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Opioid Crisis Accelerated by Lawmakers with ties to Drug Industry

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the nation grappled with an opioid crisis that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, a handful of Congressional members with strong ties to the nation’s major drug distributors managed to strip the DEA of one of its most effective weapons against narcotics.

Despite desperate calls to curtail the number of prescription narcotics spilling onto the streets, the members of Congress convinced the DEA and Justice Department to reluctantly agree to a more industry-friendly that effectively allowed the flow of addictive pain pills to continue unhindered, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” 

It was a major win for the drug companies because it weakened the DEA’s ability to pursue companies that supply to corrupt doctors and pharmacists who pushed massive amounts of pills into the black market.

Under the watered-down law, the DEA is severely limited in responding to suspicious narcotic shipments.

The 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill received at least $1.5 million in donation from political action committees representing the drug industry.


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Florida Man Poses As FBI Agents, Holds Prostitute Captive

Martin Smith mugshot.

Martin Smith mugshot.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man was busted after posing as an FBI agent and held a prostitute captive in a motel room in Sugarloaf Township over the weekend.

Martin Smith, 42, of St. Petersburg, faces numerous charges, including unlawful restraint, impersonating a public servant and patronizing prostitutes.

Smith held the woman at the hotel and had a fake badge, metal pellet gun and drugs.

The woman fled and called 911 after convincing Smith to let her get drugs from the car.


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One of FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists Killed in Philippines

Isnilon Hapilon

Isnilon Hapilon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorists was killed as Philippine forces advanced quickly to defeat pro-ISIS militants who took over Marawi City.

Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI’s most-wanted terror suspects, was killed in a gun battle, and their bodies were discovered Monday in Marawi, the Wall Street Journal reports

According to Philippine officials, about 30 pro-ISIS militants were still in the area.

Troops rescued a hostage, who provided critical information to help find Hapilon. American officials said Hapilon was responsible the ransom kidnappings of several Americans.


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Weekend Series on Crime History: A Great Mafia Documentary


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Authorities Still Have No Clear-Cut Motive in Las Vegas Shooting

Stephen Paddock

Stephen Paddock

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s certainly not for lack of trying.

After a detailed investigation, the FBI and local Las Vegas authorities are still unclear what motivated Stephen Paddock to open fire on the concert in Las Vegas.

“There’s a lot of effort being put into unraveling this horrific act,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters following a ribbon-cutting for the FBI’s new Atlanta building, the Philadelphia Tribune reports. “We don’t know yet what the motive is, but that’s not for lack of trying, and if you know anything about the bureau we don’t give up easy.

 


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FBI Director Doesn’t Want New Barriers Placed On NSA Surveillance Program

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The constant battle over privacy and the need to access information for national security is playing out in Washington.

Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post reports:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Friday that changing the rules of a soon-to-expire surveillance program could create new barriers to preventing terrorist attacks, similar to those that existed before 2001.

In defending his agency’s information-sharing program with the National Security Agency — which civil liberties groups have criticized as a threat to privacy — Wray said his agents get just a small piece of the NSA’s intelligence gathering.

“The FBI only receives collection for a very small percentage of what the NSA does. It’s about 4.3 percent of the targets under NSA collection. But that 4.3 percent is unbelievably valuable to our mission,’’ Wray said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. He did not say how large that database is.


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Retired FBI Official Kevin Kendrick: ‘Taking a Knee or Locking Arms During the National Anthem is Their Way of Saying Freedom Isn’t Being Afforded to Everyone’

The writer, a native Detroiter, graduated from Cass Tech and Wayne State University. He was as assistant special FBI agent in charge of the Detroit field office from 1999-2002 and retired in 2006 as head of the Charlotte Division in North Carolina. He recently moved from Michigan to North Carolina.

By Kevin Kendrick

What does freedom mean to you? One dictionary I recently referenced defined it as this: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Of course, inherent in the definition of freedom is the right to interpret the word yourself. Attendant with that however, is the understanding that your definition and my definition may be different. And that’s o.k.

When I look at incarceration rates for young black men in my country I am appalled. Sentencing data helps to inform me that disparate treatment is still occurring.


Kevin Kendrick: “Segregation and separation were a part of my life.” (LinkedIn photo)

This is part of the reason why we see people challenging the status quo of criminal justice in our country now in the way that they do. Taking a knee or locking arms during the National Anthem is their way of saying freedom isn’t being afforded to everyone on an equal footing in America.

It may not be your way of expressing and it isn’t my way. I prefer to use the very valuable lessons history has shared with us to show how illusory freedom can be, how very different it can be for all of us.  But the very word, freedom, affords them the opportunity to do that.

Isn’t that what ultimately, this is about?

Freedom Looks Different

Freedom does in fact, look different to different people. As an African-American, I am never too far removed from the reality that my freedom is something that’s very different from that of white Americans.

My freedom wasn’t actually realized until December 6, 1865 when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It wouldn’t be until 1868 when the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing equal protection under the laws among other things, would be ratified. And in 1869, a new Amendment, the 15th, guaranteed all American citizens the right to vote. By all appearances, blacks in America would have equality . . . freedom.

Unfortunately, those appearances were exactly that. Reconstruction in the South came to an abrupt end through a seemingly never-ending succession of laws passed by various states aimed at restricting the rights of blacks, the “Jim Crow” laws as they were known, succeeded in making freedom elusive for most people of color.

Lynchings were carried out on a frequent basis and became almost carnival-like with large crowds gathering and hawkers present. Post cards of lynchings including photos of people who were literally gutted and burned alive were popular and often used to show friends and relatives in other places what might lie in store for blacks who dared to violate any of these Jim Crow norms.

Freedom for my ancestors at that point meant simply existing to the next day and trying mightily not to offend anyone. Voting was certainly something most blacks in the South couldn’t do because of contrived poll tests. Segregation became the law of the land, including the North, after Plessy v. Ferguson and black freedom meant knowing your place…and staying in it.

Segregation and separation were a part of my life from the very beginning. I was born in a hospital designated for blacks because in 1956; my mother wasn’t welcomed in hospitals for whites.

Read more »


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Trump Picks Top White House Aide to run Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide, to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Nielsen, 45, a cyber security expert with an extensive background in homeland security, has a close working relationship with Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly. When Kelly served as Homeland Security secretary until recently, Nielsen was his top aide. When Kelly moved to the White House in July, Nielsen joined him as his principal deputy chief of staff.

Nielsen worked on homeland security issues during stings with the TSA and on the White House Homeland Security Council under George W. Bush.

Also considered for the job was House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas.


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