Fix-NICS bill to be attached to spending measure

The HillCongressional leaders have agreed to strengthen background checks for gun purchases as part of a must-pass government funding package, according to a senior GOP source.

The bipartisan Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background System) Act, which would encourage states to report more frequently to the current criminal database, will be attached to the omnibus spending bill that is expected to be unveiled Wednesday afternoon.

I've been ambivalent about Fix-NICS. Background checks are a flawed premise, particularly as implemented. But they are what we've got and having something in place is a lot more effective at holding off worse gun control measures than not having anything at all.

Doing it this way -- attaching it to must-pass legislation without significant public debate on the merits -- is a classic smoke-filled back room political move. I don't like that much even when it's supposedly our guys doing it, and I don't like giving the gun control crowd anything for free.

I'm not sure whether I should be opposing this or not, but I do think it needs to be known so the gun community can decide whether to be angry about it.

Wed Mar 21 18:25:16 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

BREAKING: McCabe was running a criminal investigation on Sessions?

ABC NewsNearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a "lack of candor," McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.

Last year, several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe, ABC News was told.

In other words, McCabe was running a criminal investigation on his own boss, the Attorney General, without his boss's knowledge (and presumably without the knowledge of anyone higher up the chain). Supposedly, McCabe informed Congress of the investigation, and may have informed Rosenstein (who took over matters related to the Russian collusion investigation after Sessions recused himself).

McCabe and the left will claim that McCabe was obviously fired to stymie the investigation into both Trump and Sessions. It's hard to give credence to the latter if Sessions didn't know he was under criminal investigation, and the Russian collusion investigation with respect to the Trump campaign has been and continues to be extensively discussed.

It's my opinion that, to date, we have seen precisely zero evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign (including Sessions) to swing the election, and rather a lot of collusion between the Russians and the Clinton campaign to swing the election.

That makes McCabe's investigation of Sessions effectively a coup attempt within the DOJ, to match the larger coup attempt on Trump's White House.

The people leaking this probably expect it will taint Sessions with the obstruction of justice brush. In my opinion, it taints McCabe with the coup brush much, much more.

Wed Mar 21 16:36:11 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Washington State moves to enable illegal alien voters

The HillWashington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday signed a package of measures aimed at increasing voter participation that would create potentially hundreds of thousands of new voters — in a state that already has one of the highest turnout rates in the country.

Perhaps the most consequential measure is one that would require the state Department of Licensing to automatically register citizens obtaining a state driver’s license or identification card to vote.

Washington is the 10th state to implement automatic voter registration in just the last four years, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Proponents of voting rights and voting access say the tactic vastly improves access to the ballot box by requiring voters to opt out of registering, instead of opting in.

So, will there be any verification of citizenship to go with this automatic voter registration when you obtain a drivers' license?

Of course not; that would defeat the whole point, and anyways, there never has been before...

Wed Mar 21 10:29:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Second Amendment Foundation offers legal support to bullied students

Second Amendment FoundationThe Second Amendment Foundation today announced a project to help students who have been harassed, intimidated or bullied for resisting peer pressure to join the wave of protests against guns and the right to keep and bear arms.

“A student’s First Amendment rights should not be violated because they support the Second Amendment,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “There have been several reports over the past couple of weeks about students who have been harassed or encountered other problems from students, teachers or administrators for not joining in the protests. If that’s happening, it isn’t right and should not be tolerated.

“Students can call the SAF toll-free hotline to obtain information about legal help and report violations of their First Amendment rights,” he added. “The foundation is prepared to take legal action if necessary.”

The SAF toll-free hotline number is 800-426-4302.

While this is a good effort, is there no way we can take legal action to prevent the obviously-school-endorsed protest walkouts?

Wed Mar 21 10:29:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Parkland survivors claim NRA is threatening them

The BlazeStudents David Hogg and Emma González, who survived last month’s mass murder in Parkland, Florida, told CBS News on Monday that the National Rifle Association has “basically threatened” them since they’ve been advocating for more gun control.

“The way that they’ve been reaching out to us is basically threatening us,” Hogg said.

“They’ve been instigating things,” González added. “And then we reply, they shy away. Like they can dish it out, but they can’t take it.”

But the pair, who dubbed themselves as the “mass-shooting generation” and helped launch Never Again MSD, a student-led gun control organization, didn’t provide further details about the alleged threats from the NRA.

Emphasis mine.

Yeah, I'll believe this is true when they post the alleged threats and prove they didn't type them up in Word and fax them to themselves.

I might be willing to believe they were receiving a lot of angry messages from people claiming to be NRA members, but not threatening messages, and not from authorized NRA spokesmen, and the weasel word basically suggests these are not actually threats. As does, you know, the bit about not showing the messages.

Wed Mar 21 10:29:19 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


Washington ExaminerPresident Obama used his executive powers to attack industries to lower the value of certain companies, allowing his friends in the private sector to swoop in and buy them up at reduced prices, according to Peter Schweizer’s new book Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends.

The book, released Tuesday, said Obama and his administration would deem industries either destructive to the environment or exploitative for the financial and professional gain of his friends, including industries such as coal mining, offshore drilling, cash advance companies, and for-profit colleges.

The book highlighted Marty Nesbitt and Harreld Kirkpatrick III, both former basketball players and close friends of the Obamas, who launched their private equity investment firm Vistria in sync with Obama’s re-election in 2012.

Unlike other investment funds that avoid highly regulated industries, Vistria was specifically focused on the fields that Obama was busy regulating.

This is probably impossible to prove, in the absence of an indiscreet email or text message, but it's how everyone in office gets rich. Not as rich as the people buying them, but still, pretty rich.

Wed Mar 21 10:29:19 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lying liars who lie in the media

Headline: "FBI chief refuses to deny reports he threatened to resign amid pressure"

The HillFBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday refused to deny reports that he threatened to resign amid pressure to fire senior FBI officials. Wray told NBC News senior justice correspondent Pete Williams in an interview excerpt broadcast on "Nightly News" that he does not feel any political pressure from the White House. Pressed on whether President Trump has asked the FBI chief to say anything, Wray responded, “He’s never asked me to do anything with the Russian investigation."

Looks like a denial to me.

Wed Mar 21 09:29:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that food stamp program to help the poor...

Judicial WatchMore than a year after the Obama administration slammed American taxpayers with a record-high tab to provide an unprecedented number of people with food stamps, the fraud continues full-throttle in the bloated welfare program. Authorities in north Florida arrested nearly 200 people for operating a sophisticated ring in which millions of dollars in food stamps were fraudulently exchanged for cash and drugs. Keep in mind that food stamps—renamed by the Obama administration Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to eliminate stigma—are designed to help nourish the nation’s most needy.

$80 billion a year to subsidize drug habits.

But the truth is, it's not the government program that's the real problem. It doesn't help, of course. The real problem is the mindset that the universe owes you something just for existing, and if you just lie back and relax, the government will keep you fed and clothed and happy. Add in the occasional hurricane or riot where you can score a nice big flatscreen TV and video game console, plus government subsidies for your Obamaphone and your internet and your cable TV... well, why work?

Wed Mar 21 09:29:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI stonewalling Judicial Watch over McCabe text messages

Washington Free BeaconEven though FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired last Friday, it is an open question as to whether the FBI will release text messages he exchanged on government-issued or personal phones or try to shield them from public scrutiny.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, has spent months pursuing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding the release of texts McCabe exchanged with colleagues.

The FBI has so far refused to comply with a court order to produce the texts, handing over emails and other information to Judicial Watch but legally demurring on whether it even has access to the electronic messages, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in an interview.

It would be one thing to deny access to the text messages on the grounds that they were evidence in a criminal investigation into McCabe's actions during the 2016 election. I imagine Judicial Watch can tell the difference between that and being stonewalled.

Wed Mar 21 09:29:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Police claim goodwill explosion unrelated to earlier bombings

KXANWhat was believed to have been an explosion at a south Austin Goodwill that had authorities swarming the area on Brodie Lane at Slaughter Lane turned out to be unrelated to the serial bombings around Austin.

In a tweet at 8:05 p.m., the Austin Police Department said the items inside the package was not a bomb but rather "an incendiary device" and that it wasn't a "package explosion."

During a news conference at 9:40 p.m., APD Assistant Chief Ely Reyes made it very clear this incident was in no way connected to the series of bombings that the city has seen.

We have a bunch of packages blowing up, and then another package blows up, and the police say they are not connected? That seems unlikely.

Wed Mar 21 09:29:19 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Austin bomber dead?

It appears he killed himself with one of his own devices after police located him through pictures from the FedEx store he used to mail his packages. The pictures released by police show a white individual, probably male, with blonde hair (unusually long for a male) and some sort of t-shirt and baseball cap. No word yet on identity or motive.

UPDATE: Deceased suspect identified.

Wed Mar 21 04:14:22 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

No apparent nexus to terrorism?

The HillThe White House said Tuesday that a string of deadly bombings in Texas has “no apparent nexus to terrorism” and vowed to bring the bomber to justice.

“@POTUS mourns for victims of the recent bombings in Austin,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted. “We are monitoring the situation, federal authorities are coordinating w/ local officials. We are committed to bringing perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice. There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.”

This is only marginally better than the reflexive Obama denial of any connection to terrorism ever. That said, I can understand the reluctance to make the connection. Unless the police have more than they are saying (likely, but I doubt they have a LOT more) this is going to hard to pin down. Methods are suggestive of terrorism (apparent random victims, bombs, similar to IEDs placed on roadside), but motives are probably unknown -- unless it was racial based on neighborhood, which is a stretch. If you don't know who is doing it or even have any suspects, you can't check their communication and internet history. Unlike, say, the Fort Hood terrorist, we don't have a long history of warning signs or contacts. So far, no messages, no clues that have been reported. We don't even have a name to guess at national origin or religion.

Terrorism is loosely defined as the use of violence against civilians in pursuit of political aims. Thus, the "nexus to terrorism" language is a misnomer. It doesn't have to be connected to Islam or ISIS or Al Qaeda to be terrorism. It just has to be "in pursuit of political aims". (Islam, being a religion that essentially mandates theocracy, counts as a political aim).

I'm pretty comfortable calling this terrorism even if there's no discernable political motive, simply because random bombings cause panic and fear, and that's an inherently political motive. Unless some of the targets turn out to be personal or financial somehow, I suppose.

But the truth is we honestly don't know even that much yet.

UPDATE: Looks like they found a package they think is from the same guy, and figured out what FedEx store he used to mail it. Hopefully, we'll know more shortly.

Tue Mar 20 12:52:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

School shooting in Maryland stopped by armed school resource officer

Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. Not every time, but your odds are a log better if you have a good guy with a gun on the scene.

It helps if your school resource officer isn't a coward.

Tue Mar 20 12:34:19 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About the Stormy Daniels thing...

I don't care who the President may or may not have slept with while he was not President. That's between him and his wife and ex-wives and other mistresses. So long as they are consenting, above legal age, don't work for him, and he doesn't commit perjury to get out of a sexual harassment lawsuit concerning them. I don't even care if they were Russian hookers urinating on a hotel bed in Moscow, frankly. I knew I wasn't getting a moral compass.

But the actual facts of the matter appear to be a bit disturbing on another level that isn't being talked about. We have a porn star who, apparently, attempted to blackmail the President (while he was a candidate), maybe got paid by someone (who may or may not be Trump), and now, after the election, wants to renege on the deal and claim her 15 minutes of fame and possibly huge cash rewards?

And she's going on MSNBC claiming to have pictures of the President's secret servicer?

How exactly is this not blackmail?

That's a serious question.

Tue Mar 20 10:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Things are escalating...

Daily CallerThe Broward County Sheriff’s office announced Monday that a woman had crashed a car filled with “accelerants” into a department satellite office earlier that morning.

Wow. They haven't named the woman yet. The safe bet would be the mother of one of the victims of the Parkland shooting, I guess. But even that seems crazy.

Fox NewsA Florida woman has been arrested for posting on Facebook she was “going to blow everyone up” during an elementary school teacher planning day, police said.

Not inclined to be sympathetic to her claims of being taken out of context.

Tue Mar 20 10:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS documents 1.3 million identity theft cases, refers none to prosecutors

CNSNewsThe Internal Revenue Service in 2011 through 2016 documented more than 1.3 million cases of identity theft perpetrated by illegal aliens whom the IRS had given Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), which are only given to people who are ineligible to work in the United States or receive Social Security Numbers, according to information published by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

On the one hand, tax filings are generally not supposed to be a starting point for a non-tax criminal investigation. Police aren't supposed to just troll through tax records to find people to charge with something. But that's when honest citizens are filing honest taxes in their own names and making, occasionally, honest mistakes. It seems like illegal aliens committing identify theft are a bit different.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Russia's experiment with honest elections appears to be over

CNSNewsAs widely anticipated, Vladimir Putin has won another six-year term as president of Russia, securing his biggest victory yet in this his fourth presidential election campaign.

With 99 percent of ballots from the country’s 97,000 polling stations counted early Monday morning, Putin had won 76.6 percent of the votes, according to the Central Elections Commission (CEC).

His past presidential election victories garnered him 64 percent in 2012, 72 percent in 2004 and 53 percent in 2000.

That first election in 2000 might have been legitimate, but ever since then, he's been in dictator territory.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

How background checks work in the real world...

PJMedia has the story about a student who was threatened and then attacked physically for defending the NRA verbally, then suspended from school for defending himself from the attack. The student had plans to go into the military and might need to apply for a security clearance -- and the incident will remain on his record and possibly cause problems for him. And this while the people who actually need to be locked up to prevent mass murder slip through the cracks in the system.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A chilling effect

Frontpage MagazineProfessors Clancy and Lyon completely overreacted to the questions to the point of calling in the campus cops and asking audience members to step outside. Whatever happened to free speech and the free exchange of ideas? There was absolutely no disruption whatsoever. Yet members of the audience were told that their questions were unacceptable. Since when?

And why did Ms. Lyon stop the event 60 minutes early? Because the speaker and her hosts were unwilling to engage in a discussion of aspects of Islam like Sharia law, draconian punishments, and terrorism.

This event was obviously intended as a propaganda whitewash of Islam, not a real discussion. The speaker's rather flustered reaction to being challenged is understandable, especially if she herself was ignorant and unprepared, as seems to be the case. However, that does not excuse the use of police to intimidate people asking honest questions and expecting honest discussion. This is a textbook chilling effect, even if no action was actually taken by the campus police.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Warrants requesting cell location data for anyone close to a crime

WRALOn a satellite image, they drew shapes around the crime scenes, marking the coordinates on the map. Then they convinced a Wake County judge they had enough probable cause to order Google to hand over account identifiers on every single cell phone that crossed the digital cordon during certain times.

In at least four investigations last year – cases of murder, sexual battery and even possible arson at the massive downtown fire in March 2017 – Raleigh police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime, according to a WRAL News review of court records. These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search.

The only reason they can get away with this is because the warrant is applied against Google, for "records", rather than trying to get probable cause against the people whose location they really want. We're probably going to need some Supreme Court cases to fix this.

Note that this inherently confines the suspect list to people who have cell phones and brought those cell phones to the scene of the crime. What does a smart criminal do with his cell phone? He leaves it at home when planning on committing a crime, so he can't be convicted based on the location information, and can use it as an alibi ("I was at home taking a nap! Check my phone!").

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comparing Trump and Obama... and Congress

National JournalRepublicans are facing the prospect of a historic repudiation this November in part because many die-hard Trump supporters aren’t reliable Republicans and some won’t show up to vote.

Actually, Republicans are facing the prospect of a historic repudiation this November in part because many die-hard Republican officeholders don't reliably vote Republican and many more don't support Trump and the agenda that carried Trump to victory. The difference here is that Obama's party united behind him and passed sweeping, polarizing changes -- most notably, Obamacase -- while Trump's party has failed to unite behind him and failed to pass significant policy changes into law, with the exception of a tax cut. Trump and Obama may be partisan mirrors of each other, but their respective Congresses are not, and it's Congress that is up for election in 2018.

It remains to be seen which is the better strategy.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama campaign director admits Facebook helped them

IJRA former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to “suck out the whole social graph” and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.

Well, if it wasn't for the way courts have treated political campaigns and spam laws, that would count as illegal spam. Surely there are some legal approaches that can be effectively used to prevent companies like Facebook sharing the personal information of their customers directly with political campaigns without permission.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another package explosion near Austin

KXANA package exploded at a FedEx distribution center northeast of San Antonio shortly after midnight. NBC's Pete Williams is reporting investigators have a "pretty good indication" that the package was bound for Austin, where four other package bombings have occurred in the past three weeks.

This one was in a package at a FedEx facility in San Antonio, believed to be bound for Austin. It may represent a departure -- the bomber leaving the Austin area, attempting to set off one last bomb to confuse when he left -- or possibly a mistake about how the earlier bombs were delivered. Or just changing methods to confuse the issue.

The sooner they catch this guy, the better.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

TSA searching digital devices on domestic flights

LATimeU.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have increasingly searched digital devices carried by travelers on international flights, as they look for data in cellphones, laptops and other electronic gadgets that can provide clues to possible terrorist attacks.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration demanding to know why TSA security officers also are looking at data stored in digital devices carried by passengers on domestic flights.

There's no excuse for this, but increasingly, the federal government doesn't need one.

Mon Mar 19 09:12:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Precipitating a Constitutional Crisis

Washington TimesMr. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, called on the Justice Department Saturday to immediately shut down Mr. Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California said Sunday that Democrats and Republicans alike should move to reinstate special counsel Robert Mueller if President Trump moves to fire him.

Abusing the intelligence agencies to try to influence an election is a constitutional crisis. Abusing the special counsel statute to investigate a president on the basis of zero real evidence is a constitutional crisis. Congress attempting to usurp the Constitutional role of the President would be a constitutional crisis. The only thing here that wouldn't be a constitutional crisis would be President Trump firing a man who, legally, works for him.

That doesn't mean it would be wise to fire Mueller, but it's increasingly looking like Mueller will keep escalating until he is fired -- and he will then use the firing to claim obstruction of justice.

Mon Mar 19 09:12:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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