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Full Disclosure on the IRS scandal

I didn't catch any new news here, but it's a decent 15 minute summary of what's going on.

2014-11-22 11:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

30,000 missing Lerner emails recovered

Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.

The fact that these Lerner emails were so easily recovered after the IRS fought the effort to retrieve them is practically proof of a cover up effort... if there is anyone left on the planet who wasn't already convinced.

There are supposedly 250 million emails -- obviously not all from Lerner -- that are still being searched. Some relevant emails from those working with her may also be recovered.

So far, I haven't seen any information about what's actually in the new batch of emails, but their existence alone is sufficient to condemn the IRS's document production effort, since the IRS did not even bother to search these backup tapes.

2014-11-21 20:43:10.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama Admin paid cash for Bergdahl release

The Obama administration made a ransom payment to an Afghan “con man” earlier this year in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to aWashington Times report. Best-selling author Brad Thor predicted there was likely money exchanged as part of the deal in a previous op-ed on TheBlaze.

And they didn't even get him released -- the money paid for Bergdahl just disappeared. It was the release of the Top 5 Gitmmo detainees that secured the release of a single American deserter and likely traitor.

2014-11-21 16:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Gruber says Obama personally requested obfuscatory language

Smoking gun. And in another video, Gruber says that 5 million people will lose their plan under Obamacare. So Obama knew that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" was a lie.

2014-11-21 15:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obamacare was designed to fail

So, as a result, I am required by law, under harsh financial penalties, to purchase a product that is not available to me. Had President Obama required that I buy 2 pounds of rocks from Mars, the result would not have been any more unfair.

The free market is better able to handle things than government experts, because no expert can possibly know as much about the life of every citizen in the nation as every citizen in the nation knows about their own life.

In this case, it's resulting in a business owner struggling to get his number of full-time employees under 30 -- in a workforce of over 350 people. All because he doesn't have to pay penalties on part-time workers.

2014-11-21 14:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

NSA whistleblower claims 2009 inflection point in surveillance

If this report is accurate, it suggests that the NSA's mission changed from focused anti-terrorism to bulk surveillance of all Americans in 2009, the year Obama took office as president. The timing is suggestive.

That person, who has retired and spoke to the AP under condition of anonymity, said "he knows of no evidence the program was used for anything other than hunting for terrorism plots in the US. But he said he and others made the case that the collection of American records in bulk crossed a line that had been sacrosanct."

The NSA has been active for a long time. There were active programs during the Clinton administration to evesdrop on cell phones (ECHELON) and sabotage encryption (Clipper chip). I've long been opposed to those programs, while understanding that they are valuable intelligence tools when properly directed. But I can readily believe that the expansion of the NSA's mission into bulk collection and analysis of data is a relatively recent thing.

2014-11-21 13:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Smoking Gun proof that Obama Admin targeted Attkisson for Fast and Furious reporting

One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.

In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson.

This validates Attkisson's claims that CBS didn't want to air her reports. There is also details on an effort to target Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee investigating the scandal, with leaks to another reporter.

2014-11-21 12:23:51.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Shutting off the water to the NSA

A bill is moving forward in the Utah State Legislature that aims to eventually shut down water to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) new massive data storage facility at Bluffdale, just south of Salt Lake City.

Refuse to cooperate in any way you can.

2014-11-21 12:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mary wins or Mary wins, if you believe the media

Turns out the New York Times messed up their reporting about the Keystone pipeline vote, and published their story on the vote hours before the vote was actually cast. That's an understandable mistake... on a single-proprietor blog without editorial staff who are supposed to review, verify facts, and approve news stories before they are published. But in this case it's even more interesting, because the draft story published had quotes praising Landrieu, the Louisiana Senator facing a runoff election in the near future that may well hinge on the results of the Keystone vote.

Both versions of the story -- where the Keystone pipeline was approved, and where it failed -- had sections praising Landrieu for her efforts. In different words, of course. But it's clear that, according to the Times, Landrieu is worth praising... win or lose.

The actual vote failed to overcome a filibuster, 59-41. What happens in Landrieu's runoff election remains to be seen.

2014-11-21 11:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Background checks coming in Oregon, Florida

In Oregon they are going to try legislation, while in Florida, a ballot initiative appears to be in the works. Meanwhile, in Washington State, a museum has to return exhibits because of the background check measure that passed, and a generous gun owner has to collect his own loaner firearms.

2014-11-20 09:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

NSA-approved bill to stop NSA spying fails in the Senate

It failed by 2 votes... which is actually a victory, I think. Remember that the so-called USA Freedom act is basically the followup to the PATRIOT Act (with similarly misleading names). It was supported by the director of the NSA and Diane Feinstein herself, who has previously opposed reform efforts.

Holding a vote on the act in the lame duck Senate was an attempt to prevent Republicans from taking credit for rolling back the Democratic administration's surveillance overreach. With support from the people who would normally attempt to block such a bill, it's clear that real improvements will need new legislation that has not been co-opted by the people in charge of creating the problem in the first place.

She even admits it:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a longtime opponent of intelligence reform, made a surprising change of vote and pleaded with her colleagues to support the bill. She remains a defender of the program, pointing out that there were only 288 queries for metadata in 2013.

However, Feinstein felt if the bill didn't pass, it could lead to the program being thrown out altogether.

"If we didn't pass the House bill, there were members that wanted to end the whole program," said Feinstein. "I do not want to end the program. I'm prepared to make the compromise, which is that the metadata will be kept by the telecoms."

So, in other words, Miss Feinstein, your minions at the NSA have spent billions to create a system to evesdrop on the whole internet, This system has scored, at most, a single "assist" in stopping terrorist attacks. Not even a single one with full credit. And you've only queried this system -- which, again, cost billions and continues to cost billions -- 288 times last year.

It sounds to me, Miss Feinstein, like the system doesn't work for it's intended purpose.

2014-11-19 10:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lame ducks in DC

“Democrats relinquishing the Senate have outlined an ambitious agenda for the lame-duck session,” reports the Boston Globe. The Democrats are “likely to have bold plans for the lame duck,” says NBC News. Lots and lots of business is evidently being packed into the brief window between the Nov. 4 election and Jan. 3, when the next Congress is sworn-in. That’s too bad. Lame-duck sessions, absent national emergency, are actually a very bad idea.

If I had my way, we would pass an amendment to the Constitution indicating that Congress may perform no official acts between the election and the seating of the next Congress. I'd have to consider variations on this theme to deal with emergencies (should a two-thirds vote be allowed? Should only those who lost their seats be barred from acting?), but when the present Congress is desperately looking for ways to advance their agenda before the new Congress is seated, that's a problem.

2014-11-19 09:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Barack Obama on the President's immigration power

Patterico has collected a list of cases where Obama's past words conflict with his anticipated future actions on immigration.

The bottom line is, Obama was all in favor of separation of powers when he thought he could get Congress to pass amnesty. Now, he's willing to say fuck all that and be the dictator. The rule of law is not something that you respect only when you get what you want; sometimes you have to respect it when it prevents you getting what you want.

Personally, I'm all for immigration, so long as it is legal immigration by people who want to become Americans and leave their previous culture mostly behind them. As a nation, we have the right to decide who we will allow to become one of us; that power is assigned in the Constitution to Congress, not the president.

2014-11-18 15:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reminder: the IRS did not find Lerner's emails because it didn't look

IRS attorneys conceded that they had failed to search the agency’s servers for missing emails because they decided that “the servers would not result in the recovery of any information.” They admitted they had failed to search the agency’s disaster recovery tapes because they had “no reason to believe that the tapes are a potential source of recovering” the missing emails. And they conceded that they had not searched the government-wide back-up system because they had “no reason to believe such a system…even exists.”

And they are getting away with it. The establishment Republicans in power in the House and the Senate want to run against the IRS while letting Obama crush his enemies with it -- because all three branches of government share a common enemy in the Tea Party.

2014-11-18 14:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Even the agriculture department has undercover agents

The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

My rule of thumb is pretty simple: when you need to use an undercover agent to fight crime, the crime you are trying to fight is probably a victimless crime. And with a very small number of exceptions, victimless crimes should not be crimes at all.

2014-11-17 14:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Department of Justice admits misleading judge

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a remarkable letter (PDF) this morning in which the Department of Justice admits its lawyer misled a judge during oral arguments last month over the legality of National Security Letters, or NSLs.

It might have been an honest mistake. And it might not have been.

2014-11-17 13:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Registration leads to confiscation

This time, it's in New York. When a gun owner dies, the police go out to his home and take the guns there without informing the occupants that the guns can be reclaimed later.

2014-11-17 12:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reason looks at Network Neutrality

President Barack Obama recently came out in favor of both "net neutrality" and the FCC changing the way that Internet service providers, or ISPs, are regulated. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Ted Cruz opined "'Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government." Obama's and Cruz's statements fed into the popular misconception that the proposed FCC reclassification is the same thing as net neutrality. It's not. The policies are distinct, though both are bad ideas.

I am opposed to net neutrality for several reasons:
1) I don't trust the government not to meddle
2) I don't want the government to slow down progress more than it already has
3) I don't want the government to have regulatory leverage on ISPs

2014-11-17 11:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Don't bring a conventional army to a nuclear war

“As they plan for how to cope with a United States that increasingly acts as if nuclear war is unthinkable, they are thinking through how they might physically employ a nuclear weapon to demonstrate their willingness to escalate to the nuclear level,” wrote Murdock.

Obama appears to be imposing unilateral disarmament for us while encouraging Iran to test one of theirs already... because as soon as they actually test one, there's no way we can really go in and take it away from them.

2014-11-17 10:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cricket caught blocking STARTTLS?

STARTTLS is a command within the SMTP protocol that indicates the desire to initiate an encrypted connection. Cricket is allegedly blocking customers from using that protocol, even with SMTP servers that support it -- including SMTP servers that don't belong to Cricket. That would force customers to use either plain SSL (which may be similarly interfered with) or send email "in the clear" so Cricket's network administrators can snoop on it.

I'll point out here that what's likely going on is not selectively disabling STARTTLS (which would take a fair bit of network wizardry to accomplish; rewriting connections dynamically is tricky) but probably simply intercepting the SMTP connection itself with one of Cricket's servers, which has been an established anti-spam practice for a while on some networks. If Cricket's server doesn't support STARTTLS (deliberately or not), well, you get the observed result.

Note that this scenario is actually worse than the original scenario. Cricket is not just forcing email to be send into the clear, it is redirecting email users are intending to send to a remote server into one of it's own servers, and possibly collecting authentication information meant for the remote server in the process.

If you are going to intercept outbound SMTP to servers you don't own, you should be returning error codes and not advertising AUTH support.

2014-11-17 09:16:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Democrat party has abandoned democracy

“The dirty secret is the American voter doesn’t actually care about the uninsured," Gruber said. "The dirty secret is: You can’t really get a law passed by saying, ‘We’re helping the uninsured.’ You have to make it about cost control to get it passed. Because that’s what the American public cares about. So they had to make this law not just about the uninsured, but about cost control. That was a challenge,” he added.

Yes, I know we are a constitutional republic, and not a pure democracy. But the democratic principle is supposed to be that the representatives we elect do what the people want them to do, within the Constitution, and with the application of their judgment and expert knowledge of the situation (knowledge that the general public often does not have).

They aren't suppose to deceive people into passing legislation with lies, though. They are supposed to make their case honestly to the people, and face the will of the voters if the voters disagree.

2014-11-14 16:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reid to move USA Freedom Act to a vote

Yesterday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took action to move the USA Freedom Act toward a debate and a vote. That's a big turnaround from September, when Senate sources said passing the act "wasn't a top priority." With Reid's support, a vote could come as early as next week.

The real question here is why. And the answer is pretty obvious: Reid wants to make sure that the Republicans can't take control of the surveillance apparatus the Democrats have been using to keep themselves in power, should the Republicans win the presidency in 2016. And if he moves now, in the lame duck Congress, he can make sure that a bill he supports with whatever hidden language he wants gets passed, take credit for shutting down the surveillance state with voters, and simultaneously prevent Republicans from running on the issue.

2014-11-14 15:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Family of Ebola victim to profit from his death

Patterico has the sickening details.

2014-11-14 14:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Explosives found near bridge at US border with Mexico

Two explosives were found near an Arizona bridge approximately 30 miles from the U.S. border with Mexico, according to a leaked report exclusively obtained by Breitbart Texas. The items were made from water gel commercial explosives and were ammonium nitrate based, according to the leaked official report from the Joint Intelligence Operations Center (JIOC).

But Obama tells us our border has never been more secure.

2014-11-14 13:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary confidant may be Pakistan agent

A former high-ranking diplomat and Clinton ally at the center of an FBI counterintelligence probe was a registered foreign agent for the Pakistani government up until just days before she was appointed to run the U.S. State Department's Pakistan aid team.

The Washington Post reported last week that the State Department's aid coordinator for Pakistan, Robin Raphel, is the subject of a counterintelligence investigation and has had her security clearance revoked.

That's going to leave a mark on Hillary's chances in 2016.

2014-11-14 12:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

9th Circuit: Shall-issue is a constitutional right

The 9th Circuit has declined to hear an en banc appeal of the Peruta case, which means that those states in its jurisdiction (the most significant one being California) are required to issue concealed-carry permits to those who apply without requiring them to justify the request. Restrictions on who can carry based on legal disabilities (violent felony convictions, etc) and special locations (schools, government buildings) are left intact.

This is a major victory while it stands, but there is a circuit split on shall-issue now. The Supreme Court is likely going to be asked to resolve this in the next few years.

2014-11-14 11:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A bad climate deal with China

At the end of the APEC trade summit in China, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a climate change agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that would cut both countries' greenhouse gas emissions by close to a third over the next two decades.

Under the deal, the United States would cut its carbon emissions between 26-28% -- from levels established in 2005 -- by 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions no later than 2030 and would also increase the use of non-fossil fuels to 20% by 2030.

So, in other words, Obaam -- claiming to represent the United States -- makes a commitment to cut CO2 emissions by 30% from levels established in 2005. The choice of 2005 is an interesting one -- it means they are gaming the system, because if they were not, they would use a more recent emissions level.

But exactly how they are gaming the system isn't important, because how China is gaming the system is obvious: they "peak" their carbon emissions by 2030, meaning that they can continue to increase those emissions to whatever level they choose until then. And they have obvious incentives to make that level as high as possible, so it will then be easier to reduce them after the "peak" -- if indeed they even bother, because by then, it's unlikely anyone will care about carbon dioxide production as a greenhouse gas if they even remember the treaty.

And they won't remember the treaty, because ratification by a Republican Senate is unlikely. Without ratification, the agreement is meaningless.

2014-11-14 10:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bloomberg targeting Nevada with ballot initiative

Sebastian has the news, and a gloomy strategic analysis to go with it.

I'd like to briefly discuss one of his proposals:

Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous. You can exempt CCW holders, and allow people to obtain a background check certificate that certifies someone is clear, and then the private sale can happen. In this case all the government would know is that Joe Blow obtained a background check certificate. They wouldn’t know if he bought, or what he bought. Maybe he just got it to go shopping. Remember, as long as there’s a way to transfer a firearm without a 4473, there are legal avenues for you NOT to have that gun when they come knocking for it. In order for this to shut Bloomberg down, it would have to be done at the federal level. It’s too late for Nevada, even if something like this passed next week. Of course, I wouldn’t accept anything like this as the federal level unless we got something in return, so attach to the bill eliminating restrictions on interstate transfers. Why do we need them? Now everyone gets a background check.

This is a workable counter-proposal, and I think we need a workable counterproposal. However, we need to take it one more step: everyone gets checked when they get their driver's license or voter id, and the results of the check are displayed on the back of the id, say a picture of a gun (passed) or a gun with a red circle and slash (failed). Since the check happens to everyone, there is no additional information provided to the government. And since it's easy to check (flip over the license), anyone who is honest CAN check it. Dishonest people won't bother, but they wouldn't have under any other system either.

More important than a workable counter-proposal, though, is getting the word out to even the marginal voters in Nevada and any other states that have been targeted about the real effects of the proposal. We can't be certain to get counter proposals on the ballot, so we have to make sure word gets out.

Remember, some of the people who funded the Washington State ballot measure own tanks.

2014-11-14 09:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Canadian police recommend an internet license requirement

It's the usual ingredients for a moral panic, save the children from cyberbullying and sex, as if that was a goal that justified preventing adults from speaking anonymously on important issues:

If the bag was open and I could do anything, the biggest problem that I see in the world of child sexual exploitation is anonymity on the Internet. When we get our driver’s licence we’re required to get our picture taken for identification. When you get a mortgage you have to sign and provide identification. When you sign up for the Internet, there is absolutely no requirement for any kind of non-anonymity qualifier. There are a lot of people who are hiding behind the Internet to do all kinds of crime, including cybercrime, fraud, sexual exploitation and things along those lines.

There are three obvious problems with this, and probably lots more with a little thought:
1) Ordinary people already have no anonymity on the internet -- just ask the NSA.
2) Competent criminals will readily find a way around these restrictions, many of them by the simple expedient of not being located in Canada.
3) Their own supreme court ruled in favor of a right to anonymity recently.

Do these people not realize they sound like totalitarian tyrant wannabes, or do they know and just not care?

2014-11-13 09:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Open carry legislation introduced in Texas

Relating to the carrying of handguns; providing for the open carrying of handguns; removing the requirement that a person who may lawfully possess handguns obtain a Concealed Handgun License in order to carry a handgun lawfully in the state of Texas, and conforming changes.

Unlike Abbott's statement of support, this legislation suggests that a permit will not be necessary to open carry a handgun (aka "Constitutional Carry"). I view this as an improvement, though the sausage-making process is always tricky.

2014-11-12 16:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


Quiz here:

You are a: Objectivist Anarchist Non-Interventionist Nationalist Moderate
Collectivism score: -100%
Authoritarianism score: -83%
Internationalism score: -17%
Tribalism score: 33%
Liberalism score: 0%


2014-11-12 15:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Corruption in New York Politics

I am shocked -- shocked! -- to hear of corruption going on there.

2014-11-12 14:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

6 things to do in a new Republican Congress

Instapundit has a list:

I'm not sure about the last one myself, but it's worth considering the list. The first four items would probably be enough to sweep the youth vote into the GOP camp.

2014-11-11 10:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What the Democrats think of the American people

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in – you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get anything to pass. And so, you know, it’s a second-best argument. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

Patterico has a list of the lies necessary to pass Obamacare.

2014-11-11 09:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

20 examples of Fast and Furious

Attkisson has 20 examples of Fast and Furious weapons being misused.

2014-11-10 13:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

True support for background checks: 59%

Well, gun control advocates were able to write up their own initiative (594) and put it on the ballot in Washington State. With what may turn out to be a 50-to-1 spending advantage ($9.5 million to what appears to be a couple hundred thousand ($1.7 million was spent on another gun initiative)), the initiative passed with just less than 60 percent of the vote. What this vote implies is that even under ideal circumstances with a massive campaign spending advantage and picking a liberal state where they thought that they would do well, slightly less than 60 percent of the voters supported the initiative. Why do gun control advocates feel it necessary to so greatly exaggerate support for their initiatives? It will be interesting to see if the 90 percent claim keeps being made.

And that 59% is with a huge spending advantage in a liberal state with mail-in ballots that ensure easy vote fraud.

2014-11-10 12:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary Clinton avoids taking position on surveillance

Earlier this year, we noted that absolutely-running-for-President-while-pretending-to-think-about-it Hillary Clinton gave a stupid and vague non-answer answer to her position on government surveillance. It was the perfect politician's answer, refusing to really take a position that could be held against her at some point in the future. Except, on important issues, refusing to answer sometimes isn't an answer, and this is a perfect case of that. The leading contenders for the Republican nomination appear to have all made statements one way or the other, while Hillary has done everything possible not to take a position on the matter.

She can always take a position later, of course. But if the Republicans are smart enough to nominate someone who does take a strong stand first...

2014-11-10 11:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did CIA impersonate Senate staff?

The CIA accessed the Senate's private network to (presumably) gain access to works-in-progress. This was denied (badly) by CIA director John Brennan. The CIA also claimed Senate staffers had improperly accessed classified documents and reported them to the DOJ, even though they knew the charges were false. Then, after Brennan told his agency to stop spying on the Senate, agents took it upon themselves to improperly access Senate email accounts. This is all gleaned from a few public statements and a one-page summary of an Inspector General's report -- the same unreleased report EPIC is currently suing the agency over.

Now, there's this: accusations that the CIA impersonated Senate staffers in hopes of accessing Torture Report documents. Certainly a believable accusation, considering the tactics it's deployed in the very recent past. This is being denied -- or, at least, talked around.

They aren't exactly denying it, but it's unclear whether "impersonating" means actually impersonating or just using login credentials that were not their own. Either way, it's improper espionage conducting on political staff engaged in oversight of that same agency.

When the people who are supposed to be watching the watchers are being watched by the watches themselves, we rapidly end up with a complex machine that runs with much sound and fury accomplishing absolutely nothing.

2014-11-10 10:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Open Carry likely to become law in Texas...

He won't be sworn in as governor until January, but Governor Elect Greg Abbott has already stepped into his first controversy. The governor says if a bill allowing Texans to openly carry firearms in public reaches his desk, he'll sign it.

C.J. Grisham, President of Open Carry Texas, says that means a bill allowing the open carrying of firearms with the need for a permit will be approved in the Legislature next year.

It sounds like a permit may be required, which is not ideal, but for those who already have permits or are willing to get one, we won't have to worry about accidentally losing concealment for a moment.

2014-11-10 09:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Top 5 Conservative Principles

2014-11-09 14:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Left Twix, Right Twix

A brief (30-second) ad appears to have some powerful symbolic meaning. The original post suggests the allegory was unintended.. but honestly, I suspect it was intended from the very beginning, just subtle enough not to be obvious.

Intended or not, it's worth pointing out:

2014-11-09 13:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Give back the Senate

2014-11-08 13:11:28.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Harvard measured class attendance using video surveillance without notice

Vice Provost for Advances in Learning Peter K. Bol admitted at Tuesday’s meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to using cameras placed in classrooms to take photographs of attendance without telling the surveilled faculty and students.

The PanOpticon is forming. Soon everything you do, everywhere you go will be recorded and available to be used against you. Unless you are the establishment's favored candidate for President, in which case your academic records are sealed.

2014-11-07 14:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Shut up, they campaigned

In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.

Run a blog, like millions of Americans? Mention politics on that blog around election time? Better file with the FEC, and forget about the First Amendment.

2014-11-07 13:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS admits to court it did not search for Lerner's emails

he Internal Revenue Service admitted in court Wednesday that the agency has not searched any of its standard computer systems for Lois Lerner’s missing emails.

They have to know this won't fly -- but so long as it stays in the air until after the election, that's all the matters.

2014-11-07 12:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another form of IRS abuse

For almost 40 years, the Times reported, Hinders deposited her restaurant earnings in a local bank without incident. Then in 2013, "solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report," the IRS simply pocketed her money.

Is it any wonder that small businesses find it hard to operate in a climate where their funds can be seized simply for complying with the law in a way the government finds suspicious? With no trial, no due process, no opportunity to challenge anything?

2014-11-07 11:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Court rules that a right delayed is not a right denied

"The unequivocal message from this court is that the government is apparently free to violate our rights and crush our liberties, provided that once caught -- if caught -- the conduct must stop,” he added. “But no penalty will be imposed. Stunning."

After years of delays and lawsuits, the IRS finally agrees to allow many conservative and tea party nonprofits to obtain tax-exempt status. And because it did so, despite years of delay and improper interrogatories, the IRS officials cannot be held personally accountable and no penalties will be imposed nor compensation provided. The lawsuit has been dismissed.

2014-11-07 10:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Woodward on IRS

He wants an investigation, but says he would go to Cincinatti to get it. I think that would be a mistake (though talking to the people there, in person, rather than demanding the IRS produce their emails probably would not hurt).

The real scandal is in Washington, DC.

2014-11-07 09:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Has the White House computer network been hacked?

Last week, we got information from a source in the Executive Office of the President that the EOP’s computer system had been down for, at that time, a week. Federal IT personnel evidently were having trouble identifying and fixing the problem that had brought the computer system down (although email and internet access had been restored), and EOP employees were instructed to say nothing about it. Scott followed up with posts here, here and here. He repeatedly emailed the White House press office, asking for information about the outage. The press office acknowledged receipt of his emails, but refused to answer his questions.

I don't think it's unreasonable to simply declare that, yes, it almost certainly has. It's a high value target and computer security is hard for experts, never mind ordinary people and politicians who feel like they can ignore the rules. But hacked in the week before the election, when the news would be a major scandal for an already damaged party?

The Obama Administration confirmed it on October 28th. They say the Russians did it. But you probably didn't hear about it on the mainstream media.


I wonder why?

2014-11-06 18:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

When political science research isn't really research

Political scientists from two of the nation's most highly respected universities, usually impartial observers of political firestorms, now find themselves at the center of an electoral drama with tens of thousands of dollars and the election of two state supreme court justices at stake.

Their research experiment, which involved sending official-looking flyers to 100,000 Montana voters just weeks before Election Day, is now the subject of an official state inquiry that could lead to substantial fines against them or their schools. Their peers in the field have ripped their social science experiment as a "misjudgment" or -- stronger still -- "malpractice."

If this was actually research, rather than a project spending $200,000 of state and university funds to influence two judicial elections, it should have ethics approval for human experimentation, right? With signed consent forms from the subjects, right? Right?

2014-11-06 17:21:59.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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