The Drug War’s Medical Quislings

by William N. Grigg

Assume_the_positionWhen police dragged Felix Booker, naked and shackled, into the emergency room at the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, they knew Dr. Michael LaPaglia would set aside his Hippocratic obligation to the patient and act as an agent of the State.

On at least two previous occasions, LaPaglia had performed invasive, non-consensual procedures in order to extract narcotics evidence on behalf of the police. Though he was acting as a deputy interrogator rather than a private physician, narcotics investigators disingenuously insisted that LaPaglia wasn’t subject to Fourth Amendment restrictions because he wasn’t a sworn law enforcement officer.

Booker was charged with felony marijuana possession, despite the fact that a search of the vehicle and his clothing turned up only 0.06 grams of the innocuous yet prohibited substance. Under what the State of Tennessee calls the “law,” that amount justified, at most, a misdemeanor citation.

During the traffic stop the arresting officer, Oak Ridge PD K-9 handler Daniel Steakley, claimed to have smelled marijuana and said that he saw “crumpled marijuana” on the floor of the vehicle. No evidence directly linked Booker to the contraband; it could have belonged to his brother William, who was driving the car. Steakley let William go without so much as citing him for an expired registration tag, which was the pretext for the stop.

The decision to arrest Booker clearly wasn’t dictated by the evidence, but grew out of Steakley’s history with Booker. On a previous occasion he had found a dozen bags of marijuana hidden in Booker’s underwear. A pat-down search during the more recent traffic stop found a substantial amount of currency in Booker’s pockets, which he claimed was a cash payment for a job pouring concrete.

In his report Steakley claimed that while he was reviewing William Booker’s license and registration documents, he could see Felix squirming in the passenger seat as if he were trying to conceal something. That furtive behavior supposedly continued after Booker was taken into custody.

At the Anderson County Jail, Booker was told to strip down in the shower and grab his ankles to facilitate a body cavity search. The officer conducting the inspection said that he saw a small string protruding from the relevant aperture. Still naked, Booker was shackled hand and foot, wrapped in a blanket, and taken to the Emergency Room. Invoking “exigent circumstances,” his captors didn’t bother to apply for a search warrant.

Booker’s vitals were normal when he was admitted to the hospital. He neither displayed nor complained about symptoms of any kind. He was adamant in refusing permission to conduct what was euphemistically called a DRE. (The “D” stands for “digital”; the “E” for “examination.” No extra points will be awarded to those who guess what “R” signifies.) Dr. LaPaglia told the captive patient that he was required to find and remove any drugs Booker had concealed in his body because of the potential risk to his health. Booker was told that if he didn’t submit, he would be given a paralyzing agent and the search would be happen anyway.

“That exam was going to occur with or without his consent,” LaPaglia later testified in court. He also attested that Booker eventually gave his verbal assent to a “digital search.” That claim was strenuously denied by Booker, and wasn’t corroborated by any of the nurses or officers who were in the room at the time. The doctor proceeded with the probe, only to be stymied by Booker’s instinctive resistance to the violation.

This inspired an utterance by LaPaglia that really should define his medical career: “If an individual does not want you to enter [his] rectum, you are not going to.”

In defiance of the principle – valid in both romantic and medical contexts – that “`no’ means `no,’” LaPaglia gave Booker a roofie. That is, he instructed an emergency room nurse to administer a sedative and paralytic agent intravenously. This meant that the victim (at this point, neither “suspect” nor “patient” is a suitable description) had to be intubated to control his breathing during what was now a life-threatening medical procedure.

Booker was paralyzed for about eight minutes, and unconscious for about a half-hour. During that time LaPaglia removed a five-gram “rock” of crack cocaine, which was turned over to Steakley.

Booker was indicted on a charge of cocaine possession with intent to distribute. His defense attorney filed a motion to suppress, contending, correctly, that the initial arrest was unlawful and that the involuntary medical examination — which, once again, involved a life-threatening procedure – was a mortifying violation of the protections supposedly afforded by the Fourth Amendment.

In August of last year, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Booker’s conviction, ruling that the “un-consented procedure” inflicted on him “shocks the conscience at least as much as the stomach pumping that the Supreme Court long ago held to violate due process.”

The 1952 Supreme Court ruling to which the Sixth Circuit referred, Rochin v. California, resulted from a case in which a doctor – acting on behalf of two sheriff’s deputies – delivered an emetic via a feeding tube into the stomach of a suspected drug dealer in order to force him to expel two capsules found to contain morphine. The High Court described the conduct of the officers and the doctor as “too close to the rack and screw to permit of constitutional differentiation.”

It is, or should be, self-evident that since it is unconstitutional to shove a feeding tube down a suspect’s throat, the forcible violation of a suspect’s antipodal bodily orifice must likewise be impermissible. It should be just as obvious that a doctor who commits an act of that kind is not behaving as a physician, but a police interrogator – a member of Mengele’s despicable fraternity, rather than a disciple of Hippocrates.

A patient who arrives in an ER with a rock of crack cocaine lodged in his descending digestive tract does face a potential medical emergency, notes neurosurgeon and historian Dr. Miguel Faria. However, the physician is morally and ethically required to obtain the patient’s consent if he is not in immediate danger.

“All the risks should be explained to the patient or his guardian,” Dr. Faria explained to me. “And then informed consent obtained. If the patient is unconscious and there is no family around, then the doctor may proceed on an emergency basis. The point is that the doctor must act in the interest of the patient first; society, the government, and the police come second.”

If the danger to the patient is minimal and if he “refused to give consent,” and the physical “acted solely in the interest of the police” because of the “refusal of the patient,” then “the doctor acted inappropriately and unethically,” continues Dr. Faria. It is never appropriate, at least under the canons of Hippocratic discipline, for a physician to act as a “government agent” in violation of the best interests, and informed decisions, of the patient.

On September 27, LaPaglia was informed that his claim of “qualified immunity” was rejected by the federal court that is now considering a lawsuit filed by his victim. The same news was given to Steakley and two other police officers who took part in the molestation of Felix Booker.

Although the officers continue to draw salaries as members of the State’s enforcement caste, LaPaglia is no longer licensed to practice medicine – not because of his treatment of Booker or his conduct in two similar cases, but because of allegations of grievous domestic violence and narcotics-related offenses.

In September of last year, LaPaglia’s then-girlfriend, Christina Maria Becker, called the police and obtained a protective order against the doctor. A search of LaPaglia’s home revealed the remnants of an extensive marijuana growing operation, in addition to substantial amounts of prescription pills and controlled pharmaceuticals.

In her affidavit, Becker claimed that LaPaglia frequently assaulted her and claimed that “if I ever contacted police for help or reported his drug use [he] would use his powers as a physician to have me committed to a psychiatric facility.”

Lurid accusations of this kind are commonplace in domestic disputes, and often quite difficult to corroborate. LaPaglia’s conduct as a Drug War collaborator lends a certain plausibility to Becker’s claims: Threatening to send an innocent and rational woman to the psychiatric gulag is what we should expect from a “medical professional” willing to adulterate his Hippocratic duty in the service of a totalitarian government policy.

In Deming, New Mexico, doctors carry out DREs and forced colonoscopies on behalf of the police; in Utah, forced catheterization in search of DUI and narcotics evidence is a well-established practice. In several states, “No refusal” DUI checkpoints result in compelled blood draws that are carried out either by police with no legitimate medical credentials, or people who have the credentials but lack the moral character to behave as physicians, rather than instruments of state policy.

Until we stop pretending that the State has a proprietary claim on us, and the corresponding authority to police the content of our bloodstreams, Prohibition will continue to provide career opportunities for medical Quislings of Michael LaPaglia’s ilk.

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That $1,200 Machine for Making Untraceable Guns Just Sold Out in 36 Hours

from Wired

metal-gun-inline22-660x440Americans want guns without serial numbers. And apparently, they want to make them at home.

On Wednesday, Cody Wilson’s libertarian non-profit Defense Distributed revealed the Ghost Gunner, a $1,200 computer-controlled (CNC) milling machine designed to let anyone make the aluminum body of an AR-15 rifle at home, with no expertise, no regulation, and no serial numbers. Since then, he’s sold more than 200 of the foot-cubed CNC mills—175 in the first 24 hours. That’s well beyond his expectations; Wilson had planned to sell only 110 of the machines total before cutting off orders.

To keep up, Wilson says he’s now raising the price for the next round of Ghost Gunners by $100. He has even hired another employee to add to Defense Distributed’s tiny operation. That makes four staffers on the group’s CNC milling project, an offshoot of its larger mission to foil gun control with digital DIY tools.

“People want this machine,” Wilson tells WIRED. “People want the battle rifle and the comfort of replicability, and the privacy component. They want it, and they’re buying it.”

Read more here.

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Bad News for the alarmists: ‘Missing Heat’ from Non-Existent ‘Global Warming’ isn’t Hiding in the Ocean After All

from Breitbart

Screen%20Shot%2020141007%20at%20173659The cause of climate alarmism has been struck another near-fatal blow by a new study from a NASA research team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.Using a combination of satellite observations and direct measurements taken by a network of 3,000 floating Argo temperature probes, the NASA team set out to calculate temperature changes and thermal expansion in the deep ocean (below 1.24 miles).

What they have found is that the deep ocean has not warmed measurably since at least 2005.

This unfortunate discovery represents a major problem for the climate alarmists because the “missing heat” supposedly hiding in the deep oceans has long been their favoured explanation as to why there has been no measured “global warming” for the last 18 years.

Here, for example, is what Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) told National Geographic in February this year:

“Strong trade winds are bringing cooler water to the surface in the equatorial Pacific and mixing more heat into the deeper ocean.”

This meant, National Geographic helpfully summarised, that “the missing heat from global warming is being stored in a deeper warm pool in the western Pacific.”

And here is NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth, Godfather of the “missing heat hiding in deep ocean” theory, speaking in October last year to Bloomberg.

In fact, there is mounting evidence that deeper regions of the ocean, down to 2000 meters, are absorbing heat faster than ever, Trenberth said in a phone call. His research shows the oceans began taking on significantly more heat at around the same time the surface warming began to slow in 1998. His widely cited work was published just after the cutoff to be included in the IPCC report.

The irony, says Trenberth, is that when the surface of the planet is unusually sweltering, the Earth actually radiates more heat into the atmosphere, in effect slowing the long-term warming of the planet. And in “hiatus” years, when the surface is cooler, the Earth absorbs more of the sun’s heat deep the oceans, slowly cooking the planet. What you see isn’t always what you get.

What has happened here, in other words, is that for years the warmists have been fobbing off their teachers with the excuse that “the dog ate their homework”. But it simply won’t wash any more because the teacher has now discovered that they don’t actually own a dog.

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US the biggest threat to world peace in 2013 – poll

from RT

CrackerJackNobelThe US has been voted as the most significant threat to world peace in a survey across 68 different countries. Anti-American sentiment was not only recorded in antagonistic countries, but also in many allied NATO partners like Turkey and Greece.

A global survey conducted by the Worldwide Independent Network and Gallup at the end of 2013 revealed strong animosity towards the US’s role as the world’s policeman. Citizens across over 60 nations were asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

The US topped the list, with 24 percent of people believing America to be the biggest danger to peace. Pakistan came second, with 8 percent of the vote and was closely followed by China with 6 percent. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea came in joint fourth place with 5 percent of the vote.

The threat from the US was rated most highly in the Middle East and North Africa, those areas most recently affected by American military intervention. Moreover, the survey showed that even Americans regard their country as a potential threat with 13 percent of them voting the US could disrupt global status quo.

Latin America expressed mixed feelings towards its northerly neighbor, with Peru, Brazil and Argentina all flagging the US as the most dangerous country.

After its numerous threats of a strike on Iran, many countries voted Israel was the biggest threat to prosperity. Morocco, Lebanon and Iraq all chose Israel as the number one danger to world peace.

In the survey participants were also asked: “If there were no barriers to living in any country of the world, which country would you like to live in?” Despite being the perceived largest threat to world peace, the US still topped the tables by a narrow margin of 9 percent.

In general 2013 saw a drop in approval ratings for the Obama Administration. A poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed that 50 percent of those asked thought that the political system in the US needed a “complete overhaul.”

In addition, 70 percent of Americans believe the government lacks the ability to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

The survey comes two months after the first government shutdown in 17 years in the US which cost the country an estimated $10 billion.

The American government’s credibility was dealt a blow earlier this year when President Obama made a call to strike Syria following a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government on civilians. The American public and the international community both opposed the action.

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Cops Shoot and Kill Grandpa in Raid Based on Tip from the Thief Who Stole His Car

from AlterNet

How we live nowWhen Teresa Hooks looked outside the craft room window of her Georgia home one night last week, she  saw hooded figures wearing camouflage standing outside.

The East Dublin woman woke up her husband,  David Hooks, who grabbed his shotgun, believing burglars who had recently targeted the couple had come back again, reported WMAZ-TV.

The sheriff’s deputies burst through the back door about 11 p.m. on Sept. 24 and, seeing David Hooks holding the weapon, fired 16 shots – killing the 59-year-old grandfather.

Authorities said Hooks met deputies at the door and pointed his weapon aggressively at officers as they announced themselves.

But Teresa Hooks said the officers did not knock and never identified themselves as law enforcement, and her attorney said David Hooks was killed behind a wall in the home — not at the door.

Deputies were executing a search warrant as part of a drug investigation based on a tip from one of the burglars accused of stealing a vehicle from Hooks.

The night before the raid, the search warrant stated, Rodney Garrett told investigators he stole a plastic bag from a pickup parked outside the Hooks home, believing it contained cash.

He also stole firearms and a set of digital scales, investigators said.

Garrett then stole a Lincoln Aviator from the Hooks home and drove the SUV to Dublin, investigators said, where he discovered the bag contained methamphetamine – not money.

The man told police he “became scared for his safety” and turned himself in to authorities, the TV station reported.

Garrett has since been arrested on burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, and other charges.

An attorney for Teresa Hooks said the burglary suspect’s claims shouldn’t have been enough to justify a search warrant, and he noted that no drugs or other illegal items were found at the couple’s home.

He also questioned the wisdom of serving search warrants to late at night.

“That search of some 44 hours conducted by numerous agents of the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) resulted in not one item of contraband being found,” said attorney Mitchell Shook. “He was not a drug user or a drug dealer.”

A detective noted in the warrant application that he knew Hooks and his home address from a previous investigation, claiming a suspect told authorities that he supplied meth to Hooks for resale.

Shook said that case was investigated in 2009, but neither the attorney nor sheriff’s deputies have said whether Hooks was charged.

Hooks owned a construction company that worked on military bases, Shook said, which required background check clearance by state and federal authorities – including the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“This is not a person who needs to be involved in criminal activity for financial gain,” Shook said. “He did very well financially.”

The slain man’s family has asked Sheriff Bill Harrell to suspend all the deputies who took part in the raid until the shooting death has been investigated.

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