Waco was also what got me into the gun-rights movement and cemented my generally libertarian attitudes. Joe is reminded of his feelings by David Hardy's series of posts on Waco and the investigation afterwards. Follow the link above and read them (I've only linked one before, but they are all worth reading if you didn't know... and even if you did).
Government official makes weak arguments for Constitutional protections
Is anyone surprised that a "privacy advocate" that comes from the government and whose resume includes the words federal prosecutor would fail to convince the FISA court to take privacy seriously? This privacy advocate has been so effective that the FISA court has approved every surveillance request in 2015. Every single one.
California AG finally slapped down for privacy invasions
Believing that the concerted efforts by the California AG, various Wisconsin prosecutors, and the IRS in Washington are simple "careless mistakes" is a stretch, to say the least. But I think the courts are starting to catch on.
UPDATE: Looks like Trump won Indiana, and Cruz is stepping out of the race. That leaves Kasich, who as far as I can tell is basically hoping that the party elites will change the rules at the convention to let him win despite Trump's overwhelming delegate lead. Cruz had a chance at the convention if he could keep Trump from 1237; Kasich probably can't even force a convention fight. Unless Kasich knows something we don't about what the rules committee is going to do to stop Trump, he can't win. And if the rules committee does stop Trump in favor of Kasich, that result would be so stunningly elitist and anti-democratic that I don't see how anyone could possibly support it.
Cruz can go back to trying to fight the good fight in the Senate, where he may be able to do some good.
God only knows what's going to happen in the general election. We have three insider candidates, one of them a liar, one of them completely corrupt, and the third completely insane. The hard part will be figuring out which is which!
I don't know what I'm going to do as far as my own vote. I can't be an enthusiastic Trump supporter. I may vote for him on the theory that he's the better lizard, but the problem with that is that I'm really not sure he's the better lizard and I don't want to reward nominating lizards. I may vote for Gary Johnson or whomever the Libertarians nominate. (I've been a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party in the past, and switched to Republican only when the Tea Party primary battles started to look like they might have some influence on the party).
It's all going to depend on what happens between now and the first Tuesday in November. The only thing I am sure of is that I am completely disgusted with the Republican party for taking a large slate of candidates, some of whom were pretty good, and giving us Trump instead.
Supreme Court approves FBI authority to search any computer anywhere
"Network Investigative Techniques" basically means hacking into your computer remotely and searching it in secret. Note, though, that "searching" here doesn't just mean they are looking around; it also entails the power modify the contents of your computer, ie, to plant evidence.
Law enforcement should not get to be the bad guy, and should not be allowed to operate in secret, even if that means they catch more criminals.
I approve of the idea... but it doesn't really address the real problem. People should have the ability to donate money to causes they support anonymously, but mostly, they shouldn't have to feel the pressure to give anonymously. That is, unless a cause is truly evil, giving money to support that cause shouldn't result in death threats and ostracism from business relationships and polite society. That making a donation to a relatively non-controversial cause like supporting traditional marriage can result in threats, intimidation, and even losing an important job is contrary to the principles of free speech and open debate.
While addressing the issue by withholding that information from the IRS is a good start, the real problem is with the segments of society that abuse that information and the culture that supports their misbehavior. Until we fix that, we're going to have a continuing problem.
You would think that these would be the people you would most want to keep locked up and, when their sentences are served, release as far away from the country they aren't supposed to be living in as possible.
The rules look reasonably decent, allowing most students to conduct their normal activities armed if they feel the need. I doubt such students will cause any problems. (Their professors might object, of course). The exception for sporting events seems odd. What on earth is the problem scenario there?
Honestly, I'm not too worried about this, because functional smart gun technology doesn't exist. There are "smart guns" that don't work in a variety of different ways, but there are none that could possibly pass a fair evaluation. I don't think lame-duck Obama could force through a major firearms purchase for any law enforcement or military buyer without raising a tremendous stink when the firearms being evaluated failed to fire repeatedly. The most he can realistically do is throw some otherwise unallocated money at the problem, and hope Hillary wins with enough Congressional coattails to approve whatever comes out of the process (for the military) or that local politicians override common sense advice from their officers to stay away from guns that are designed not to fire.
That said, if you're a police officer or serving in the military, you should know that Obama thinks you are of more use to him as a dead guinea pig in his social experiments than as a living, breathing person doing your job.
I've said before that Ted Cruz has all the right enemies, including John Boehner, ex-Speaker of the House.
Those are very strong terms for a Senator from your own political party running for President, but they don't surprise me: Boehner is an exemplar of everything that is wrong with the Republican establishment party. And as it turns out, Boehner is not just an enemy of Ted Cruz, he's a friend of Donald Trump.
So if you want to elect an establishment candidate who golfs with the ex-Speaker of the House who was ousted by his own party for uncontrollable spending, conspiring to pass amnesty legislation, and refusing to push pretty much any priorities that matter to actual voters, then you should vote for Trump. If you want to vote for the candidate who scares that man to death, vote Ted Cruz.
Free tuition for hundreds of thousands of people we can't possibly vet housed on our military bases while the people who actually work for a living pay for it all with their taxes. It's truly infuriating.
And remember, these refugees will be here "legally". They will be allowed to work (assuming collecting welfare isn't enough to satisfy them), and (eventually) become citizens and vote.
IRS to start notifying victims of social security fraud
Note that what they don't say is even more important than what they do say.
The problem is that people in the country illegally use illegally-obtained social security numbers to (fraudulently) prove their work authorization, and then file their taxes using Taxpayer Identification Numbers.
The IRS is making this announcement most likely because existing federal law requires disclosure of identity theft incidents; other organizations and agencies routinely disclose such incidents and usually offer identity protection services for a period of time after the incident. This is what the IRS is saying they will start doing. It's an improvement.
What they are not doing, and should be, is notifying the employers that the social security number used to obtain the job was fraudulent.
I was never a big fan of Cruz's just-announced VP pick, but as a VP at least some of my concerns are ameliorated. I see the motivations here as being twofold: to change the subject from Tuesday's election results, and to attract California voters who Cruz desperately needs. (California being where Fiorina ran for Senate and won the Republican primary). Neither motive really impresses me much. Fiorina lost the general election for Senate and doesn't bring much else to the ticket aside from generally compatible policies.
That said, I don't have any real objections. Rand Paul is probably more useful in the Senate. Rubio or Kasich would be too establishment. Carson already endorsed Trump. Scott Walker might have been a good choice, but can't bring California delegates in the primary when Cruz needs them. Of such compromises are presidents sometimes made and legacies sometimes lost.
Apparently, the vote was unanimous (with 14 abstentions).
This likely means that some sort of deal has already been struck in the Senate. Before you celebrate, though, that "deal" could very well be that the Senate will gut the bill, or just drop it on the floor, or even that Obama will pocket-veto it on his way out the door. When both parties in Congress are unanimous, it means that we, the people, are the mark.
I think Cruz would do an excellent job in Scalia's seat, but I'm skeptical about whether Trump would keep a promise to nominate him and even more skeptical that the Senate would be willing to confirm him, given the (frankly undeserved) antipathy even members of Cruz's own party have demonstrated.
I don't think Cruz should drop out in return for this promise, but if Trump made the promise absent any quid pro quo it would go a long ways towards making me feel better about Trump as a candidate.
Remind me which party has the majority in the Senate again?
Because at times like this, I really can't remember.
The fact is, if you have to subsidize something, it isn't a success. Windmills are not reliable producers of energy -- both because the wind doesn't always blow and because the windmills break down. That means you need much more backup capacity to ensure a steady supply of energy. And it means the windmills are not cost effective. Not even close.
I believe I've seen the details of this report in some of the later documentaries about the Waco massacre, but David Hardy brings a personal anecdote about the reaction of the Congressional staffers to his report.
If I was a conspiracy minded man, I'd wonder about that heart attack.
Colorado Democrats block repeal of standard capacity magazine ban
It's always easier to block something from passing than it is to repeal it once passed. That's one reason among many that we tell our legislators not to "compromise", with the only major exception that turned out well for us being the assault weapons ban sunset date.
Secret courts denying fundamental constitutional rights without any semblance of due process. This isn't just a 2nd Amendment issue; this legislation impacts the 4th and 5th amendments directly and chills the 1st.
Clinton server admin cooperates with DOJ but declines to testify to Congress
This is becoming a trend. Lerner did it, and now Clinton's IT guy. The legality is questionable -- normally if you accept an immunity deal you can be compelled to testify -- but a bigger question is why these individuals would consider the FBI a friendlier audience than Congress.