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De-facto Amnesty for all

National ReviewThe Migration Policy Institute, CIS’s opposite number on the high-immigration side, has released a report estimating that fully 87 percent of the illegal population is exempt from immigration law following President Obama’s November amnesty decrees. This is a change from the 2010-2011 decrees, under which only 73 percent of illegals enjoyed de facto amnesty.

We cannot solve our immigration problems by simply declaring that everyone who can make it into the country can stay. Particularly not when we are in an effective state of war with terrorists.

2015-07-29 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

SWAT raid leading to child injury results in charges for falsified warrant

You may remember a case some time back where a SWAT team tossed a flash-bag grenade into a baby's crib, leading to horrible disfiguring injuries for the child. The sheriff who led the raid has now been charged with lying to obtain the search warrant. I have no doubt that the high public profile and horrific results of this raid helped bring about the charges, and I have no doubt that there are many other cases out there getting less attention despite similarly falsified warrants.

2015-07-29 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Sandra Bland Case

Legal Insurrection has a detailed description of the Sandra Bland arrest (not her subsequent death-by-presumed-suicide in jail later). I think he's mostly rigth on the legal analysis, and I'm not going to quibble with it, though I will also refer readers to Orin Kerr's more sympathetic analysis.

I do think it is important to say this, though: if the current state of the law allows a police officer to conduct a traffic stop, order someone to put out their cigarette, and use the refusal of that order to justify an arrest for noncompliance, and use the noncompliance with the arrest to justify the use of force, and so on... then the current state of the law is bullshit.

Police officers should not have the legal authority to issue orders on anything they please with the authority to enforce compliance by force. A simple traffic stop should not escalate into an arrest-by-force because the driver is not interested in putting out her cigarette. Drivers should not have to fear that every polite request from a police officer is backed by immediate threat of violence if they do not comply, whether or not the request was justified. And instinctively resisting being forcibly removed from your vehicle and handcuffed should not create new offenses (resisting arrest) that can then justify further imprisonment and the creation of a criminal record.

These things, and especially the sense of fear and apprehension that every driver feels when they see a police car and wonder whether they are going to get pulled over, are indicators of a police state.

2015-07-29 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Be Prepared

2015-07-29 09:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Rep Meadows moves to oust Boehner

Gateway PunditMeadows was removed from his subcommittee chairmanship by Republican leadership when he did not support the unpopular Obamatrade deal. On Tuesday Mark Meadows moved to oust failed Speaker John Boehner.

I support this effort. Boehner must go.

I'm skeptical about his chances, but if we keep trying, eventually we will succeed.

Wed Jul 29 08:55:07 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House Oversight calls on Obama to remove IRS Commissioner Koskinen

House OversightToday, Chairman Jason Chaffetz along with 20 members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee joined together in calling upon President Obama to remove Internal Revenue Service(IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen from office.

Read their letter to Obama.

If Koskinen is not removed, they are threatening to impeach Koskinen. At this point, I think that's absolutely necessary and in fact a rather restrained response to the fiasco. Even so, it will be tough to get 67 votes in the Senate.

What's depressing is that the Republican leadership seems to think this sort of activity will distract their base from the betrayals of principle and caving to Obama that they have been engaged in since the 2014 elections.

It will not.

But there's more information in the Oversight letter that's worth pointing out. Specifically, we now know how the backup tapes were destroyed despite the preservation order in place.

House Oversight LetterLyewsang authorized the desctruction of the tapes because Steve Warren, the manager of IT backup equipment nationwide, told him the tapes were not needed and the room where they were located needed to be cleaned out. Warren told Lyewsang the agency no longer needed the tapes sometime in the fall of 2013. Lyewsang told TIGTA that the IRS wanted to remodel the space to house a new network operations center, and he was being pressured to move the backup tapes. Lyewsang's intern testified under oath about the disorganized cleaning process, specifically that the room in question had been a year overdue for clearing out to reduce computer space.

So why the sudden pressure for a new network operations center in the room holding all their old backups? I smell a rat here. The timing stinks, since the destruction of the tapes comes less than a month after the email gap was discovered at the IRS. And isn't it funny how the discovery of that gap in itself was not followed up on in any kind of timely fashion?

The backup tapes still existed -- were apparently being preserved -- until an IRS employee noticed the gap and sought to conduct a quality control check using the backup tapes to see what happened to the missing emails. That quality control check didn't take place... and instead, suddenly pressure was applied to the people managing the backup tapes to destroy them. The pressure doesn't sound like the routine sort of pressure -- "Gosh, why do we still have all these old tapes around?" -- but rather, a sudden need to repurpose the storage space for something else. That "need" wouldn't require the destruction of backup tapes, which could be easily moved to another location. Or provided directly to Congress if the IRS no longer wished to use a room storing them.

So in light of those facts, why hasn't Congress called Steve Warren before the Oversight Committee to testify under oath why he was so insistent on that storage space being cleared out all of a sudden? Was he put under pressure? Did someone order him to find an excuse to destroy those tapes?

If we ask the right questions, maybe we'll actually get answers.

Tue Jul 28 13:45:51 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz unloads on Majority Leader McConnell

Ted Cruz calls McConnell out on lying to his party, restricting legislative amendments in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan Harry Reid, being a corporate tool, making secret deals with the Democrats, and generally being corrupt. Watch the whole thing.

2015-07-28 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cruz paying attention to issues that matter

The HillSen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wants to use the highway spending bill to get a vote to strengthen an unrelated oversight bill on the Internet domain name transition.

The presidential candidate on Thursday night filed an amendment to the highway bill that would require Congress to vote before the Commerce Department could give up its oversight role over the system that allows Internet users to easily find websites using an address.

The Obama-initiated process for moving the Domain Name System over to UN control has been proceeding under the radar for a while. Frankly, while putting the US government in charge of the domain name system isn't great, it's a lot better than putting the UN in charge of the system. The US at least has enforceable commitments to free speech. In the UN, it would just become another political football used to enable government censorship.

The best technical option is to transition to a decentralized DNS system, but that's not on the table. Keeping it under US control is the best short-term option we have,

2015-07-28 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Two Inspector Generals request criminal investigation of Clinton email server

New York TimesTwo inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.

Given that Clinton was Secretary of State and used this unusual email arrangement as her only email address during that time, it's pretty much inconceivable that nothing classified or national-security-sensitive was ever sent to or by her using that address. The question will be whether there is political will to pursue the investigation (which really boils down to whether Obama is sufficiently opposed to Hillary following him as President to kneecap her), and if so, whether mishandling of those emails can be proven given that Clinton has presumably shredded the server by now.

Sharyl Attkisson has more on the bias inherent in the system.

The investigation conducted by the Intelligence IG was not very difficult, finding four classified emails after reviewing only 40 (with tens of thousands remaining):
The HillThe four emails “were classified when they were sent and are classified now,” Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, told the newspaper. The watchdog office has reviewed only 40 emails from Clinton’s server, out of a total of more than 30,000 she sent and received while helming the Department of State.

The Wall Street Journal obtained the whole report, if you happen to be a subscriber. The New York Times has already been caught rewriting their article to use the passive voice at the Clinton's request.

2015-07-28 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

No proof of targeting?

PBS“The IRS has strong protections in place to ensure that exempt organizations are selected for audit only for the purpose of enforcing the federal tax laws with fairness and integrity,” the IRS said in a statement. “No internal or external review conducted to date has found any indication that an exempt organization has been improperly selected for audit.”

Let's consider what that lack of proof consists of.

PBSIn 2014, the IRS completed a little more than 8,000 audits of tax-exempt groups... Others groups were selected as part of compliance projects in which the IRS studied types of groups or activities that might be at risk for tax evasion. More than 1,600 were selected based on referrals or complaints from the public, IRS employees and other government agencies.

We know that Lerner ran one of those "compliance projects" as part of her targeting activities. That was why she claimed to be asking so many intrusive questions about the tax-exempt organizations on her targeting list; she was trying to develop information she could use to understand how they operated in order to prosecute them. And, of the 1600 selected based on referrals, we know from reading the rest of the GAO report that about 25% of those referrals did not keep any record of the referral itself, meaning that they could have been referred for political targeting reasons and we would have no way of knowing that was the case. And, in fact, we know that that was the case in at least one situation (see the ZStreet lawsuit, where they were audited based on having political opinions different from the administration's political goals).

Oh, and what happens to those referral cases?

PBSThe referrals go to specialists, who either recommend an audit or dismiss them. Referrals that deal with political activities, churches or high-profile organizations that have attracted media attention are also reviewed by three-person panels.

IRS procedures are designed to prevent individual employees from unfairly selecting groups for an audit, based on inappropriate criteria. However, the GAO report found: “Staff are not required to obtain executive management approval to deviate from these procedures.”

Also, supervisors don’t always document whether they have approved audits, or decisions to cancel audits, the report said.

In other words, we have no idea. Individuals at the IRS can change the rules willy-nilly, don't need to document that they did so, don't need approval from their supervisors, and if they choose to get that approval, the supervisors don't need to document whether they approved or denied a request or why they approved or denied it.

And let's not forget that we got to this utter lack of evidence of targeting by following a trail of admissions, apologies, 5th-amendment pleas, and destroyed hard drives.

The only lesson the IRS has learned from this is that they can't be punished if they destroy the evidence.

2015-07-28 09:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Beginning to address the illegal immigration problem

Power LinePaul wrote earlier today about the alien crime wave in Texas. In Congress, Senators Jeff Sessions and Ron Johnson have offered legislation that begins to address the problem of violent crimes committed by illegal aliens. It’s called the Protecting American Lives Act; the full text is here.

Obama has already threatened to veto any legislation attacking sanctuary cities. We should make him do just that, and then override the veto.

2015-07-27 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Objective, viewpoint-neutral reporting

at Buzzfeed, following another shooting in a gun free zone.

2015-07-27 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Democrat operatives with bylines

PowerlineThe Washington Post has rehired Dave Weigel. He is covering the presidential campaign for the paper. In his last stint with the Post, Weigel covered the conservative movement. However, he lost his job due to vicious comments he posted on Journolist about major conservative figures and the conservative movement in general.

They fired him just long enough to be able to claim objectivity, and now they are bringing him back for the election.

I've occasionally noted in recent days that the Washington Post seemed to be making more of an effort to cover both sides of political issues. The goodwill they earned doing that is easily squandered by a boneheaded move like this one.

2015-07-27 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOJ denies Operation Choke Point targeting

The Daily SignalAn internal review of the Justice Department’s controversial initiative known as Operation Choke Point found no evidence that agency attorneys intentionally used the program to target legal and legitimate businesses such as pawn shops, gun dealers and payday lenders.

He's not even trying anymore. Obama just orders the coverup with a big shit-eatin' grin and laughs his ass off, secure in the knowledge that whatever blackmail goods he's got on Congress will keep him safe and secure for the next year and a half.

2015-07-27 09:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What to make of Obama's comments about the IRS scandal?

Fox BusinessYou’ve got this back office, and they’re going after the Tea Party. Well, it turned out, no, Congress had passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what it was they were trying to do. They did it poorly and stupidly,” he said.

President Obama went on to say there was never a plot to go after conservative groups.

“The truth of the matter is that there was not some big conspiracy there. They were trying to sort out these conflicting demands. You don’t want all this money pouring through non-for- profits, but you also want to make sure everybody is being treated fairly,” he said.

He said this the day before two facts came to light:

1) Judicial Watch received emails proving that the IRS, including Lerner, sought to audit individual donors to conservative groups, including using a tax which has been invalidated by the Supreme Court for 30 years.

2) The Government Accountability Office issued a report indicating that controls at the IRS to prevent political targeting are deficient.

He knew that was happening and so he decided to get out in front of the issue with his big lie.

2015-07-26 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More fake victories claimed by Mom's Demand

They are trying to build momentum for an attack on Cabela's being willing (as the law allows) to do a default-proceed after a NICS delay response runs out the clock.

Shall Not Be QuestionedThe reason default proceeds exist, and need to exist, is because without them, all the a petulant Administration would have to do to shut down gun sales entirely is take the NICS system offline.

As has been known to happen on a regular basis over any given weekend with a big gun show happening somewhere.

2015-07-26 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Not a smidgen of corruption?

Fox BusinessThe GAO now says that IRS political “targeting is indeed possible in the audit process” for nonprofits, largely due to poor agency oversight and controls.

“Unfortunately, the IRS has not taken sufficient steps to prevent targeting Americans based on their personal beliefs,” the GAO says.

Specifically, The GAO found that “control deficiencies” do “increase the risk” that the IRS nonprofit unit “could select organizations for examinations in an unfair manner—for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political or other views.”

In other words, despite all the noise, the IRS admitted to nothing, changed nothing, and continues to target the political opposition in whatever ways they think they can get away with. How does the IRS respond to this report? Denial. They even got Obama to go on late-night comedy TV to peddle the Big Lie.

Washington TimesThe tax agency wasn’t phased by the report, however, saying it accepts that better controls are needed, but it doesn’t think anything has gone wrong.

“We don’t think looking backwards that those controls led to anyone being improperly targeted,” Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress at a hearing called to examine the GAO’s report.

Let's recall that the whole controversy started when Lerner, trying to get ahead of an Inspector General report that claims targeting did occur, admitted and apologized for the targeting in response to a planted question, and that Obama himself called the admittedly improper targeting outrageous and vowed to hold the IRS accountable (which he has notably failed to do).

2015-07-26 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It's time for American corporations to rediscover political neutrality

You may have heard about the ongoing video expose' of Planned Parenthood selling the parts of aborted human babies for profit (and "I want to have a Lamborghini"). I'm generally opposed to abortion as an individual matter, but less comfortable with the government imposing a nationwide ban. I think Roe v Wade was conjured from thin air, that states can and should have the power to regulate abortion within their borders, and people can pick where they want to live on that basis. I also hope everyone reasonably sane can agree that selling the body parts of aborted fetuses for profit is despicable.

But I ran across a list of the companies supporting Planned Parenthood directly, and frankly, it surprised me. There are a lot of corporations there that you would think are relatively political neutral -- that is, companies that should be trying to actively avoid political controversy simply because taking sides on a contentious issue will inevitably offend their customers.

I think that, unnoticed by most of us, corporate culture has shifted. Large publicly-owned corporations no longer see their role in society as providing a service for profit and maybe doing some non-controversial charity work on the side for PR; the new culture appears to favor supporting left-wing causes under the radar until smacked on the nose about it by their customers. I can point to other instances: Tor employees calling its customers and authors neo-nazis, Mozilla firing their newly-appointed CEO because he once made a political donation to a group opposing gay marriage.

I think it's clear the culture has shifted underneath us, and it's time to start trying to shift it back.

2015-07-26 09:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

ICE director refuses to enforce immigration law without amnesty

BreitbartPresident Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director tells lawmakers that no consequences are planned for sanctuary cities until Congress first passes “comprehensive immigration reform.” Sarah Saldaña testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on criminal alien violence.

At some point, impeachment for failure to faithfully execute the laws needs to be put on the table. For lesser officials if not Obama himself. Unfortunately, it's too late in the political cycle for that to be effective; we'll have a new president before any such action could be completed.

2015-07-25 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Someone in Hollywood has decided to rehabilitate Dan Rather

Megan McArdle interrupts the historical airbrushing with a dose of truth.

2015-07-25 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Left is clueless on immigration, but may be coming around on the IRS

Peter Reilly via TaxProfTBH is concerned with illegal immigration, which is one of the Tea Party’s biggest issues. Being descended from some of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, famine refugees no less, I have a hard time connecting emotionally with the Tea Party animus toward the undocumented. Even if he is breaking the law, I just can’t get mad at somebody who is shaping up at the Home Depot to go hang drywall or do some landscaping so he can send money home to the Old Country. ...

That quote he's referring to is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, a national monument. What else is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument? Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants went through a legal process to enter the country.

Peter Reilly via TaxProf
One thing that I have noted about the exempt organization controversy is that a lot of noise is made about all the hoops that organizations have to jump through to get exempt status, but there is little attention paid when there is an outright denial. This ruling, which has received no other coverage I could find is another example of that phenomenon.

I can’t rule out that there is something altogether unsavory about this group that would cause me to sympathize with IRS in turning them down, but the rationale in the ruling does not really stand up.

The reason there hasn't been much attention paid to denials is that a denial can be appealed or the organization reorganized or disbanded to either meet the requirements, operate as some other type of organization, or give up. A denial is at least a decision. The brilliance of the IRS tactics was to keep organizations in limbo, without making a decision. Thus, they could not claim tax-exempt status effectively or appeal a denial of that status. They were stuck in red tape for years while elections passed them by.

2015-07-25 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Daily Signal calling for convention of the states to address tyranny

They specifically mention the IRS/DOJ tax-exempt scandal, the Wisconsin John Doe investigation, and Benghazi.

Daily SignalWhen a government becomes tyrannical, the people must hold them accountable while we still can.

As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It’s time we used the Constitution to save it.

I don't see any other way out. While these are perhaps poor examples -- it's difficult for a convention of the states to address determined abuses of process -- all three scandals are indicative of the attitude Washington, DC holds towards the people. DC is more interested in ruling the people than representing them. And the issues a convention of the states can more easily address, such as a balanced budget amendment and the implementation of term limits, can help those of us in real America bring DC back under our control.

2015-07-25 09:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama's latest gun control measure

It seems the latest gun control measure by the Obama administration is to put people who aren't capable of managing their own financial affairs on the list of prohibited persons. They have been doing this with veterans for years, targeting people who had an assigned fiduciary to manage their benefits, and it's slipped mostly under the radar. Now they are expanding it to people receiving social security benefits through a fiduciary as well. That's going to be a problem that hits several million people:

No Lawyers, only guns and moneyMany of you know that my day job is as a financial planner. If the criterion for being added to the NICS prohibited list is the inability to manage your own financial affairs, I have seen more people than I can count who would be on that list. I'm talking educated people - professionals. Many with advanced degrees and specialties. People with whom you would entrust your life if you were in the hospital yet who have debt out the ying-yang and are living paycheck to paycheck because they can't get a handle on their finances... What the hell are they thinking?

I can help explain what they are thinking, beyond the obvious. To Obama, these are just more names to add to a list. The bigger the list, the fewer people in America who have guns. But targeting social security recipients has a certain kind of cunning.

You see, these are mostly older people, and if they are on the fiduciary list they will be people who aren't able to fight to defend their own rights. That makes them easy targets. But they are also people who likely already have guns, and are likely to pass away in the near future. When they pass, something will happen to their guns; likely those guns will be passed down to their children, even if they sat unused in a safe for the last few years. If Obama can keep them from acquiring more guns, he can keep those guns from being passed down to their children. And I'm not exactly sure of this point, but if someone is on the NICS prohibited list to buy a gun, it would provide an excellent excuse to confiscate their existing guns.

The details of how that would happen are up in the air. I don't see police specifically going out to homes with fiduciaries and demanding to take their guns. But you can bet that any excuse that presents itself will be used.

If Obama's idea grows -- and the fact that it is being expanded from the VA to the Social Security Administration indicates that he's trying to grow it pretty aggressively behind the scenes -- then it could be a way to block the generational transfer of firearms, countering the nature of the modern firearm as being a durable tool passed with a sense of tradition from father to son to grandson.

2015-07-24 12:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Three Lone Wolves

Ace of Spades The Paris prosecutor's office says three young men arrested this week in a plot to attack a military base were in contact with an Islamic State group jihadi who told them to "strike in France.

... with no ties to terrorist groups.

2015-07-24 11:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An argument for impeaching IRS Commissioner Koskinen

Liberty Law SiteImpeachment will punish the wrongdoing of officials in an entirely constitutional way. The accused person will have the spotlight on them and their acts will be exposed to the public. If they are removed from office, they will be in disgrace. Moreover, the media will find it much harder to ignore the issue, both because of the unusualness of an impeachment and because of the drama that it establishes. Impeachment will command the attention of the country in a way that simple oversight hearings do not.

Nor will the impeachment leave the White House unaffected. Once it becomes clear that officials may be impeached, their will be greater reluctance on the part of officials to engage in wrongdoing. Moreover, the impeachment may reveal information about wrongdoing by the White House.

An impeachment will provide the House with more power than simple oversight hearings. There is a strong argument that executive privilege will either not be available or will be much less available against an impeachment inquiry.

Koskinen has evidently lied to Congress, by omission if nothing else, on multiple occasions. His IRS has demonstrably destroyed records under Congressional subpoena, a matter which could and should have been prosecuted criminally. He has stalled and stonewalled the Congressional investigations into conduct for which his predecessor was forced to resign. For all of these things, he should by rights be impeached and removed from office.

But even if the House musters the courage to impeach, the chances the Senate will convict with a two-thirds majority are slim, and the impact of impeaching an official of a president in the final year of his term are minimal. At best, the spectacle will limit the ability of the IRS to influence the election. That may be worth it.

2015-07-24 10:03:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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