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Murder Charges Are Possible After Oakland Warehouse Fire Killed at Least 36

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A massive warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. that killed at least 36 people Friday night was “a potential crime scene,” officials said Monday as the ATF helped investigate what caused the blaze.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said murder or involuntary manslaughter charges are among the possible consequences of the fire.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

What’s not clear, yet, is whether there is any criminal liability, O’Malley said.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

The ATF was on the scene trying to determine where the fire began. Officials believe the fire started somewhere in the back of the warehouse.

“We are no closer to finding a cause,” said Melinda Drayton, battalion chief for the Oakland Fire Department.

FBI Investigating Imminent Terrorist Threat Against Los Angeles Metro System

Los Angeles Metro

Los Angeles Metro

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating what it’s describing as a potentially imminent terrorist threat against the Los Angeles Metro system.

Authorities received specific information about the threat, but investigators are trying to determine whether the threat is credible, ABC News reports.

The FBI received a tip from an international partner that the threat was for this morning against the red line Metro.

The international partner received an anonymous call reporting a threat.

Police Reforms Likely Won’t Be Priority of Trump’s Justice Department

Militarized police

Militarized police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight years of police reforms under President Obama could be undone with the election of Donald Trump.

That’s a big concern for former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has described the Civil Rights Division as the department’s “crown jewel,” Vice News reports. 

Trump’s choice of Alabama Sen. Jeff Session as attorney general has raised serious concerns because his voting record and statements as a senator suggest he believes the federal government should not be involved with policing.

And with Trump’s pledge to reestablish “law and order,” many worry that the Justice Department is poised for a dramatic shift in priorities

Vice News wrote:

The Justice Department under President Barack Obama focused on criminal justice and police reform more heavily than past administrations did.

Laurie Robinson, who served as assistant attorney general from 1993 to 2000 and then again from 2009 to 2012, characterized Obama’s personal interest in the issue as “highly unusual” for a president but “helpful in spearheading attention.”

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, added that “the Obama administration understood better than previous administrations the calamities that were taking place.”

Marine Gen. John Kelly Appears to Be Trump’s Choice for Leading Homeland Security

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Retired Marine General John Kelly appears to be President-elect Donald Trump’s top choice for leading Homeland Security.

The 66-year-old with more than four decades of military experience would play a major role in Trump’s plans to secure the border and crack down on illegal immigration, Politico reports. 

When Kelly was the chief of U.S. Southern Command, he oversaw military operations and clashed with the Obama administration on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Politico wrote:

His addition to the Trump administration would likely have implications on candidates for remaining cabinet posts. If formally offered the position, Kelly would be the third general tapped by the president-elect, in addition to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as Trump’s national security adviser, and retired Gen. James Mattis, who Trump said Thursday he intended to nominate as his Defense Secretary. Concerns about the number of military officials in Trump’s cabinet may harm the prospects of another military man, retired Gen. David Petraeus, whom Trump is considering for secretary of state.

Foundation for Economic Freedom: DEA’s War on Painkillers to Blame for Many Deaths

pillsBy The Foundation for Economic Freedom
Value Walk

Many of these deaths result not from painkillers, but from the DEA’s war on painkillers.

Heroin overdose rates doubled in 28 states between 2010 and 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A record-breaking 28,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2014. In 2000, the age-adjusted drug overdose death rate was 6.2 per 100,000 persons. By 2014, it had more than doubled, to 14.7, according to the CDC.

What happened?

The truth is that many of those deaths are completely preventable and result not from painkillers, but from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s war on painkillers.

This week, the Senate is likely to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. Among other things, it allocates $1 billion to help states “combat heroin and painkiller addiction and recovery.” Policymakers would be wise to make sure that states don’t use that $1 billion to make the problem worse.

Who’s Taking Opioids?

Marine corporal Craig Schroeder served in Iraq. In the so-called “Triangle of Death” region, south of Baghdad, a makeshift-bomb explosion left him with traumatic brain injury. Schroeder returned home with a broken foot and ankle and a herniated disc in his back. He suffers from chronic pain in addition to hearing and memory loss.

And the regulations keep coming.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that half of all troops who return from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from chronic pain.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Obama Administration Admits It Improperly Approved 175 Immigrants for Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s administration acknowledged this weekend that it approved about 175 immigrants for citizenship without properly running their names through the FBI’s name-check databases.

That means the federal government may have missed red flags to disqualify some of them from naturalization, the Washington Times reports. 

The error was blamed on computer code, affecting about 15,000 applicants.

Because of the error, the government has halted “all naturalization ceremonies already in the pipeline and banned U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers from approving new citizenship applications beginning on Nov. 29, when officials acknowledged the problem in an internal email that was later obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte,” The Times wrote.

Daniel M. Renaud, associate director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told all officers in an internal email “not to approve or oath any naturalization cases in ELIS,” referring to the Electronic Immigration System that serves as the case management system for processing applications.

“At this point we are not confident that proper FBI Name Checks have been run on certain ELIS cases. At this point we are uncertain of the scope of the problem,” he wrote.

More than Dozen FBI Agents Fell Seriously Ill from Massive Cedar Sculpture in Office

Photos via Instagram.

Photos via Instagram.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen FBI agents have become seriously ill after a massive cedar sculpture was installed in their Miami field office.

The federal government paid $750,000 for the 17-foot-tall sculptures, which was made from western red cedar, Artnet.com reports. 

Authorities believe the agents fell ill because of allergies to the sculpture’s cedar dust.

“The health and safety issues surrounding the sculpture were real,” Richard Haley, the FBI’s assistant director of finance overseeing department property, wrote in a document, as Politico reports.

“One employee required an 11-day hospital stay and none have been able to return to work at the new field office.”

The GSA spent $412,000 removing the artwork and cleaning the offices.

FBI Agent: Informant Says He Was Discouraged from Investigating Republicans in PA Probe

Harrisburg Capitol Building in Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg Capitol Building in Pennsylvania.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent said an informant in a statehouse sting in Pennsylvania notified him that he was pressured to only target Democrats.

The case has snagged five Democrats and no Republicans.

FBI Special Agent Richard Haag made the comments in a defense filing for Democratic state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

State investigators denied any partisan motive.

“Never, ever was he told to steer towards one party or another,” former state prosecutor Frank Fina told the newspaper, speaking of informant Tyron Ali.

The informant’s cooperation began in 2010 to gain leniency in a state fraud case. In a 2013 email, Haag wrote that Ali asserted that he had been “reprimanded” for questioning Republicans and was told “not to make any initiative in contacting Republicans in the future.”