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Archive for February 6th, 2017

Sally Yates Sends the Right Message to the Trump White House

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates wasn’t going to be around very long at the Justice Department considering she was a holdover from the Obama administration.

Nonetheless, she should be commended for standing up to President Donald Trump, who implemented an executive order that was poorly thought out and executed.

Hopefully she has set a tone and a message to the White House: Federal law enforcement will not compromise its principles when asked to do something that violates the law.

It’s not likely to be the last time the administration directs federal law enforcement officials to do something questionable.

The president on Tuesday, when announcing his Supreme Court nominee, talked about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law. We should take him at his word that he places great importance on upholding the law, not bending or breaking it.

In the coming months and years, some law enforcement officials may be forced to make a choice between doing the right thing for the country or keeping their jobs and following a White House order.

Hopefully they’ll do the right thing.

They can always get another job.

They can’t always get another reputation.

 

The Frightening Opiate Tales From The Emergency Room

url

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The mind numbing opiate epidemic is not news, but the number of overdose deaths keeps climbing, and DEA agents say that we are still on the uphill side of the worst drug crisis in U. S. history. Until the opiate epidemic invades you or your family or friends, it is easy to underestimate the intransigence of the scourge.

Emergency room physicians and nurses have to cope with the unending tide of hopeless and desperate patients who are wheeled into the ER every day.  These are stories from a typical urban hospital where all classes, ages and races end up unconscious on their front door step. The fact that the stories are so unexceptional illustrates the extent to which the drug has a death grip on the country.

One ER doc relates that at the beginning of his twelve-hour shift a young woman comes in close to death in an opiate overdose. The medical team uses their best efforts to revive her, and they are successful. The doctor and a nurse both advise her strongly that the next incident may not have a good outcome and that she needs to remain in the hospital for a full medical work-up by an internist as well as counseling and treatment. But she signs herself out of the hospital AMA (Against Medical Advice) before he or anyone else in the hospital can do anything to prevent her from leaving.

The ER doc’s shift proceeds with other patients. An hour before the shift ends, the same young woman is wheeled into the hospital with her second overdose. Again she is revived. Physicians are trained to make no moral judgments about their patients’ lifestyles, but frustration pervades the atmosphere of the facility. What’s the point?

At a different hospital an ER physician tells a story that is going around ERs about a practice of opiate addicts driving to the hospital parking lot, leaving the car in drive with their foot on the brake and taking their drug of choice. If they remain conscious during the “high,” they keep that foot on the brake until they can drive away to another destination. If they overdose and lapse into unconsciousness, their foot slips off the brake, and the car crashes into something stationary, another car, a wall or such. Hospital security then finds the overdosed driver and rushes him or her into the ER for emergency treatment.

How Much Is Too Much?

A third doctor relates a post-overdose conversation she had with a chronic user. The problem, the user explained, is that the most euphoric effect comes only when he is close to slipping into unconsciousness. So users, at least the ones who want to live, must gauge what amount will reach this point without unintentionally going too far. Could the doc give him a little advice on this problem?

Each drug, used legally or not, has a Therapeutic Toxic Ratio or Therapeutic Index, which is a comparison of the amount of drug that causes the effect sought to the amount that causes toxicity. There is a safety continuum between effectiveness and a lethal side effect. The user who was seeking advice was saying that the best high is one which occurs as close to the toxicity point as possible without going too close to a lethal overdose.

The problem with this over simplistic analysis is that there are so many factors and unknowns in the context of illegal drugs that predicting this point is impossible. Using recreational drugs doesn’t happen in the hospital laboratory. The unknown mixture of different drugs (e.g., heroin and fentanyl) prevents this assessment by a user. Also the strength and purity of the drug(s), user tolerance, and contaminants affect the reaction to the drug and change the safety continuum.

So, even if the doctor was inclined to have this discussion, it would have been impossible to do so.  Instead the answer was that any time the user took a drug he was spinning a deadly roulette wheel. The unknown factors were the ones which could kill him or her. Even the same dose of a single drug can be effective one time and kill the user another time. The practice is inherently and unpredictably dangerous.

These are stories of a public emergency sliding toward a cataclysm, one not being addressed by policymakers and politicians. Appreciating its grim tenacity is only the first step to finding an answer to the epidemic.

Parker: The Scary Opiate Tales from the Emergency Room

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Opiate Tales from the Emergency Room

The mind numbing opiate epidemic is not news, but the number of overdose deaths keeps climbing, and DEA agents say that we are still on the uphill side of the worst drug crisis in U. S. history. Until the opiate epidemic invades you or your family or friends, it is easy to underestimate the intransigence of the scourge.

Emergency room physicians and nurses have to cope with the unending tide of hopeless and desperate patients who are wheeled into the ER every day.  These are stories from a typical urban hospital where all classes, ages and races end up unconscious on their front door step. The fact that the stories are so unexceptional illustrates the extent to which the drug has a death grip on the country.

One ER doc relates that at the beginning of his twelve-hour shift a young woman comes in close to death in an opiate overdose. The medical team uses their best efforts to revive her, and they are successful. The doctor and a nurse both advise her strongly that the next incident may not have a good outcome and that she needs to remain in the hospital for a full medical work-up by an internist as well as counseling and treatment. But she signs herself out of the hospital AMA (Against Medical Advice) before he or anyone else in the hospital can do anything to prevent her from leaving.

url

The ER doc’s shift proceeds with other patients. An hour before the shift ends, the same young woman is wheeled into the hospital with her second overdose. Again she is revived. Physicians are trained to make no moral judgments about their patients’ lifestyles, but frustration pervades the atmosphere of the facility. What’s the point?

At a different hospital an ER physician tells a story that is going around ERs about a practice of opiate addicts driving to the hospital parking lot, leaving the car in drive with their foot on the brake and taking their drug of choice. If they remain conscious during the “high,” they keep that foot on the brake until they can drive away to another destination. If they overdose and lapse into unconsciousness, their foot slips off the brake, and the car crashes into something stationary, another car, a wall or such. Hospital security then finds the overdosed driver and rushes him or her into the ER for emergency treatment.

How Much Is Too Much?

A third doctor relates a post-overdose conversation she had with a chronic user. The problem, the user explained, is that the most euphoric effect comes only when he is close to slipping into unconsciousness. So users, at least the ones who want to live, must gauge what amount will reach this point without unintentionally going too far. Could the doc give him a little advice on this problem?

Each drug, used legally or not, has a Therapeutic Toxic Ratio or Therapeutic Index, which is a comparison of the amount of drug that causes the effect sought to the amount that causes toxicity. There is a safety continuum between effectiveness and a lethal side effect. The user who was seeking advice was saying that the best high is one which occurs as close to the toxicity point as possible without going too close to a lethal overdose.

The problem with this over simplistic analysis is that there are so many factors and unknowns in the context of illegal drugs that predicting this point is impossible. Using recreational drugs doesn’t happen in the hospital laboratory. The unknown mixture of different drugs (e.g., heroin and fentanyl) prevents this assessment by a user. Also the strength and purity of the drug(s), user tolerance, and contaminants affect the reaction to the drug and change the safety continuum.

So, even if the doctor was inclined to have this discussion, it would have been impossible to do so.  Instead the answer was that any time the user took a drug he was spinning a deadly roulette wheel. The unknown factors were the ones which could kill him or her. Even the same dose of a single drug can be effective one time and kill the user another time. The practice is inherently and unpredictably dangerous.

These are stories of a public emergency sliding toward a cataclysm, one not being addressed by policymakers and politicians. Appreciating its grim tenacity is only the first step to finding an answer to the epidemic.

Ex-FBI Agent: The Truth about Trump and Russia’s Relationship Must Come to Light

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Ex-FBI Agent Susan Surftone
Advocate

When I was a young FBI special agent assigned to the New York field office working on a foreign counterintelligence squad, another agent asked me if I wanted to meet Dr. Death. Of course I did, and I soon found myself shaking hands with Robert Hanssen, the notorious American spy.

Hanssen was called Dr. Death by fellow agents because of his affinity for black suits and his Frankensteinesque appearance. Little did we know. My duties included sitting on wiretaps, surveilling Soviets in New York on diplomatic assignments who were KGB or GRU agents, following the money, and, on one occasion, a little undercover work. In the world of espionage I was on the defensive team. Our job was to shut them down. It was often not glamorous. Whoever heard of the GRU (Soviet military intelligence)? You can imagine my surprise when, after all these years, the GRU made the headlines and there was talk in the news of Russian compounds outside of American cities. Nothing new to me. And when BuzzFeed made the now-infamous dossier on President Trump public, boy, did I jump on that. So what does this old Cold Warrior think? Well, plenty.

What struck me the most about the dossier was the description of methods used by the Russians in regard to potential recruitment of the target as an asset and to move money. My initial thought was that after all these years, nothing has changed. It was very familiar. I know nothing more than you do as to whether or not the allegations are true (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants an investigation into whether Trump can be blackmailed over what’s alleged in the dossier). It’s my opinion that some details aren’t and there is a good chance some are. I base that on the reputation of the source of the dossier, the former MI6 agent now in hiding and the fact that our intelligence agencies made the call to add a two-page synopsis of the allegations to their classified report sent to President Obama and then President-elect Trump. Believe me, this was not a decision made lightly.

When making an assessment about the allegations, keep in mind that with regard to intelligence work the standards of proof and verification are not the same as in a court of law or in journalism. It is impossible to meet those standards due to the necessary protection of sources. It is literally life or death in many cases, and there is no witness protection program. You need your sources to be able to continue to function as conduits of information. The goal isn’t arrest and conviction in a court of law. It is to impartially weigh the information, assess the risks, and shut down activity harmful to the interests of the United States.

To read more click here. 

Former Secretaries of State, Tech Companies Oppose Trump’s Travel Ban

Protest at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s immigration order, which was halted by a federal judge, has come under fire by two former secretaries of state and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies that say they are losing some of the brightest minds.

The federal court’s halt on the immigration order is expected to be taken up today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the Washington Post reports. 

Now Homeland Security must determine “check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY,” Trump tweeted.

How that will happen has not been publicly discussed by Homeland Security, which did not return calls to the Post.

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” Trump wrote. “If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

Trump came under fire for attacking the independent judiciary.

Trump’s New Border Patrol Leader Compared the President to Dennis the Menace

znypzbwhahywqpgplg6yBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new head of the Border Patrol, Ronald Vietello, attacked the Republican last year on Twitter.

The March 2016 tweet shows a photo of Donald Trump and an illustration of Dennis the Menace, Gizmodo reports.  The tweet compares Trump to the obnoxious cartoon child.

The tweet reads, “This I can tell you! 100%.”

Trump has shown that he has no tolerance for Twitter users attacking him. What’s unclear is whether Trump even knows about the Tweet.

ATF Mulls Sending Agents to Chicago on Permanent Basis to Fight Crime

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is considering sending agents to Chicago on permanent assignments to help curtain the deadly crime surge.

The agency is beginning to develop a strategy to help Chicago, said David Coulson, an ATF senior agent in the Chicago field office, the USA Today reports. 

“ATF is exploring various options as we are committed to furthering law enforcement efforts in Chicago,” Coulson said. “One of those options is to send additional agents to Chicago on permanent transfers.” No plans have been finalized yet.

The comments follow Trump’s pledge to bring in federal assistance to help Chicago attack surge in violent crimes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded that he welcomes the ATF, DEA and FBI, but he said Trump has not talked to him personally about more federal resources.

Eric Trump Billed Taxpayers Nearly $88,000+ for Secret Service Hotel Rooms

Eric Trump

Eric Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, used $97,830 in taxes to put Secret Service and embassy staffers in hotel rooms while on a business trip to Uruguay.

Eric Trump was visiting the South American country to bolster the Trump Organization before the president’s Jan. 2o inauguration, the Washington Post reports.

The cost to taxpayers has raised serious questions about the president’s pledge to keep his businesses separate from his presidency.

The Secret Service’s hotel bills totaled $88,320.

The Post reported:

The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand.

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