert Weiner and Henry Deng

Weiner and Deng begin, "The NRA's big mistake is that by opposing an assault weapons ban, they are keeping the headlines ongoing of 95 per cent of mass killings of ten or more. We surveyed twenty of those, and 19 were carried out with AK 47's, AR-15's, or similar assault weapons banned for ten years until sunsetted in September, 2004 by agreement with the NRA in the legislation. The NRA cooked their own goose by effectively re-upping virtually all 10+ mass killings as well and increasing by 30% all mass killings and shootings of four or more. For the many who do support the Second Amendment, this is a logical solution to stop a huge amount of the negative coverage."

They continue, "In the 2022 midterms, voters knew that the slaughter goes on and on and on while while a big reduction opportunity that already worked for ten years -- banning military assault weapons from the rest of society-- until the NRA-imposed sunset set in-- is available. Three have been charged with killing one person and and injuring eight with assault weapons in Tallahassee on Oct. 29. In addition to the tragedy in Tallahassee, another shooting killing six people happened in Chesapeake, Virginia, on Nov. 23. Over 600 mass shootings have occurred in the United States so far this year, and more than 18,000 people have died from non-suicidal gun violence.

They write, "With gun violence and mass shootings on the rise, the Biden administration and Congress should be taking more effective actions to tackle this issue, with President Biden expressing his intention to work with Congress to 'try to get rid of assault weapons.' However, only the minimal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has become law to assist juvenile mental health and expand background checks a hair. The rate of mass shootings has not diminished."

They explain, "In addition, with no fundamental gun control policies introduced, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is clearly not addressing the need for public safety as crime rates and shootings are generally increasing. In Tallahassee, shootings have increased from 50 in 2018 to 95 shootings and increasing in 2022. While violent crime nationwide in 2021 remains stable from 2020, the violent crime rate of 7.82 per 100,000 people in Tallahassee is still higher than the national median of 4 per 100,000 people, with the murder and assault rates in Tallahassee much higher than the nationwide rates per 1,000 people. It is evident that more measures shall be taken to both save lives and control gun crimes, but Congress is not working enough on that."

They argue, "So what is stopping the government from taking more action? Gun manufacturers and NRA."

They go on, "While the country is, as it has for decades, struggling with gun violence, manufacturers actively benefit from murder. A recent U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee memorandum shows gun industries have increased income by more than $1 billion from selling weapons like the AR-15 as mass shootings and gun deaths continue to rise. In addition to the memo, 60% of Smith & Wesson's revenue comes from the sales of assault rifles. With politicians like Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) receiving more than $3 million from the NRA, it's no wonder gun manufacturers have such an enormous role in stopping meaningful gun control legislation."

They contend, "However, those who want to see gun control measures enacted are beginning to see victories. Smith & Wesson is moving their headquarters from Massachusetts to Tennessee. With the Massachusetts state legislature instituting an assault weapons ban and the recent defeat of pro-gun groups' legal challenge against the ban, Mark Smith, the CEO of Smith & Wesson, said in a news release that gun restrictions will push the company to review 'the best path forward for Smith & Wesson.'"

They say, "And that may be the key to reducing gun violence: the move by Smith & Wesson reflects that the existing environment is unfit for gun manufacturers to do business. Moreover, it proves that banning assault weapons can stop weapons from overflowing in society."

They continue, "When President Bill Clinton signed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act in September 1994, firearms production in the U.S. decreased from 5.17 million in 1994 to around 3 million in 2004, when the 10-year assault weapons ban ended. Since then, firearms production has continuously increased, reaching 11.5 million in 2016."

They explain, "While the ban was in effect, violent crimes decreased from 1.86 million cases in 1994 to 1.36 million in 2004. However, since the end of the assault weapons ban, the number of mass shootings has increased. As pointed out by the Washington Post, between 1966 and 1999, there were mass shootings on an average of once every 180 days. From 2015 to now, it has been 47 days."

They write, "It couldn't be more explicit that this is when Congress and state legislatures need to work to enhance gun reforms. With gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson moving away from states that enacted assault weapons bans, it points to a way that Congress can do the same nationwide to reduce gun violence further."

They go on, "Many proposals, including the assault weapons ban, are popular around the country and can be implemented and enacted. In addition, proposals such as expanding background checks, such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, have previously been brought to the table. Meanwhile, members from both sides voiced support for at least some form of background check proposal, as a poll indicated that most Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support gun law reforms, such as background checks, a three-day waiting period, raising the minimum purchasing age, and even a ban on high-capacity magazines."

They write, "As gun violence is happening almost daily around the country, the stakes are too high for Congress to stop work to end gun violence at the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, where the bill introduced virtually no legally binding clauses on gun control. Including background check expansion and many other proposals, Americans need and deserve gun laws reformed immediately."

Weiner and Deng conclude, "With the U.S. House passing the first assault weapons ban in almost three decades, the Senate has remained silent. President Clinton had done it before, and President Biden, then Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pushed and enacted the assault weapons ban in 1994. Congress and state legislatures -- often more progressive than Congress--could undoubtedly do it in 2022."

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US-Mexico Drug Standstill: Decades of Failed Solutions and Time for a Change by Robert Weiner and Joshua Himelfarb

Weiner and Himelfarb begin, "The U.S. and Mexico have been at a drug standstill for decades. It is time for a change. A drug seizure of over one million fentanyl pills at the Nogales section of the Arizona-Mexico border follows a string of similar busts across the United States, with ties pointing to cartel connected trafficking operations in Mexico. An increased presence of Mexican-sourced fentanyl within the multibillion dollar American drug market comes amid a breakdown in the U.S.-Mexico anti-narcotics strategy. According to a statement by D.O.J., 'Mexican cartels are increasingly manufacturing fentanyl for distribution and sale in the U.S.'"

They explain, "Arizona authorities need to question the disbanding of a permanent parking space for the DEA in a hangar at the Toluca International Airport. It presents a capabilities-expectation gap to execute supervisory and capture schemes of high-ranking cartel leaders. With midterm elections over, the worsening criminal and public health crises mandates bipartisanship to stop cross-border drug trafficking."

They continue, "In fact, on Nov. 21, the incoming House Government Oversight Committee chairman, James Comer (R-Ky.) announced they will be leading the investigation on how to stop fentanyl from coming across the border. That could be great and helpful if it does not just turn into a political blame game but actually provides solutions on how to disempower the cartels."

They write, "While U.S. enforcement has helped to cause the centralized structure of Mexico's drug trafficking organizations to degenerate, with violent struggle raging between competing cartel groups, consolidation for territory and market space have spilt into new poly-crime syndicates. Some of those operations involve fuel theft, extortion racket, for-hire assassination, sexual servitude, and migrant kidnapping."

They argue, "Fentanyl is only the latest entry into the drug maze. For example, the lifelong imprisonment of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin, El Chapo Guzman, failed to extinguish the threat presented by Mexico's historically dominant drug trafficking organization. Instead, the cartel splintered into four competing groups, escalating inter-cartel violence."

They go on, "Mexico transformed from an intermediary transit country for drugs destined to the U.S. into a production center for heroin and fentanyl-laced counterfeit tablets. The rising seizure rate of fentanyl-related drugs by law enforcement coincides with the highest-ever record of drug overdose deaths over a 12-month period. In 2021, 100,000 died of drug overdoses, mostly fentanyl now."

They contend, "Imports of Mexican fentanyl products typically require Chinese precursors. However, the pandemic-induced lockdowns disrupted chemical inputs used to create synthetic opioids. Mexican drug producers have since sought to stabilize drug output by developing in-house processing methods and diversifying international supply chains, pointing to India's emergent position for illegal manufacturing of opioids."

They say, "When facilitating drug interdiction, the challenge for the U.S. remains bilateral cooperation with Mexico. To start, in 2020, former Mexican Secretary of Defense Salvador Zepeda was arrested on federal charges for conspiring to transport drugs and launder money in Los Angeles. Mexico responsively threatened to expel DEA agents from the country, resulting in Zepeda's release without prosecution from the DOJ. These Mexican shortcomings date back to the Clinton administration. In 1997, Mexico's newly appointed commissioner of the National Institute to Combat Drugs, Jesús Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested for collaborating with the narcotic-smuggling Juarez Cartel, following a trip to Mexico by former Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey in which McCaffrey had expressed great hope in working with him to stop the drug flow."

They assert, "This failure to spot and indict high-ranking Mexican government officials for their profiteering in the drug trade illustrates a deficiency to reform some Mexican corrupt law enforcement agencies. In tandem, decades-long commitments from Mexican presidents prove ineffective too. From then-President Calderón's "worst nightmare" anti-drug offensive, and Nieto's tactical counterinsurgency on cartel leaders, to the most recent "Hugs, not Bullets" movement under AMLO, drug inflows and spillover violence have yet to subside."

They continue, "FY 2021 U.S. foreign assistance to Mexico totaled $158.9 million, yet corruption still permeates many levels of Mexico's public institutions. The disbursement of public funds should be contingent upon curtailing the drug trade. We could cut it in half and make the rest contingent on success."

They explain, "Amid the rapidly rising domestic human toll, coupled by Mexico's anti-DEA policy shift, Washington is forced to recalibrate the country's anti-narcotics strategy. The failings in the existing approach with Mexico should not deter the U.S. from engaging third-party countries integral to the synthetic drug supply chain, since there is more room for joint partnership with China and India. Together they can thwart criminal organizations at points of production and shipping through enforcement coordination and regulatory action."

Weiner and Himelfarb assert, "Now, to make the volume of corruption in Mexico even worse, U.S. agents -- our protectors--have been accused of misconduct for overlooking abuses and occasionally partaking in money laundering. While we move quickly to remove any such corrupt agents, Mexico needs to do the same. The U.S. should juridically strangulate black-market exchanges, by targeting infrastructure between Mexican cartels and their domestic accomplices. There has to be a better concerted campaign on external and internal supply disruption to offer an alternative to the counternarcotic program in action.. There needs to be a will to stop the drug flow on both sides of the border."

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