Nurse Assaulted By Police For Abiding By Protocol Files Federal Lawsuit For Use Of Excessive Force

Exactly two years ago, Lawrenceville, Ga., police shocked a registered nurse with a Taser and arrested her after she refused to grant the cops access to a patient suspected of sexual assault at the psychiatric unit where she worked. Now, the woman has filed a Federal lawsuit against them.

Marthe Bien-Aime, who is suing officers Christy Vice, Mark Tinkey, C.L. Hyatt and Shawn Humphreys, alleges the police subjected her to excessive force in the Oct. 31, 2011 incident. Bien-Aime greeted the police when they showed up in response to a call alleging the patient had sexually abused another patient, but she would not allow them access to the suspect until she had obtained permission from her unit supervisor.

Bien-Aime, who was working at the Summit Ridge mental health facility in Lawrenceville, told the cops she had sworn an oath to protect her patients and that she simply needed to call her nursing director for permission to let the officers into the unit where the suspect was being treated.

But the officers claimed to have an arrest warrant for the patient and threatened to arrest her for obstruction unless she broke her own code of professional ethics, for which she herself is accountable before the law, by giving them immediate access to the patient.

From the complaint:

21. The Defendant officers had a piece of paper that they said was a warrant, but they did not allow Nurse Bien-Aime to read it, so she was unable to confirm whether it was a warrant or what patient it was for.

22. Nurse Bien-Aime then called the Director of Nursing, Shelley Beaubrun, and told her what was happening with the police officers. Ms. Beaubrun asked to speak with the officers and Nurse Bien-Aime held out the phone so that they could speak to her.

23. The officers refused to speak with Ms. Beaubrun and said they were going to arrest Nurse Bien-Aime for obstructing justice.

24. As Nurse Bien-Aime remained behind the counter in the nurse’s station, waiting for guidance from Ms. Beaubrun on the telephone, Lt. Tinkey burst through the door to the nursing station, followed by Officers Hyatt and Humphreys, and Defendant Vice grabbed the phone and began speaking to Ms. Beaubrun.

25. Lt. Tinkey, Officer Hyatt, and Officer Humphreys grabbed Nurse Bien-Aime’s hands and arms and began twisting her arms backward. Then they threw her to the floor with great force and shackled her wrists with a chain and handcuffs.

26. Nurse Bien-Aime cried out in pain due to the tightness of the handcuffs, as well as from the aggravation of an old left shoulder injury and new injuries to other parts of the body resulting from Defendants’ unreasonable and unjustified use of force against her.

27. She asked the Defendant officer several times to loosen the handcuffs but they would not do it.

28. When they got her off the floor and began escorting her out, Nurse Bien-Aime had difficulty walking and the Defendant officers kept shoving her.

29. After going through a set of double doors in the hallway, Nurse Bien-Aime lost her balance and fell to the floor. The Defendant officers yelled for her to get up but she was not able to, and they told her they would drag her if she didn’t get up.

30. Officer Vice said “let’s tase her” and then they proceeded to do so.

Bien-Aime was taken to the Gwinnett County Detention Center, subjected to a body search, given ice for her bruises and — after waiting for an arrest warrant to be issued — charged with obstruction of justice.

Atlanta’s WSB-TV News recently obtained a video of the incident. Recorded by a surveillance camera inside the mental health facility, the video shows four officers throwing Bien-Aime to the ground and handcuffing her. “Then,” reporter Craig Lucie writes, “two officers dragged her out of the nurse station and one of the officers hit her on the back.”

At the moment the officer struck Bien-Aime, she was already safely in custody with her hands cuffed behind her back. She was walking down the hallway with an officer escorting her at either side.

I Pay Dead People: Medicare and Medicaid Misspent $23 Million On Benefits For Dead Patients

A report released Thursday by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reveals the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – the same agency responsible for setting the  Obamacare rollout in motion – paid more than $20 million in false benefits to dead people in 2011.

According to the report, CMS paid $23 million to providers, suppliers, Medicare Advantage organizations and prescription drug plan sponsors for dead patients, as well as $29 million in drug payouts for illegal aliens.

Altogether, the payments represent a fraction of the total amount of Medicare payouts in any given year. But the misspent money still elicited recommendations from the Inspector General’s office on how CMS must tighten the vetting process.

“The OIG offered a handful of recommendations,” The Hill reported Thursday, “such as taking action against providers and suppliers that had high numbers of claims with service dates after a beneficiary’s death, as a way to minimize further inappropriate payments.”

CMS administrator Mailynn Tavenner said the Medicaid agency accepts the findings, but she didn’t elaborate much.

“We agree that in cases where the information indicates an individual is not lawfully present in the United States, that individual should not be permitted to enroll or to remain enrolled in a Part D plan during the period where he or she is not eligible to receive federal benefits,” Tavenner said.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) criticized CMS for the finding, noting that the agency had been cautioned of the potential for such egregious abuses five years before they were uncovered.

Third Firearms Company Announces Relocation From Gun Control-Crazed New York

Two gun companies in New York have already announced they are relocating their operations out of the State in the wake of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hasty signing of the SAFE (Secure Ammunition and Firearms) Act early this year. Now a third company is following suit.

American Tactical Imports, which ships other manufacturers’ firearms and also manufactures its own weapons, has announced it will relocate to Summerville, South Carolina in a move that is expected to transfer 117 jobs as part of a new $2.7 million investment.

Company officials attribute their decision to New York’s restrictive gun control stance, as well as to their belief that South Carolina offers a legal climate that hews more closely to the 2nd Amendment.

“As one of the gun industry’s top importers and manufacturers of firearms and firearm related accessories, ATI’s decision to relocate is two-fold,” the company explained Monday in a press release. “ATI believes it is imperative that a firearms importer and manufacturer do business within a state that is friendly to the Second Amendment rights of the people.”

Two other New York-based companies have announced relocation plans this year as a result of the State’s latest round of restrictions on firearms. Officials with the Kahr Firearms Group said in August their company would relocate to Pennsylvania. Remington Arms, which has been based in New York for more than 150 years, began searching in August for a site in Tennessee to relocate its 1,200-employee operation.

Is All That Technology Just A Big Headache? Yes (Literally)

As ever more-sophisticated smart phones, tablets and portable computers continue their creep into everyday life, people who grudgingly cave in to buy an iPhone or Android device can often find the learning curve to be a major pain. But reports suggest that those headaches your cell phones are giving you may be very real.

A recent series of studies has documented everything from mild nausea after viewing animations on tiny phone screens to headaches from focusing on the artificially-deep viewing plane created by advanced operating system layouts.

Apple’s newest iPhone operating system, iOS7, has even prompted some developers to come up with workaround apps to alleviate users’ headache and vertigo complaints from staring at the interface’s brightly-colored graphics and zooming, fluid animations.

But if the headaches aren’t getting to you, the strange sensation of feeling your phone vibrate when it’s not anywhere near you might. A professor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Ft. Wayne, Ind. found that 89 percent of her tech-savvy students had experienced so-called “phantom pocket vibration syndrome,” a phenomenon during which a person perceives that the cell phone is vibrating in their pocket – even though the phone is somewhere else.

That condition is supposedly caused by the way in which the brain becomes conditioned to repetitive and anticipated physical stimuli.

“I think that these two phenomena, [Fear of Missing Out] and phantom vibration syndrome, both capture the same prevailing issue,” wrote psychology professor Larry Rosen earlier this year. “We are now so primed with anxiety about our electronic world (and particularly that which involves communicating such as text messages and social media) that we misinterpret a simple signal from our neurons located below our pocket as an incoming message rather than an itch that needs to be scratched. As we are finding out, it really seems to be all about anxiety that builds up when we are not allowed to check in with our social media which young people appear to check extremely often.”

Another School To Allow Concealed Carry For Teachers

It’s only been two days since we told you about an Oregon school district that had elected to allow teachers to lawfully carry concealed weapons on campus. Well, it looks as though the dominoes are continuing to fall – this time in rural Colorado.

A school in the small town of Briggsdale, Colo., located north of Denver in rural Weld County, will begin allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons so long as they agree to participate in ongoing training that requires shooting a minimum of 100 rounds each month at a firing range.

According to NBC 9 News, school superintendent Rick Mondt said the decision, “is a benefit, we believe, to the security of our students,” stems in part from the fact that police and emergency medical response times for the small school are too great to compromise security by asking teachers and students to sit on their hands if a violent situation arises.

Weld County sheriff John Cooke, who joined other Colorado sheriffs earlier this year in taking a stand against enforcing the State’s recently-passed gun control legislation, said he fully supports the plan.

Briggsdale doesn’t have a municipal police department, and emergency responders can take 20 minutes or more to arrive. Devising a way for rural Colorado schools to deal with active shooter situations was discussed in the State Legislature after last December’s headline-grabbing massacre at a school in Sandy Hook, Conn., but a proposal to allow school systems to autonomously decide whether to allow armed teachers died during the session.

According to The Daily Caller, rural schools have attempted to get past the restriction on concealed carry by having some staff members serve double duty as trained security guards. In Briggsdale, though, the school system decided to open that dual-service role to any employee who wishes to participate and to maintain their training. Four of the school’s 18 teachers have reportedly signed on, though the school is (sensibly) declining to disclose their identities.

Halloween Special: The Dreaded Obama Mask Offends Again

A guy or girl – the offender was wearing a mask – got the suits at a Kentucky hospital all up in arms recently after participating in a Halloween costume contest while wearing a straitjacket and sporting the dreaded mask that gets everyone in trouble – the grotesque mask representing the likeness of President Barack Obama.

obamaKYcostume

WZTV Nashville reported Tuesday that the vice president of human resources at Jennie Stuart Medical Center was apologizing to hospital staff and taking personal responsibility for the incident, and was asking that “employees refrain from political, religious, ethnic and gender-based costumes at other functions.”

A hapless rodeo clown at this year’s Missouri State Fair pioneered the Obama-impersonating martyrdom phenomenon when he dared to look like this at a rodeo back in August:

obamarodeo

But if you’re a “True Blood” fan, perhaps you’ll remember this scene from season five (that’s way back in 2012), when a gang of gun-toting rednecks rode around the fictional town of Bon Temps, La. doing target practice on anybody whose existence they felt constituted a violation of the natural order of things:

truebloodobama

Remember the National flap that proceeded from HBO’s misappropriation of Barry’s mug in the portrayal of – oh, my goodness – a hate group? That’s because there wasn’t one.

As for the hospital staffer who wore the Obama mask, at least there’s a silver lining: The group featuring the Obama character earned third place in the costume competition.

Facebook Software Could Soon Track Where Your Cursor Goes On Screen

The private tech sector is playing with new marketing-driven surveillance methods that borrow from the much-reviled tactical thinking that has made the NSA an object of public outrage. If a test of Facebook’s new tracking software is successful, someone somewhere could know where your mouse is pointing anywhere on an open Facebook page – all without your knowledge.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is trying out technology that “would greatly expand the scope of data that it collects about its users” by following a site visitor’s passive behavior – such as how long a mouse cursor stays hovered over a link or a picture – down to a minute level of detail.

Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin told the Journal Tuesday the company could use the additional data for myriad purposes, from ad targeting to behavioral research in the development of new offerings:

Facebook collects two kinds of data, demographic and behavioral. The demographic data—such as where a user lives or went to school—documents a user’s life beyond the network. The behavioral data—such as one’s circle of Facebook friends, or “likes”—is captured in real time on the network itself. The ongoing tests would greatly expand the behavioral data that is collected, according to Mr. Rudin. The tests are ongoing and part of a broader technology testing program, but Facebook should know within months whether it makes sense to incorporate the new data collection into the business, he said.

It’s all benign until someone gets hurt. As we’ve seen our government allows the private sector to do much of the heavy lifting in its endeavor to reap boundless information on private citizens’ Internet habits, probable cause be damned.

If Facebook and other companies deploy tracking technology that essentially watches your every move as you go about your business, it won’t only be the Facebooks of the world that know more about you than most of your buddies. Because you can guarantee the government, through subpoenas and less-legal means, will have access to that same info, too.

Food Stamp Riots? Nation’s Largest Food Bank Sees Falling Skies Over Expired Food Stimulus

The CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, reportedly the Nation’s largest food outreach program, is insinuating that riots could erupt if program cuts slated to kick in this weekend are allowed to take effect.

According to Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank, the scheduled expiration of food stimulus money will shrink the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $5 billion dollars and create instant havoc among entitlement recipients – a recipe for rioting that could boil over as soon as this weekend.

“If you look across the world, riots always begin typically the same way: when people cannot afford to eat food,” Purvis told Salon Monday:

Purvis said that the looming cut would mean about 76 million meals “that will no longer be on the plates of the poorest families” in NYC alone – a figure that outstrips the total number of meals distributed each year by the Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the country. “There will be an immediate impact,” she said.

“The fact that they’re going to lose what’s basically an entire week’s worth food” each month, said Purvis, “it’s pretty daunting.” She told Salon that while policymakers “are attempting to punish people for being poor,” and “people are comforted by believing that they know that a person has to have done something wrong in order to be poor,” in reality, “I can tell you that more and more folks have more than one job and are still needing help.” …Purvis added that cutting food stamps was “not even good business sense,” because each dollar of food stamps infuses over $1.70 of spending into the economy.

Purvis went on to add that “the first line of defense against hunger is a food stamp.”

Who knew?

Meanwhile, Neil Cavuto at Fox News has speculated that a recent $80 million outlay by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directly related to an anticipated (or perhaps hoped for) Food Stamp riot event. DHS spent the funds to beef up armed security at government buildings in upstate New York, adding to the department’s growing list of questionable militarization measures presumably aimed at U.S. citizens who would create civil unrest by galvanizing against government policy.

“November 1st could be a very, very iffy kind of a day,” Cavuto intoned on his Fox News program. “…This could be ‘all-hell-breaks-loose day’…[O]n November 1st, the food stamp program is set to start decreasing the amount that is allocated to food stamp recipients….and they’re worried that violence will ensue.”

The whole chicken-little tone of this impending SNAP disaster almost smacks of bloodlust. The hyperbole coming from the far left and the far right – coupled with the indisputable fact that government itself is incrementally hoarding military-style armaments and equipment for uses that are ostensibly of a “civil” nature – indicate that at least a few rapturous policymakers and pundits are longing for a doomsday episode in which America’s leaders turn against American citizens.

Libertarians Don’t Identify With Tea Party Thanks To Social Issues

There’s a little bit of tea party overlap – but not a lot of lockstep agreement – among people who think of themselves as libertarians. Social issues like recreational drug use, gay marriage, abortion and the role of religion in government are the chief reasons why the majority of self-described libertarians say they don’t see eye to eye with the Tea Party movement.

Across the Internet, including on websites like this one, libertarianism and Tea Party conservatism are often conflated by casual outside observers. But a new survey, done by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), finds that 61 percent of libertarians say they don’t identify with the Tea Party.

From the survey synopsis:

The annual look at religion, values and public policy in America from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute finds libertarians make up a smaller portion of the Republican Party than other conservative constituency groups. Twelve percent of self-identified Republicans are libertarian, compared to 20 percent of Republicans who identify with the Tea Party and 33 percent who say they belong to the religious right or conservative Christian movement.

Libertarians are also half as likely as those who identify with the Tea Party movement to say they consider themselves part of the Christian right. Only 1-in-5 (22 percent) libertarians say they belong to the religious right or conservative Christian movement. However, about half (52 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement say they are a part of the Christian right, a connection that has held steady since PRRI began tracking this relationship in 2010.

There’s a lot of agreement between Tea Party conservatives and libertarians on fiscal policy. But the divide widens greatly on “hands-off” personal issues that elicit strong support among conservatives – particularly religious conservatives – for government regulation.

“While libertarians are aligned with other key conservative constituencies on economic issues, they are at odds with other conservative groups on a range of social issues,” said PRRI research director Daniel Cox. “A majority of libertarians oppose making it more difficult for women to obtain an abortion, and strongly support legalizing both marijuana and physician-assisted suicide.”

The survey, which randomly sampled 2,317 adults living in the U.S., interviewed respondents both online and by telephone between Sept. 21 and Oct. 3 of this year.

Read the full report of the 2013 American Values Survey here.

Pelosi Tries To Leverage Boehner On Bringing Comprehensive Immigration Reform To House Vote

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pre-gamed an anticipated battle over comprehensive immigration reform today by placing the ball in House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) court.

Posting on a question-and-answer session hosted on her Facebook page Tuesday, Pelosi boasted that such a plan would clear the House – if Boehner will give the legislation a chance.

“With 28 Republicans having publicly expressed support for a path to citizenship, we believe the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill,” she wrote. “It’s just a question whether Speaker Boehner can muster the will to schedule a vote….There are Republicans who support this effort, we must make sure their voices are heard. The time for excuses is over — it’s time to pass this bill and get the job done for the American people.”

Supporters of the plan indeed have claimed 28 Republican House members as backers of comprehensive reform – although the definitive comments of some of those listed over at the web page for amnesty advocate America’s Voice reveal a bit of interpretive leeway in arriving at that number.

Here’s a chart listing those 28 GOP’ers who supposedly share a single mind on the amnesty question:

28gopHeads