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Just when it seemed 2016 couldn’t get any weirder, mainstream media now thrusts the narrative of an evil clown apocalypse down our throats. And while there have, indeed, been a handful of incidents involving clown-costumed individuals — and it would be wise, as always, to advise your kids not to follow a clown into the woods — leave it to the fear-dependent agendas of corporate media and politicians to truly blow the situation out of proportion.

Way out of proportion — even for Halloween approaching.

Over the past few weeks, colleges, universities, and schools have issued warnings, whole public school districts even shut down over purported clown sightings, and a district attorney declared any clown attacks on schools would be considered ‘terroristic threats’ — before reversing course and deeming that threat a hoax.

Creepy though clowns may be to many of us, these costumed folks with painted perma-grins are just not as horrific as a litany of other issues deserving real concern this Halloween season.

And, speaking of Halloween, it would behoove the sensible among us not to allow the fictitious attack-clown scare to transpose into the decades-old and equally unsubstantiated tainted-candy menace — or, worse, some impotent combination of the two.

As any watchdog group or activist will tell you, when an otherwise unworthy item inflames national fears and is subsequently, constantly the subject of headlines, consider it a purposeful distraction — and search for imminently worthier issues the government would rather not be widely discussed.

So, while the government-influenced corporate media appeals to the public’s visceral clown angst, consider the following items which are, in actuality, horrifying.

1. The (disastrously failed) War on Drugs is making addicts of young children.

Big Pharma has capitalized on the propagandized and politicized failure of a drug war to provide actual dangerous substances to young children — sometimes disguised as candy to make them more palatable. In January, the FDA deemed safe a pharmaceutical similar to notorious Adderall for children as young as six, in a chewable, fruit-flavored formulation. Warning side effects could be as severe as death, the FDA nonetheless green-lighted amphetamines for kids. But it wasn’t the first time the government agency decided dangerous substances were perfectly acceptable for children.

Last year, the FDA gave the go ahead for OxyContin — an opioid pain medication considered largely ineffective and insanely addictive — to be prescribed to kids as young as 11.

This is the same government agency that backed the DEA’s decision not to reschedule cannabis — the miracle plant eliminating epileptic seizures in children and adults, putting patients with cancers of every variety in remission, relieving military veterans of PTSD symptoms, saving the lives of those with Crohn’s Disease, and any number of other incredible uses.

Now that a growing number of states are countering federal cannabis prohibition through legalization and decriminalization, champions of the drug war have reverted to demonizing edibles — and have even opportuned Halloween in their efforts.

Cannabis edibles often take the form of brownies, cookies, and, yes, candy — so, in the marijuana-legal state of Colorado last year, Denver Police crafted a trick-or-treating scare campaign that kids could accidentally devour THC-laced sweets. This utter nonsense only served to stoke unnecessary fears since, although some edibles come as gummy bears and the like, they are clearly marked and would be readily recognized.

2. Legislative maneuvers which undertaken by the company constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline will have repercussions far into the future.

Energy Transfer Partners, as The Free Thought Projectreported, went out of its way to ensure the Dakota Access Pipeline would not only receive approval, but could ultimately export North Dakota’s Bakken sweet, light crude to foreign lands — despite the initial premise of combating American dependence on imported oil.

Writing in its announcement of the worth of the pipeline, ETP, in a heading titled “Project Purpose and Need,” stated, “Increase America’s Energy Independence. 100% Domestic produced crude supports 100% domestic consumption.”

However, behind the scenes, the company stuffed its board of directors with political insiders who would ultimately repeal a decades-old ban on the U.S. export of unrefined crude. Rewriting that law in place since the 1970s was as simple as placing a rider in 2015’s notoriously all-encompassing omnibus spending bill — a nearly thousand-paged mishmash of unrelated issues on which the lawmakers voting did not have time necessary to read in its entirety.

While the export of oil might not appear such a pertinent matter, ETP’s bold move paved the way for any Big Oil company to construct any pipeline anywhere in the United States — and considering the controversy, protests, destruction, company-sponsored violence, and lawsuits arising from Dakota Access, as well as the government’s refusal to halt construction for good — the bait-and-switch move essentially eviscerated our liberties and rights to property.

Additionally, even those who don’t take issue with Big Oil profiteering would be alarmed to learn just how often those pipelines rupture, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into pristine lands, drinking water supplies — and sometimes, right in people’s backyards.

3. U.S. oversight of the Internet came to an end, despite potentially destructive future repercussions.

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“For decades, the U.S. Commerce Department held a contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — whose executives and board of directors must now report to an Internet ‘stakeholder community,’ loosely comprised of academics, activists, engineers, government officials, and corporate interests,”The Free Thought Projectreported.

Although proponents of allowing U.S. oversight to cease with the lapse of its longstanding contract argue the move will increase the Internet’s integrity as an internationally egalitarian effort, detractors offered a stern warning to the contrary.

“President Obama intends to give increased control of the Internet to authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, and Iran,” Sen. Ted Cruz asserted prior to the lapse. “Like Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal, Obama is giving away the Internet.”

Technology experts insisted the move was largely symbolic and would have no such consequences, but some acknowledged this puts control of the Internet in uncharted waters — and, indeed, anything may be possible.

4. For the first time, bees made the endangered species list.

On September 30, seven species of bees native to Hawai`i — once thought the most abundant bees in the tropics — were placed on the endangered species list to avoid possible extinction. This, at the same time the rusty-patched bumblebee — a highly-prized pollinator inhabiting the U.S. Midwest and Southeast — awaits its own classification as an endangered species.

Bees, which incidentally were recently found to experience the same emotions as humans, are critical to pollinating our food supply. Indeed, the rusty-patched bumblebee is estimated responsible for $3.5 billion in crops.

Herbicides like Monsanto’s RoundUp and pesticides such as neonicotinoids have contributed to falling bee populations around the world and are believed contributors to colony collapse.

Although deeming certain bee species ‘endangered’ is certainly telling of the crisis of decline of pollinators, the move will hopefully offer sufficient protection to work to rebound populations in places where they have vanished and maintain and grow colonies elsewhere.

5. Now, more than ever, we are facing a potential world war.

Following the breakdown of a ceasefire agreement in Syria, the U.S. announced it had cut contact with Russia over the issue, as White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated there is “nothing more to talk about.”

After that chilling announcement, on Friday Russia admonished the United States for its actions in Syria — and intimated it would strike U.S. jets operating in the country. Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s Defense Minister Major General, told the media:

“I would like to remind the American strategists that the air cover for the Russian bases in Khmeimim and Tartus is provided by the S-400 and S-300 anti-aircraft systems.”

Further, “Russia’s warning to the U.S. comes amid a published report by the Washington Post that the U.S. is considering striking Assad’s forces inside Syria, instead of using its proxy fighting force of largely Sunni rebel forces to do so,”reportedThe Free Thought Project. “Russia’s promise it will fire on unidentified aircraft also comes less than a month since the U.S. bombed and killed 62 Syrian troops in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.”

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the halt of a nuclear pact with the U.S. As Reuters reported:

“Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of U.S.-Russian relations under Putin.

“But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.”

All of this in addition to tensions mounting with China over what should be a regional territorial dispute in the East and South China Seas — over which the U.S. has inserted itself with allies Japan and South Korea in the interests of keeping maritime commerce channels open and safe.

Chinese officials have not taken the matter lightly, viewing U.S.’ presence as an incursion in the nation’s sovereign space. On Monday, a state-run news outlet wrote,

“If the United States and South Korea harm the strategic security interests of countries in the region including China, then they are destined to pay the price for this and receive a proper counter attack.”

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Clowns, as the aforementioned items prove, are not as horrifying as the media would have you believe.